Thursday, January 28, 2016
What I Ain't Gonna Be Doin', Part 2
A couple of days ago I wrote here about the process of discovery--a sometimes painful process: learning in youth--and beyond--the things I was not going to be able to do in life: draw, master a musical instrument, play in the Major Leagues, the NBA, in competitive tennis, ad infinitum.
Oh sure, I was adequate (is that a word accurate enough?) in many things--and I've always been glad I went to a very small high school, for I was able to participate in so many things that would not have been possible had I gone to a larger school (band, choir, school plays and musicals, baseball, basketball, et al.).
And now I'm also learning that there are places I will not go, experiences I will not have. Here's an example. In the late 1990s I decided that I was going to climb Oregon's Mt. Hood. My own father had done it in 1937 (he was in his early twenties) and had often talked about it with pride. I wanted to do it, too. To honor him. And so I commenced training at the local health club, contacted my cousin out there (who led climbing expeditions and had done Hood numerous times), arranged flight plans, motels ...
And then, running, I hurt my left knee, a joint I'd originally damaged when I'd climbed the Chilkoot Pass between Alaska and Canada a few years before. I'd thought the knee had healed; it hadn't. And now I know I'll never make that Hood ascent. I can't. Perhaps my son? Or grandsons? That would be great.
Just a decade or so ago I was able to think of going somewhere--and then I'd just do it. To Alaska and the Yukon for Jack London research. To England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany for Mary Shelley research. All over the US visiting literary sites (and writers' graves!).
But those days are moving farther and farther behind me. I hate flying now--abhor it--so I doubt I'll ever do it again. And the demands of driving have become more troublesome--especially in the past couple of years because my cancer medication, Lupron, has absquatulated with much of my energy. I still picture myself doing things. And I guess there's some pleasure in that.
Here's one journey I'm hoping still to make. I want to drive back to all my boyhood homes in Oklahoma and Texas and visit with the people who are living there now. Three places in Enid, one in Norman, another in Amarillo. I would love to see those places once more--would love to write something fairly extensive about them.
But will I? Maybe this summer? (I said the same thing last winter ...)
Anyway, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I do not resent the Facebook photos that show friends prancing all around the world. I am grateful for all I've been able to do--yet like the kid who'd really like just one more piece of pie--really! I'd like to hit the road again with Joyce. We began our marriage with a journey (to New Orleans), and the hum of tires, ever since, has been, for me, the loveliest music of all.