Riding Metro North. Stones, truths and time.

Sunday afternoon

I’m sitting on couch, wrapped in a soft hand-knit throw, reading Rachel Cusk’s new book “Coventry“: “I wanted only to be allowed to stay where I was; all weekend, the feeling of Sunday evening’s approach was as cruel and meticulous as the ticking of a time bomb.”

Weekend dripping away.  Work enters consciousness. Calendar. Meetings. The unfinished business.

Monday morning.

8 a.m. Dentist appointment. X-rays. Open wide. The pinch of hard plastic on the soft tissue inside of mouth. The squeeze of metal on molars.  The heavy cloak of the x-ray protective vest weighing on chest. All triggers the gag reflex. Then, cleaning. 48 minutes later, I’m released. I get up. Vertigo. Can’t find my footing. Woozy.

Cusk: “It is the body of a nearly forty-nine-year-old, but it doesn’t feel that way. I have never felt myself to be ageing: on the contrary, I have always had the strange sensation as time passes that I am getting not older but younger…This is not, of course, a physical reality.

I pay, exit, find my car and enter I-95 traffic in right lane. And stay in right lane, following traffic. Semi trailer to my left, an arm’s length away.  Decal below his rearview mirror trimmed in silver: “In memoriam of Armando.” Son? I stare at the lettering a-r-m-a-n-d-o, it slides closer to me. I return attention to the road in front. Damn it, it’s me! I turn the wheel right to veer back into my lane.  Cob webs heavy. Tailings of vertigo from Dentist chair. Fading sleep medication. So that’s what it’s come to. Old man in right lane, following traffic. Since when have you followed traffic, in the right lane, followed anything, or anybody?

Tuesday morning.

2nd train. 5:48 a.m. Ground wet, from early morning drizzle. I find my seat. 30-something next to me sleeps. 50-something across from me is reading Tom Clancy. The 20-something next to the window is looking out. And then there’s me…Restless. Unsettled.

Cusk: “On the contrary, their lives often seem saner and more efficient than my own, more compact, lacking the formless sprawl in personal decisions and arrangements…they have tended to take on fewer responsibilities, to scatter and divide themselves less, to consume and be answerable for a smaller portion of our shared resources. Increasingly I regard them as a kind of elect: they appear, essentially, free. How did they know not to do it?

I’m waiting for the cross-walk signal to turn at 46th and Avenue of the Americas. A Skateboarder, he’s texting on his smartphone, kicking out his leg to re-gain momentum.  A millennial glides by on a motorized scooter – in a smartly cut top coat, a baseball cap, shoulder length hair, head bobbing to music pipped in through ear buds. I’m anxious for her, as I was for him. She’s unfazed. I watch her disappear into traffic.

Late afternoon, I’m scrambling to catch train. Down escalators not working. Incline of stairs, steep (very). 4 minutes to departure. 3 minutes away. Finger tips on handrail. I take one step at a time.  Vertigo lingers, cob webs have lifted, mostly.  Half way down, the mind drifts, I slow down, and grip the guard rail. Eyes blink to clear. I slow my pace. 25 steps left. The edges of concrete are chipped, the pounding of thousands of steps.

I’m 12, maybe 13. Early morning. Blueberry Creek. Fishing with Cousin Billy, a master fisherman even at this age. I look behind me. He’s casting patiently. Content to lure the big one out. I turn to advance. I’m hopping from stone to stone. Wet stones. Dry stones. Stones covered in slimy green algae, wickedly dangerous. I’m sure footed. Fearless. Light sweat beads on my brow. I’m covering a lot of ground, moving forward, the destination ahead, not fully formed but the next big, deep pool has to be ahead.  In a hurry even then. In a rush even then.

“I have always had the strange sensation as time passes that I am getting not older but younger…This is not, of course, a physical reality.

Stones…Truths…that only aging can touch.

And not sure I like it. 


Notes: Photo: rachel pansky via Mennyfox55

Comments

  1. and there is no stopping this train, best to hop aboard and enjoy the ride, with many interesting stops along the way. why not see it as a slowing down of things, offering a better and more potent view of the world you live in?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At your best when writing these reflective pieces, pal (though I would be lying if I said the appearance of a vintage Kanigan running post in my feed didn’t tickle me to no end).

    I, too, struggle with the aging issue. Know it’s happening—I see it all around me in those I love—and yet I cannot quite comprehend that I, too, am being carried along by the current. Such a strange thing, this….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. David…these words so capture my aging mind wanderings….thank for the mirror

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not liking it either. The bounce is gone. I used to jump off a bus and bounce away. I have to make sure I’m holding on to something until my foot, both feet, touch ground.

