Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘aging

Rare Occasion

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Like an orbiting comet that passes through our outer atmosphere several times in a person’s life, every five to seven years, I have been known to cut my hair short. I haven’t done so since January of 2011, when I convinced Cyndie to cut off my dreadlocks.

Last night was one of those rare occasions.

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I have no idea if I will wait another five or seven years for a follow-up haircut, but I have an inkling I’ll never again produce the color that was on the end of the length that Cyndie cut off for me last night.

Even though I am not even 59-years-old yet. (I refer to my age as, “way down in my 50s still” to Cyndie, despite the lack of appreciation she shows for my youthful vigor.)

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Written by johnwhays

June 13, 2018 at 6:00 am

Meaning

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

June 1, 2018 at 6:00 am

Different Behavior

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Yesterday was the second time in two weeks that I noticed something uncharacteristic about Legacy’s behavior. I’m not a guy with any history of horse experience, but after living with our herd for the last 4 years, I am able to perceive when their behavior changes.

Not knowing enough to make an educated guess, all I have to rely on is my intuition.

Last week, I came upon the three chestnuts grazing and lounging out in the hay-field, without their herd leader. Where was he?

Standing up under the barn overhang.

It was odd. I got the impression that he just didn’t want to walk all that way. Or, he’d rather stay out of the sun. I got the sense maybe he was feeling old.

It might be a reflection of my own issues, I’ll admit, but he is getting on in years. Not crazy old, but old enough that his arthritis might be sapping his interest in staying connected with the rest of the herd non-stop when they choose to venture so far away.

Yesterday, the oddity was more profound.

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I came out with a wheelbarrow full of hay to fill the box where Legacy always stands. I usually have to shoosh him away while I work, and he always starts eating before I can finish latching the chain over the grate. This time, I was surprised to find him down by the waterer, just standing, as if lost in thought.

My presence, with a fresh load of hay, didn’t engage his attention whatsoever.

Desirea almost didn’t know what to do with first access. She usually has to wait until he lets her in.

Legacy’s aloof behavior was so uncharacteristic, it startled me into taking pictures of the occasion.

I’m hoping Cyndie will be able to spend some quality time with the herd this week to see what she senses. Maybe she will be able to learn what is on Legacy’s mind.

It would be great if he would just tell her.

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Written by johnwhays

December 11, 2017 at 7:00 am

So This

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I admit, I have never done this before. I have never been as old as I am today and faced everything that November 2017 is presenting. Is that why this season’s onset of freezing temperatures feels more jarring than ever before? My blood is definitely not winter-thick yet.

Maybe I’m off my game because of how unsettling the last year under the current U.S. leadership has been. The increasing turmoil of extreme storms from the warming planet has definitely contributed.

Sometimes, looking back for reference provides some insight on present day issues, but there are so many unique technologies now woven into our lives, it feels difficult to compare events from decades ago. This weekend, our Netflix queue offered up a documentary DVD about the Freedom Riders of 1961.

I was two years old at the time of those civil rights dramas playing out in the deep south. I suppose the white supremacists at that time were terrified their racist version of society was being threatened.

It has me trying to fathom how history might perceive people and events of 2017 some fifty or a hundred years from now.

The next movie that showed up was a documentary about the Rwandan cycling team that rose from the ashes of genocide that country experienced in 1994. Nineteen Ninety Four. I wish such human carnage wasn’t something that still occurs.

It all serves to put my travails in perspective. Feeling weak against the cold air? I’ll get over it.

I can go out and hug our horses, absorb some of their warmth, and see if I can pick up some of their energy and perspective on the present moment.

They can help me to breathe and get back to grazing.

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Written by johnwhays

November 20, 2017 at 7:00 am

Subtle Change

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For most of my adult life I have maintained a pattern of growing my hair long for a several years and then in an abrupt change, having Cyndie crop it close to my scalp. One haircut every five to seven years suits me just right.

The years that I kept my hair in dreadlocks were a temporary deviation from the norm which I particularly enjoyed. Those came off at the beginning of 2011 (see it here) and I haven’t had an extreme cut since then. In the last year, I have had a few days when I wanted to take it all off again, but something kept me from following through.

Earlier this week I was searching images for current hairstyles and found the ones that appealed the most to me were all long. Of course, the primary trend for 2017 was long on the top and cropped on the sides, but I can’t quite pull that off because my top is disappearing with age.

The difference in color between my long ends, which are rich with a reddish-brown hue, and the new growth that is increasingly gray-tinged is dramatic.

I searched images to find haircuts for graying and thinning hair with a receding hairline, but the results were a bust.

After a consultation with my barber, Cyndie, we decided to keep it long, but give me a healthy trim. Usually she takes off the frayed ends a few times a year, but this time we opted for several inches at once. She also trimmed around the temples and along the neckline, which almost always gets neglected in my usual unrefined version of styling.

