Colleen Hannegan

Finding the words....and the perfect pair of glasses.

marriage

Where We Find Us~~

marriage, Adventure, Love, Travel, Spirited LifeColleen HanneganComment

We met on a dirt trail. Me in a dirty heap, with blood oozing down my left arm, my thumb hanging by its tendon. Gravel and more dirt ground into my hair, across my legs, my bike in a heap next to me. Strangers had helped me remove my bike helmet and encouraged me to put my head between my knees to keep from passing out. I was making some jokes about my state of affairs as the crowd grew around me. Wondering, no doubt, how I could have crashed on this really flat spot of the mountain bike trail.

He stood quietly nearby, his mountain bike and his riding buddies watching over me until the paramedics arrived to cart me away. He saw me but I didn’t see him. We formally met each other two months later when I returned to the trails to ride with his group. He rode at the back of the group with me and taught me how to ride, be safe, and shared the pure joy of playing outside again with me at 50 years young and him at 58.

We fell in love while we rode into new wilderness places together or hiked new trails he introduced to me. We got married 10 years later. Third time was a special charm for both of us. Riding and hiking into out sunset years, welcoming mature love into our last chapters, we return as often as possible to wilderness places to find ourselves again and again. The best part of us. The honest, forever young, happy, spiritual seekers we recognize in each other…. out there. We always find it and return refreshed.

Last week-end we headed out to Palm Springs for a sunny pool retreat. We included a hike up the North Lykken Trail above the city. I’d been up on the trail on two other visits to P.S. I was anxious to take Al up there, knowing he would love it’s wild, rugged, winding trail and the vast view it offered of the desert floor below.

The craggy rocks and bold boulders, the zig zaggy trail required us to mind our footfalls and stay focused. Our hiking poles were keeping us well balanced. The early morning sun was warm, not hot, yet. The trail rose quickly but spread cool shadows across us, carrying us up and up. We paused to catch our breath now and again and for a chance to look how far we’d come. And to look up at the merging of bright blue above and the determined, jagged silhouette of this mountain that held us.

Hiking PS.jpg

Al always wants to go farther. I’m usually the one that says, we need to turn around now. The sun was hotter, our water supply dwindling, and knowing our knees would require patience on our part to hike down, he agreed. One hour out, would be one hour back.

On our descend, we both commented on the special feeling this trail had, how it seemed to draw you up and in it, and that only the hearty hiker would be moved to be up on this mountain as every step required attention.

Four days later, back home, we were still talking about the magical feeling this trail offered. And why it felt like I sensed a presence around us. I’d kept looking around on the way down, wondering if I heard or saw something. A coyote watching? A snake? A Native spirit? A ghost? (Albeit a good ghost.)

Al finds his confidence and identity out there where nature brings out the best of us. A quiet man, he chooses his words carefully. If I want him to talk to me more, I invite him out to the nearest dirt trails to hike or bike together. It loosens up the tightness that suburbia delivers.

He had something to share with me. “ I think that hiking out in the desert, on a trail like this, with no trees, low brush, mostly rocks with all life very close to the ground, allows our own spirit to be free. And that what we sense around us is actually our very own energy flow, our own spirit. That when we hike in a forested area, or even the other desert trail we’ve hiked surrounded by palm trees, we are aware of the energy of those trees.”

He continued. “Trees and all life have energy and we’ve never hiked such a sparse trail like this before. There are usually trees and canyons and more plants. But out on this trail our body energy was able to fly freely about, unobstructed by trees or larger boulders and such. I think we became aware of out own energy flying about us. I thnk that’s what you heard; what you sensed. And I did as well.”

And so it is. Me and Al finding us. Out there. And by the pool. And the hot tub. And the cozy, private room that afforded us a lovely leisure and resbite from the noises of a busy world.

“There, up there, that’s where we gotta go!”

“There, up there, that’s where we gotta go!”






Forever Middle Aged

Love, marriageColleen HanneganComment

I’m having an ongoing friendly argument with my husband. He’s checking out his feet and legs now that it’s warmer weather and he’s wearing his shorts. He laments on the condition of parts of his aging form. I accuse him of saying “old” far too much in describing himself.

It’s getting old.

In my opinion, he’s a 69+ year old man who one might guess to be closer to 60….2.

Seeing his 70th birthday speeding towards him this year is a shocker, we’ll both agree. Eight years his junior, I’m not diggin’ the math that puts my seven-oh not all that far behind his.

Outdoors keeps us feeling young--er!

Outdoors keeps us feeling young--er!

However, I refuse to say he’s old, I’m old, we’re old. Hell no. 

The old word brings to mind yellowing plastic containers that have seen too much UV light. Old as in a horse lead out to pasture. Old as in medieval. Old worn shoes and socks. Old house that creaks. Well, maybe the creaking can’t be denied.

Old roads. Oldies but goodies. Yuck. Old hat. Old records. Old is as old does. You’re as old as you feel. No one expects an old person to be sexy or sexual. 

“Please, can we agree to the word older,” I beg. “Will you please stop saying we’re old?” 

He laughs. If I hadn’t been enjoying one of his yummy vodka tonic’s he’s made with pineapple infused vodka, I would be irritated. But he’s making me laugh instead. I can’ t help myself.  He loves to see me getting worked up when he brings up THE WORD.

Old has no room here. No closet space either. Not even a little cubby hole somewhere. Old rhymes with mold and cold. Don’t like those words either.

“It’s okay to say we’re old because we are.” he declares. I open my mouth to protest. “Do you think you’re middle aged?” he asks. “Middle age”, he continues, “is the age from our mid 30’s to about mid 50’s; 60 at the latest.”

“That’s ridiculous,” I almost scream. “People are living longer. 62 is the new middle ages; I mean 62 is only half way cooked, I mean, well, I’ll admit to being a senior citizen.” I feel myself struggling with those two words. Ten years ago I felt far away from being categorized as senior. I’m not near ready to fast forward to any old talk.

We’re both laughing at my word jams. And we both know I love my senior discounts at the car wash, movies, anywhere I can save 10%. I love a deal. But there’s no deal here to ever agreeing we’re old.

“I’ll agree to saying I’m old when I’m 85; no when I’m 81. Okay, when I’m 81 I’ll ease up on the word old. Not until then.” I tell him with a straight face and firm resolve in every fiber of my middle aged sexy being.

He’s smiling at me with that charming smile that seduced me ten years ago when we were so young. Third time marriage for both of us was the charm. When the idea that sharing the rest of my life with him seemed like a very long and happy road with so much to see and do and share.

He lowers his voice. “You will always be beautiful and sexy. You could never be anything but lovely in my eyes.” Smart man.   

Those words will never get old.

 

©Colleen Hannegan