Accepting an aging body found in waves and my child’s gaze.
Heels sinking into the sand. The tide is rushing out. I’m looking out to the end of the earth over the flat expanse of the Atlantic Ocean extending eastward. My head is floating in the sea air at peace with all lost in a drifting calm.
For a few minutes, time is not real and I’m on a trip without any bounds, obligations, or necessities.
Forty-nine years of breathing but these past few moments of living have been some of the best ever. My children are boogie boarding and flopping around in the water like blissful dolphins while my other family members delight in the beach.
The past week of work has been treacherous, the heat dangerous. My days manicuring lawns and toiling in the harsh sunlight are exacting a heavy toll. Operating a lawn maintenance business in Florida requires my body to operate at a high level of fitness.
The ocean cools and soothes my aches. I feel the embrace of waves wrapping around me ignoring muscles hardened by long working hours. Currents laugh at my years of powerlifting and weight training. Their strength mocks my efforts and reminds me of their immense force.
I am smaller than an ant in the grip of the ocean’s might.
Twenty-five years of practicing yoga and mobility stretching have aided me in maintaining decent flexibility however, age doesn’t know or care about my efforts. Arthritic wrists and hips also bless me in their giving challenges,
“We’re here. Let it be felt, there’s no escape, let us be clear!”
A wave breaks against my back and the froth of the white cap splashes around my middle. Although my back is thick and broad there is little taper to my waist. Definition of my abs stand out but I have more of a keg than a six-pack.
Years of doing heavy squats, deadlifts, and weighted core work have turned my midsection into a vault instead of a wasp-like bodybuilder’s physique. A thin image never figured into my fitness training objectives.
My body is built for power.
Thick muscled legs and arms are useful for hard work but at 205 lbs and slightly under five feet eight inches tall running has never been enjoyable or easy. I walk for great distances 5 days a week often carrying lawn equipment so my cardio is thriving.
When you have a 25lbs vibrating-engine-running backpack blower strapped to your back for a 10-minute jaunt around a property in 105˚Faranheit heat you get a decent cardio workout. When you do it six to 8 time a day you develop stamina and endurance.
Then, you throw in carrying around a weed eater and lawn edger for another 15 minutes of resistance accompanied walking at each of my lawn maintenance accounts.
My heart is enjoying all-day exercise at work.
I get home following the beating of lawn work and decompress for a couple of hours. A cold shower, something to eat, and then I have the nerve to sit down on my couch to read.
Slowing down and resting causes my body to go into meltdown-stage. Under my couch, there is a huge flesh magnet pulling my bones into the couch cushions.
Sinking, diving, collapsing down…down…down.
My body is wrecked and every bit of fitness I’ve poured into fighting fatigue crashes. The small lamp light behind allows me to have a couple of minutes of a nap or just meditative breath recovery.
Usually, I pour myself into a novel, read daily stories on my phone, or catch up on a mobile word game.
The ceiling fan and repose on the couch revitalize me. By now I’ve drunk over a gallon of water during the day and eaten several times to replenish my taxed energy stores.
My feet ache, my back is tired, and muscles are wondering, “ Why…why is this happening to us?”
So, I have a cup of coffee and lift weights for an hour 3–4 days a week.
Granules of sand disintegrate under my toes. The tide pulls me out a few steps. My gaze is uninterrupted on the far horizon. The Atlantic ocean suspends me in its revitalizing tranquil whisper.
“Daddy, help me catch this wave,” my daughter says. She sees me. My thick belly isn’t her focus, nor my muscles, or the extra hair growing out of my ears and nose(The older I get the faster hair grows out of my nostrils and edge of the Aurical of my ears. I trim it and the hair seems to magically sprout overnight).
She sees me. My daughter pulls my arm. I smile then give her a push and watch her skim away, powered by an ocean wave, screaming with glee, and enjoying her boogie board ride to shore.
My 49-year-old body is changing, getting slower, a bit arthritic, and little lumpier than 10 years ago but as long as I can keep up with my kids and enjoy the ocean smiling horizons are never-ending.