Trees were still dripping from the last rains while bushwhacking for mushrooms two days before Christmas. It was fun slipping and sliding in the mud. Stepping around branches often created a sideways shower when a branch snapped back into position. Some of the coastal range can be very steep and you have to get back to the truck. The hike uphill can work up a lather making a fun-guy wet on the inside and outside. A slug of hot tea and a few chuggs of water help recovery efforts. A clean towel, dry shirt, socks and jeans makes the ride home comfortable after all that exercise. Now if only the mushrooms would show up!
It is hard to believe this year is nearly over, they seem to fly by as the years pile up. One philosopher opined that time is relative to the observer. As children everything is new, remember how long it took for Christmas to come, your next birthday and summer break from school was eons away. Then there is the long, long wait until you were ten, sixteen to drive, eighteen to vote, twenty-one to be an official adult. Those milestones, once passed, seem to fall away in importance as we look ahead to the next step in life. As the time of our youth slips by we seldom look back until it is too late to go back.
To get a perception of how time in our lives can become skewed. Consider the ride to work or school that we take nearly every day. The first time it takes a long time to get there, knowing where to turn, how much time to allow, how to find your way to the door on time. Fast forward a month and you know the best way to get to your objective. In six months, you kind of go into a trance and awake in your parking spot not really remembering any details of how you got there, it still takes forty-five minutes door to door to cover the distance, but your brain already knows the way. Move to age fifty, how many seasons have you been through, how many birthdays, yours and your family and friends. Many people move in and out of your life and become a sea of faces over time. Move to retirement age, the madness of raising a family is long gone, your work life blurs when you look back, the bliss of retirement is within reach, all the while it still takes 365 to get to Christmas, after sixty times it is just a part of life. Like the first time you drove to work all those years ago, now you can make it with your eyes closed, another year or five spins by and you wonder how all those years passed.
You look at the old guy in the mirror with a razor in hand and wonder who he is, much of the hair is gone and what is left has lost its luster. The old guy looks kind of like how you remember your mother and father looked, as you remember them. New Year’s Eve party, done that a few times, the bill comes due in the morning and it hurts too much. Better to turn in at the regular hour and go back under when the barking, horns and noise fades. Tomorrow begins a new year.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.