    Beautiful, how you knitted this piece 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. David–your words reflect my aging mind’s wanderings. Thank you for the clarifying my own.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m absolutely, positively, sure the physical reality of aging…when you meet it face-to-face (or back-to-back) in the mirror that doesn’t lie nor even attempt to hide that image…the true and honest reflection…and grasp that , yes damn it, it’s true…it happens….betrayal. Pure. Simple. Damn it times two…settle for three and…Just. Keep. Going.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I read somewhere that one of the beauties of aging is that our cognitive abilities are sharper — we can assess situations, make decisions because we have a wealth of experience of similar situations in the past we no longer have to sort through our minds to first attempt to ‘understand’ what’s going on. We know.

    I like that thought. I’m holding onto it. For now. Until of course, I forget and then have to go back and remember what it is I knew.

    Beautiful post David. This one and your Saturday morning post inspired me to write a Saturday Morning post. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to write just for the sake of writing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like your thought too Louise. I need to grip it tightly.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Louise, I read that a loooong time ago in German: Das Alter trennt schärfer und verbindet inniger…. Age separates sharper and binds firmer. Your first para is something I very clearly ‘got’ and understand and have really ‘interiorised’. Just yesterday (days after that post) I had an interesting discussion about the positive sides of getting older. The core, to me, is that we have much added wisdom, also the generosity of letting go, overlook little bothers, be more gentle with ourselves AND everybody around us, forgive illico presto instead of holding grudges, be far more generous with opinions uttered, (maybe absolutely not like our own), understanding better…. The list is endless.
      I’m NOT mentionning the downsides, as there are far too many – not last the weight gain with no chance of getting back that youthful ‘before’ – and many many more….

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Maybe the core of not welcoming a slowing is a combination of “survival of the fittest” and our basic human competitiveness. I think of how even John Lennon watched the wheels one day, tho, and I think that short of the final metamorphis, our greatest bodily change already happened when we went from embryonic fluid to suddenly breathing air. I believe that despite a baffling chrysalis time, we will butterfly again. ❤

    Liked by 5 people

  9. These are always my favourite posts of yours, David. I love how you weave in whatever you are reading (and that I end up having to add to my ever-expanding list) and experiencing.
    Sawsan and Raye said it so well that I shall just be quiet.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Vera Kanigan says:

    Also love these personal, reflective posts of yours, thanks much. So true about aging, my mother died at age 92 & still felt that she was still young…I too, at almost 80 have recollections of tubing down the Kettle River.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish I kept feeling younger and my mind would tell my body the same!!!! 🙂 Hope all is well with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Anonymous says:

    “When it’s over, I want to say all my life
    I was a bride married to amazement.
    I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” Mary Oliver.
    Embrace every moment, find a new way of seeing age and life, for it may be taken from us at anytime 😀💛

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Another awesome post

    Liked by 1 person

  14. love the back and forth between you and Cusk.
    p.s. and dental visits are the worst…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “You cant be careful on a skateboard, dawg”
    Some kid at the mall….
    https://srevestories.blogspot.com/2011/07/cant-be-careful-on-skateboard-dawg.html

    Liked by 1 person

  16. first remarks: learned the proper meaning of two words – decal & cusp. Knew cusp for e.g. young girls on the cusp of womanhood, or a flower on the cusp of unfolding…. Decal – no idea but now I’m good – DO KNOW however DECAF…. even for espressi! 😉
    more a bit later (after 2nd espresso)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. sorry, that comment was at the wrong place – please read it HERE…..

    Liked by 1 person

  18. oh heck – NO HERE!!! Espresso PLEASE….

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Listen, can you delete comments?! If so, please do – I’m obviously NOT in a state to be left at a keyboard – I DID mean to search for CUSK – and looked up CUSP (because I thought I had misunderstood the word in this context) – THEN I looked up what or who is CUSK and found a fish…. consider me baffled! OR did you mean Rachel Cusk?!
    Do I really have to do this?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Amazing piece of writing – and those ‘other’ quotes – just like a dialogue in your brain -could have happened to me too…. I can relate to much of it – only, I’m no longer feeling like getting younger instead of older – I now feel TRULY The Getting Older – I have passed the point of no return – I can no longer pretend to be all I’m no longer!
    But then, I also don’t care that much any more – I am what I’ve become, I wear my ‘new old me’ with a smile. I care less what everybody thinks – and IF I’m following the traffic, so be it. It only takes a few minutes longer on a looooong trip. And I don’t sleep-drive and change lanes w/o realising. BECAUSE I know I must pay more attention. So maybe you’re not yet ‘there’ – there might still be hope for you! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you!

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was inspired by the Saturday Morning offerings David Kanigan shared on his blog, “Saturday Morning” and this gem, “Riding Metro North. Stones, truths and time.” […]

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: