My eyes open, slowly. Light filters through sheer curtains; they drift gently in a foggy morning breeze. It gets light here much earlier than I’ve grown used to. It’s barely 630. Should I move? What’s going to hurt this morning?
I’m reminded of my mortality by the day, the hour, the minute. Rarely by the prospect of death – we’ve got to retain a large enough measure of levity to offset the scary shit going on out there (have you watched the news lately?).
Lots of things have gone wrong in my shell. Back surgeries (x3), shoulder surgeries (x2), plated-together hand, kevlar in my crotch (hernia repair x3). Good reminders. Each one, soft as a soap bubble that you can hold just gently enough to turn around in your hand and inspect in the light. Sharp enough to take a chunk of flesh out before you realize you gone done got stupid, again (again).
There’s a cold hand reaching out from behind, the rush of air flowing over my shoulder when it makes a feint in my direction. But not today. Today we keep moving. Keep moving. After a few minutes the aches and pains fade to the background, get on the gear, get out to the trail. Photo day today with Koerber.
Sun’s out, legs feel good. Carve the sand, the dirt ribbons. Spend a few moments here and there airborne. Another ride, another bunch of smiles. I’m stronger today than I was yesterday, and the brevity of life seems less pertinent for a short while.
Another race this weekend. Another sorting of gear. Run, Bike, Paddle, Rappel. I did this race six years ago, and dropped out when my mother called to tell me my Grandfather had just passed. This race bites at the back of my mind for this reason. Plus the new aches and pains from the past few months.
There’s no time to laugh at death, no time to hide in fear of power wielded over mortality. It’s easier to dance with death, twirl around and laugh – sometimes in measured steps, precise and ordered – sometimes loose and free, drunk on life. It’s the only constant companion you’ll ever have.
“Adrenaline allows me to ignore the feeling of pain and front like I’m winning the game.”