I have been an early riser for decades. I am always up before the sun peeks above the horizon. Part of it is driven by habit and part is driven by physical pain. I have had 8 surgeries through the years to repair damage from use and abuse. On an average night I manage one to maybe two hours of fitful sleep. The rest of the time I just toss and turn trying to find a modicum of comfort.
With the recent Arctic blast and temps hovering around 0F I have taken it upon myself to keep the fireplace going all night. Every few hours I will stoke the fire and add another log or two. Zip will usually sit with me for awhile and watch the fire burn before returning to bed on his own accord.
It’s a great time for reflection. Sitting there watching the flames and replaying events in my mind. I am not stuck in the past by any means, but I do miss several things that I used to be able to do. I spent decades rock climbing, mountaineering and caving among other things, and I miss the mountains. I have a closet full of climbing gear that will probably never be used again. Crampons, ice axes, ropes, packs, helmets, boots, carabiners etc.
But now, my hands don’t work like they used to, and they sure don’t like the cold anymore. I don’t possess the stamina or fortitude to suffer either. I have indeed become old and relish a warm fire and a dry, comfortable place to sleep. But the things I have seen and done stay with me. Always reminding me of what I used to be. And that’s OK.
I am a fisherman now. And I take great pride and joy in that fact. I can slow down and enjoy one hobby and not worry about racing off to the next route or adventure. Perspective always changes when you are closer to the end than the start. But that is life. We might as well make the most of it!
Thanks for reading and stay warm out there.