The Old Joints Part
or maybe Guingola Oaxaca.
My hip joints have been aching so much that I cannot rest my weight on a single leg. They've been so sore that I could not evade the thoughts that my friend and contemporary in age recently had a hip socket replacement.
I've never been one to take proper care of my body. If the body is a temple, them mine is something like this ancient Zapotec one, abandoned, neglected, grown over, and worn by time, maybe damaged by the hands of ignorant barbarians. I've not lived in regret of these abuses, despite the payment that biology has meted out to me as a result. Frankly, I consider myself to have been lucky, compared to so many men of my own age who I see go by my window in wheelchairs, or bent over from decades in office chairs, or fat from deficient diets, or sad from a shortage of life.
I feel my joints tightened up, or these damaged old wrists flaring up when my private weatherman reports of a cold front approaching. "Nature bats last," and all my travels and prayers and delightful creativity have turned up no magic potions to change that. I wear these groans like I wear my white hair: badges hinting at deeds past. The alternative to growing old is not acceptable to me, and I feel I would be a traitor to complain.
At the same time that I feel age hobbling beside me I am experiencing a wonderful, entertaining joy as I refute its companionship. I now stand up straight, thanks to that foot surgery several years back. It is still a delight to me to feel my skeleton hold me up properly, even though these is a constant toll to pay as my muscles complain about being stretched into proper biological conformity after 65 years of adaptation of slump. Just as my neck became comfortable it passed the pain off to my shoulders, which passed it on to my lower back, and which has of late granted it to my buttocks and back of my thighs.
But it is riding that has been the radical transformer. It is vigorous, even violent compared to the staid pace of my walks. And it provides both motivation and energy to the other skeletal stuff. Sitting up straight a necessary maneuver, and a trotting beast's bump, bump, bump compresses and expands my spine better than even jogging would. Since the whole world is still perfect while riding properly, I am motivated by the whole cosmos that wants that perfection even more than I do. With the universe prodding me, I even sometimes work consciously to stretch!
And it's become obvious to me lately that my hip joints ache from straddling the pony. I know because my right hip really hurts when I vault up to mount, and they both ache when I am done. And I love riding, so I love my hips too.