The age of these mountains does not astound me. I am not impressed this morning by the looming darkness of the Black Hills of South Dakota, as I perform a stare down of the pokiest one across the reservoir. The years or centuries they have seen does not shake my yoga pants off. Their long secrets don’t make me sit back in wonder, gaping small and open and synchronized with the presence of presence.
This is how I am still so young.
Mountains don’t make me ask their age because it isn’t a surprise– most things I know are older than I am. Also, it’s impolite to ask. And I don’t seek out their age, because I wouldn’t know how to hear their answer. I can only count to 29 at this juncture. In a few more months, my ability to measure will only be at a measly 30. And I can climb only in these small increments year after year. Even my longest day brings me only to the end of one day. 30 minus x plus another day. It’s the best I can do.
The black fly on this boulder that partially blocks my view of my face-off mountain each time I downward dog– that life I can’t get over. If I remember science class, this little vomit machine is my age minus my age plus a day. And he will be gone before I close my eyes tonight. If not by the speed of aging, then by a frog’s tongue or by a flyswatter built just to do the deed or by a windshield of a speedboat below.
This is how I am becoming so old.
Black flies don’t make me ask their age because they can’t spare the second. We stare at each other in a panic of time climbing on itself and curling up and flying away.
And then there is me, caught in a rack focus between black flies and mountains, pushed by a fear of death and rattlesnakes, and pulled by a love of love and cute snails and dirty gin martinis. Here, the black flies are making me feel so small and the mountains make me only bigger.