I figure it’s a pretty low-risk experiment. If I find myself still thinking I’m ready to be done with the length, I know I will enjoy the feeling of rubbing the stubble again after I convince Cyndie to go to that extreme.

I think both of us know that the next time she cuts it all off, each passing year there’s a chance it will never make it back to long again. For now, we’ll enjoy it while I’ve got it.

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Written by johnwhays

November 16, 2017 at 7:00 am

Nostalgia Happens

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Nostalgia. I can’t help it. Against my own wishes to deny the inevitable chronological orientation of my being, which fits precisely in the place where nostalgia begins to dominate ones attention, I am powerless. For years and years I enjoyed living in defiance of marketers who flooded the airwaves with attempts to bait and hook the primary buying demographic.

My tastes and interests were usually out of sync with the times or just far enough from center to be of little consequence to the purveyors of must-have products and services. My hobbies and interests leaned toward the years of my older siblings more than they matched what was aimed at me and my peers while we were coming into our prime.

Or so I like to think. In reality, there is every likelihood that the cunning advertisers of the products that I did fall for were deftly plying their trade to make me think I was forging my own bold path on the journey of maturation. I blindly wandered directly into the cross-hairs of their financial machine which worked its grips for brand loyalty deep into my unconscious.

With each passing year I have to work harder to deny that my value as a consumer is fading fast from the ever-changing entertainment industry and flying headlong for the entry gates of the AARP and pharmaceutical marketers.

During this wonderful NCAA basketball tournament month, my primary radio station for music has decided to run their own playoff bracket pitting match-ups of record albums from the 1990s. Yawn. How come I don’t care about any of these artists? I get the hint. I’m getting old, thank you very much.

In the same week that I was going through that realization, Cyndie turned on the television in our bedroom to see what was on and landed on a mesmerizing review of my home state, Minnesota in the ’70s. Produced with the Minnesota Historical Society Press and inspired by authors Dave Kenney and Thomas Saylor, the incredibly familiar scenes dredged up completely neglected memories of the world I experienced as a teenager.

I couldn’t look away for fear of missing something. I wanted to soak in every last morsel of what was appearing on the screen.

Did these images trigger my latest re-fascination with long-lost music memories or is the timing incidental? Again, just last week, I was pulling out old vinyl albums that weren’t to be found anywhere in digital form, hoping to feed the hunger to listen to songs from my collection that I haven’t heard in decades.

There was an old Loggins & Messina album in the bunch that I realized was totally available for download, and after giving it a spin on the turntable, I went right to the iTunes store and bought it. That should definitely be in rotation on my iPod.

The advertising genius of showing other similar albums at the bottom of my screen found me powerless to its allure. I hadn’t thought about Seals & Crofts for so long that I’d forgotten they existed! I bought that, too. Jim Seals and Dash Crofts’ voices together are a spectacular combination.

Since I hadn’t listened to that harmony for what feels like forever, it sounded good as new to me again.

It also makes me feel like I might be getting a little old.

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Written by johnwhays

March 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

Passing Middle

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As long as I am writing about calendar days, it occurs to me that, not only are we passing the middle of the month of January, we are essentially heading into the second half of our long winter.

DSCN4365eThere are several ways that I can gauge this. We have almost devoured the first full rack of firewood that we stacked on the deck.

We are about halfway through the hay stored in our hay shed.

We have filled just over half the space where we store composting manure during the cold months.

In terms of weather, this weekend we are due to receive the coldest blast of Arctic air of the winter. There are warnings posted about dangerous wind chills on Sunday through Monday morning.

After we get through this, it is expected to warm up to El Niño-driven-warmer-than-usual temperatures for this time of year. I’m okay with that. Even if I live a long and healthy life, by conventional standards, it is reasonable to think that I am past the middle of my years on this planet. I am growing more satisfied with mild weather than I was in my younger days.

I checked the level of propane in our big tank yesterday, to make sure we don’t need to order more yet. It is less than half full, but there is enough to get through the winter at the rate we use it.

I have a sense of being on the downhill side of things, which provides an impression things should be easier. We get to coast.

CC-winter-hardiness-zones-Twin-Cities-2015-768x491Could it be that we are even passing the middle of a change in our climate? Thinking about the coldest possible temperature of the winter reminded me of the remarkable graphic posted by Paul Huttner in his weather blog, “Updraft.”

Look at the trend line of the oscillating minimum temperatures recorded in the Twin Cities in my lifetime. If this keeps going, I could live during a year when temperatures here don’t even dip below zero.

That would seem like coasting through a winter.

In my advancing years, I think I will enjoy the ride. In the mean time, bring on today’s deep freeze.

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Written by johnwhays

January 16, 2016 at 9:00 am