Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Size Of My Bones

There were giants in those days.

Yesterday, we set out on a chilly, gloomy day for what Martha calls the Rhododendron Gardens, and I call Crystal Springs -- what's the real name? I forgot to check -- at the edge of the Reed College campus.

We walked, and talked philosophy and Buddhism and Christianity and politics and mortality. Whenever we paused, the waterfowl began to gather. "I'm sorry, we don't have anything for you," said Martha. They gathered anyway.

The sun came out and everything was brilliantly lit -- mallards and wood ducks and geese paddling around us. Every time a duck went uptails nearby, its little orange-pink ankles showing above the water as its feet churned to keep its head down, we laughed.

Behind us, a couple of shadowy, quick-moving young people -- people younger than us, anyway -- took pictures. The old couple nestled together watching the sunlit ducks. "We're going to be a stock photo. Golden years," says Martha. I grimace and stick my tongue out.

Golden lads and girls all must
As chimney sweepers, come to dust.

All my life I thought I had big bones. I was "husky," a word much used in my childhood but which seems quaint now. My bones are actually the same size as everyone else's, something I could have discovered any time these sixty years by simply measuring the circumference of my wrists.

Beyond the wood on the west side of the lake lie the rail yards, and a deep bass roar and rattle comes from them, at times. All of us, mammals and waterfowl, are used to it, and take no notice. It's just the rumble signifying the end of the world: we've heard it all our lives.

We stand up to go. As we look down into the shallows we see a crayfish crawling cautiously out from under a rock. "A crawdad!" exclaims Martha, falling into her native dialect, which always pleases me. "I didn't know there were crawdads here."

And so back home, refreshed but hungry, and late for lunch.


Murr Brewster said...

You reminded me of something that always cheers me up: in the kitchen with my friend James, whilst his Fat Acceptance Group met in the living room. A woman proclaimed, loudly, "I've always had big bones." James, sotto voce: "Yeah. Big, jiggly bones."

rbarenblat said...


This is beautiful, Dale.