The spring rains continue, the real Oregon spring rains: cold, obstinate, and unhurried. No need for theatrical downpours or thunderstorms. These aren't piddly little continental rains that throw a tantrum and cry themselves out: these are rains that have settled in for the long haul. They have the whole Pacific Ocean to draw on, and months before the less-rainy season arrives: there is really no particular reason that they have to stop before July. They usually do, from time to time, but it's a matter of grace, not of necessity.
Deep breath. So accept the rain as a given, and go on. I don't usually bridle at it this way. Usually the rain makes me happy. But I'm off-balance, wanting to ride to work, but not wanting this head-cold to flower, wanting to change my life so that I live in the bright sunlight, convinced that if only the sun was out my will would work properly. I'm one of the least superstitious people I know, but my life is riddled with superstition.
Suppose that I lived somewhere the rain never stopped. I wouldn't pound my head against the wall this way: I'd simply accommodate it.
Tomorrow is my birthday: I'll be 54, which is a pleasing if rather large number. It means I've lived 9 six-year lives, or 6 nine-year lives: it means I'm twice as old as when I had my first child.
All my life before I had children is vague, hazy, unreal to me. I confess that sometimes childless people strike me as irresponsible and clueless, not really grown-up. What they do has consequences only for themselves, or for other people who – supposedly at least – can look after themselves. It's not an attitude I foster, but it's one I can't always avoid. Childless people aren't really any more in control of their lives than we are. it's just a little easier for them to pretend: to pretend that they make their own schedules and choose their own pastimes. But every adult has at least one wayward helpless person for whom they're held accountable.
The rain goes on. I keep an ear cocked for my cell phone. The cold is getting into my bones: I can feel the chill in the radial and ulnar bones of my forearms, and in my shoulder joints. It's as if my body was framed up with scavenged wire from freezer shelves: stale, icy and slow to move. The cold seems to come from the inside out. I huddle my coat over my shoulders and scowl. The warmth is grateful, but I'm moodily aware that I'm cold, not because it happens to be raining, but because I'm deconditioned. Sure, I have yet another plan for getting myself back in shape – this one predicated on eternal rain – but I more than usually acutely aware that this game of aging is one of losing one's conditioning and getting it back again, phase after phase, over and over, until finally the phase comes when you can't get your conditioning back, for one reason or another. And then you're truly old. And a bit after that you die.
Well. That's a gloomy point of view, and I can comfort myself with the fact that my father is not yet, by that reckoning, old. And if I'm counting properly, he's 27 years older than I am. And even my mother, miraculously, is still alive and well, though she is truly old, and has been for decades. So apparently I'm built of sound genetic timber. Still, I yearn to be back in shape. I hate this. I hate having to stock up on oxygen with a couple deep breaths before I can tie my shoes: I hate the faint lurch I detected last night when I was rising from my knees during a massage. I should be able to breath even when I'm bent over, and I should be able to rise from my knees as easily as a ferret lifts its head.