I know what the breeze feels like, a fast breeze self-manufactured with a stride that swallows pavement. I've felt it all at once from head to foot while it rushed behind me and whispered in my ears.
I remember how it feels to drift effortless along the ground with a mind settled on a single, nearly unconscious thought - relax. I can still feel a body as synergized as dancers on a Broadway stage, every part working in fluid unison.
And as the ground sped by in the flowing swiftness, I remember the stillness inside me, like a passenger in a speeding train, quietly enjoying the ride.
There were times when I was sure I could run as fast and as far as I wanted. Once, several miles into a 10-mile training run, it started on a long, down-hill stretch. It felt like my body was working under anesthesia while my mind stayed wide awake; I was floating.
And there were times when I was leading a race, so in control of the final result that I could simply enjoy the experience. I would run alone, knowing the others were behind me and feeling like my small body was more powerful than the strongest bricklayer.
I was young then, unaware of the thief that takes things from you while you're not paying attention, things you loved but never fully appreciated.
Back then, an aging future was like a myth, something I'd heard about but didn't think I'd see myself.
Time is the swift runner now, moving by so fast that I can never see him in the blur. He lives without the laws of the human body, moving faster with every year he acquires even when I'm sure he could never accelerate more.
I was on vacation a few weeks ago in a location where I fish on an old, wooden pier. I'm usually alone there, and I've noticed something special about the place; time hasn't found it yet. And so I used the chance to close my eyes, relive some glorious moments, and honor them in the only appropriate way - graciously.
Time will eventually force each one of us to learn how to let something go; we have to teach ourselves how to do it willingly.
If you're struggling with that, find a place untouched by time and meditate on what you've been missing, not to pine a loss but to embrace what you've gained from the blessing. Gratitude is a freeing virtue even when its expression is delayed.
We acquire wisdom at the same pace in which we're ready to receive it.
As I mused on that old pier, the breeze gifted me a whisper in my ears, and I finally heard a message I've been ignoring for far too long; joy lies not in an able body, but in a spirit that's free to accept it. Mine is.