Near the end of a bike ride in the river valley, I approach the steep hill that I've come to hate. And an image of a gray-bearded man comes to mind. We met 30 years ago at the trailhead for the climb to the summit of Mt. Whitney.
“Going up?” I had asked him.
“Not for me anymore,” he replied.
As I peddle up at a slow, grudging pace, I remember thinking that one day I’ll be him. I shoulder check and see a young gold and red spandex guy coming up behind me. I’m determined not to let him overtake me and I turn on as much speed as I can muster. At the top, he gives me a satisfying thumbs up, satisfying, not because he acknowledged my victory, but because he was also breathing hard.
Haibun Today, 4:1, March 2010.