Monday, October 21, 2019

The Blunted Lion's Paw

I met a man, whose name was Time. Who said “I must be going.”
But just how long ago that was, I have no way of knowing.
Sometimes I want to murder Time, sometimes when my heart’s aching.
But mostly I just stroll along, the path that he is taking.

                               Robin Williamson (Incredible String Band: October Song 

Since I graduated from Antioch College in 1973, I’ve continued to visit regularly throughout the years. It always is an occasion to return to a former self, one just poised on the edge of adulthood whose visions of the life to come were like little tender seedlings just beginning to sprout. 

So here I am again, just one year after my last visit and fresh from a morning walk in Glen Helen, the 1,000 acre nature preserve that housed many of my days of wandering and wondering all those years back. 

And there were the same trees still growing, the leaves still falling to bejewel the ground, the sparkling streams still flowing, as if this moment was no different from that one, time moving forward but then circling back, over and over again. The stone steps laid so long ago were still firm and sturdy and this 68-year-young body could still bound up them without a cane, aching knees or too much shortness of breath. All 128 of them. And the little boy who used to catch falling lives in the park of his childhood still was playing that game— I caught five!! I had some passing folks take a photo of me in front of the same little waterfall that my then-girlfriend captured me on her Brownie camera and of course, the hair was different and the weight (though not too bad—just 10 pounds heavier!), but there was my slightly changed face in front of the unchanging water. The lion’s paw of time has made its mark, as it must, but with soft pads instead of claws. (Or at least, I like to think that!)

I honor that long ago self, but truth be told, am much happier to be who I am now, sagging flesh and all. Then was the excitement of possibility, but of the uncertainty of not knowing if my intuitions were true. Now is the lived affirmation that indeed they were—at least for me—and I have the books, the videos and the testimonies to prove it! 

And so the deep pleasure of strolling along Time’s timeless path on a brisk October morning, along the same paths were my feet trod so long ago. 

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