Lately this age thing is getting to me. To those who say, "Age is just a number," a pox upon you! That aphorism, "Getting old ain't for sissies", may be overused, but it still rings true. It's easy to laugh it off when you're in your fifties, but it isn't so funny when you get to the point that every step hurts, your energy level just doesn't rise to the occasion like it used to. and your teeth, what's left of them, are failing so fast that you know dentures are in the near future (either that, or taking out a loan for $25,000).
I've learned to embrace the tinnitus in my ears that sounds like cicadas buzzing (like camping in the woods, right?), but I'll never get used to the fact that I can't make gravy in a big cast-iron skillet any more unless Cliff is at hand to help me pour the gravy into a bowl. Seriously? I can't lift a skillet without help? I used to be so strong! I used to raise calves, a dozen at a time, in separate hutches and every six weeks or so I'd clean each hutch, move it, drive steel t-posts, and bend a cattle panel into a U-shape to make a little yard for each calf.
Driving posts isn't so easy these days.
I guess what's really getting me down is that it looks like I'm going to have to get rid of my last two cows. Hope, the yearling heifer, is now old enough to breed, but I have no way to get her bred. Every three weeks I shut her in the small lot and hope she doesn't tear down a fence in her desire for a mate; I guess I'm hoping maybe a bull will miraculously come trotting up the road and impregnate her (but not too big a bull, of course). Yesterday she found her way next door to the neighbor's horses, evidently hoping one of them could be of assistance to her in her needy state.
Cows make me happy. Baby calves make me happy. Even milking a cow makes me happy. I'm reminded of how Grandma Stevens kept on milking old Patsy until Uncle Leo finally hauled the cow away for Grandma's own good. I guess I've come to that point, except I'm going to just admit it and take care of the situation myself rather than force Cliff to make the decision for me.
As I typed this, it struck me that the feelings I'm experiencing are nothing new. Maybe the cave men and women didn't have the problem, since their life span was so short, but I am now recalling a passage in the Bible, in Ecclesiastes. It especially rings true in the Message version:
Wow. My life, and welcome to it.
Don't get me wrong, life is good! There are many other things besides cows that make me happy. Perhaps my regular readers have noticed through the years that I normally make every effort to look on the bright side. When I weigh my circumstances in the balance, the good far outweighs the bad. I'm so fortunate to still have Cliff at my side ten years after his open heart surgery. I can walk, I can see, I can hear birds singing over the sound of the cicadas buzzing in my head! Food still tastes good. All my needs are met. I'm relatively healthy, as far as I know.
Today I feel like whining. I'm just keepin' it real.