I once overheard a conversation about people killing trees to get a better view of the water from their summer houses. I once spent a perfect weekend on Squam Lake. I saw loons and thought of Thoreau. I am not an old person, but some day I will be old.Lake View There is a town ordinance against cutting down trees, so the locals drive metal spikes into the heartwood and let time work, let slow poison leech into fragile memory through rings and snowdrifts and windstorms back to when winter thaws brought a kind of hope and cold snaps drew privates tight with fear, a delirious icy fear that limbs would fail and this one would be the last. The gods stared down jealous then. Who could be so alive, so vibrant with hidden life, so bold with the power of supple wood? But arms become weary and branches drop. The lake grows and the mind addles. We are an ancient relative always in the way, means well, but sighs and trembles, forgets where he is supposed to be and has stopped searching for the pain, that searing in the lower back that radiates through a body like hot iron and is forgotten as a pair of loons glide slowly across the cold grey water.
Apparently, I complain about my aches and pains a little too much. Well, here’s a poem that takes a more lighthearted look at the topic.Land and Sea Scarred retina. Torn rotator cuff and Labrum. Compressed disks. Runners knee. Broken tibia. Achilles tendonosis. Two well-healed stress fractures. I am a map, a cartographers dream Each new venture brings an Undiscovered kingdom A land of palm trees and savages A fountain of youth and silver mines. I may nurture my own disease Stagger through the tropics of a Mosquito infested imagination But I am also trekking from the Unknown and comfortable into a State of wonder. In the dark heart Of this El Dorado, I take no Prisoners and harbor no delusions. I am riding an old horse, a twitchy Horse that farts and bites, that will not Eat from my hand but will take my Food and my blanket. I am sailing an old boat, A leaky boat with foul bilge and fearless rats, But my vigilance at the helm will be rewarded When I stop at a shimmering caravanserai, And find a jewel for my bride, a trinket for my noisy children, a treasure For the aging parents who gave me this Imperfect fragile body and sent me Over land and sea to discover its worth.