It is an exhilarating experience walking in nature, the tranquility of the surroundings, the chirping of birds and the swoon of the calming wind passing through the leaves of trees and blades of grass. The skittering of random squirrels and the fluttering of butterfly wings brings peace. A bee zapping from flower to flower and a caterpillar hastily building its cocoon signaling life is abound. The marching of ants and the ripples atop rivers, constantly popping up, brings mystery to whatever it is underneath. I love these things. I grew up adoring nature and everything that relates to it. It is with nature that I started my life, lived my life, and will eventually give my life to when it is all over. But that time is still considerably distant to warrant contemplation. To that I say, not yet.
But life is too short for us mere men. Time brings drastic change to whatever it is that dances with it. Our once dark, bountiful mane of hair turns coarse and gray, Our once supple young skin gives way to dry, thin, wrinkly skin, eyes that can see beyond the horizon becomes strained, if not blurred, looking afar. Remembering things easily becomes just a memory. Our once lithe, robust body becomes weighted, laboriously doing anything, which does not warrant any effort, back in the days of old. Teeth falling off, joints always aching, we are humans and that is our fate. Yes we can delay the inevitable, but for how much and for how long?
I must defer, and I do resist, but it is what it is. I must confess that somehow, unbelievably, age is getting on to me. Walking has been terrible lately. Pain is felt on my hips every time I take a step. Hormonal imbalance or a pinched nerve I silently imagined, but a recent visit to the GP exhibited hip flexor pain. The hips, do they do that? I mused myself. But a stern warning from my doctor surprised me. He said that what I am feeling could either be just a strain, or worse, a symptom of some other illnesses like arthritis, tendinitis or muscle tear. It can also possibly be fractures in the bones of the hip and even osteoarthritis, he said matter-of-factly. Several tests must be done he said, before a diagnosis could be dispensed. He also advised me of anterior hip precautions to take, to minimize aggravation of the pain that I am feeling, and suggested several exercises and stretches to do to relax the stiffness in the area. The consultation ended with some over the counter pain medicine to take the bite out of the pain.
Reality crashed through the window of the car while I was driving home. I remembered naughtily jumping over a fallen log, in one of my leisurely walks, as I was trying to avoid a troop of ants going about their daily trade. Of the awkward way that I landed on a stone and the cringe I felt afterwards. Yes that was it, I said with a sigh of relief. Fear of my still unknown sickness slowly vanished, replaced by the commitment that I should take better care of my actions. The ride home went happily after that, even though my hips were still aching.
Walking again, a somber realization surrounded me; that I am a man, a temporary and frail being in this world of change, always hanging by the threads of fate and is destined to death even while unborn. Yes, we are one on this journey. But its end is hopefully not near. Not yet.