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A Spiwak Fall

Only a few more days and deer season will end. Gloria and I have a love/hate relationship with the deer. There is nothing at all they will not eat or at least sample in the gardens, both vegetable and ornamental. They are fun to watch drinking from the pond for their aperatif, and eminently and immediately despise-able when they proceed to their various salad bars and main courses of plants and flowers we have nurtured since their little seeds and bulbs emerged from the ground as newborns. Each year I contemplate applying for a doe tag. We rarely see a buck on the property and a doe would constitute my idea of real hunting where the quarry is dispatched with a single shot from my recliner. But I can’t bring myself to do it.

Hunting is good exercise. I did it for years in Montana, a lot less on the rain soaked forests of western Washington, and barely at all here. I took my last shot about 1972. I had tried to interest my wife in hunting, making it easy by using a still-hunting stand where you wait for the animal to come to you. However, when she fell asleep ten minutes after we sat in some brush behind a log I could see the project was a failure.

Exercise these days is splitting and stacking firewood as the temperatures have begun to drop, sometimes already below freezing. Doing the firewood thing is to me a far better form of bodily conditioning than slipping into lycra garb and running down the highway. All the muscles are in use from fingers to upper back, lower back, knees, legs and feet. The best part is that when moving from the pile to the house, the distance is only about fifty feet. Thus can I jog from house to wood pile and get my aerobics and have my heart rate escalated. I understand the latter is a good thing nowadays and people wear little electronic thingies to count the beats.

Let’s hear it for commerce.

My contribution to the local economy - aside from the 37 non-profit organizations asking annually for money - goes to my local masseuse, Ms. Elaine. There are other things I spend money on of course, but as with other firewooders, visits to massage and chiropractic parlors are part of the fun of not being able to get out of bed the morning after and the fun of paying for the soothing relief of probing fingers.

Years ago I went to a dermatologist, getting concerned that something had gone from a bit of nibbling to taking large portions of meat from my shoulder. It was a carcinoma and when he told me I informed him that another of his profession had diagnosed it as “If you’re gonna have cancer, this is the one to get,” and gave me a salve for it. It did keep the attack down to nibbles. But after a few years they, as mentioned, became bites. The current doc told me I’d have to have skin graft surgery after removal of the hungry critter and I said fine. He then accused me of having “a cavalier attitude toward your health.” I suppose so.

Half the guys at the SLIME coffee klatch at the Mazama Store are probably eligible for Bachelors degrees in anatomy. I can be mesmerized, sitting there listening to tales of ACLs, L-1,2,3s, femur-hip attachments and other stuff I don’t remember because I happen to have a brain un-attachment we refer to at my age as CRS: Can’t Remember Shite. In short, we’re all gonna die some time so why spend part of my life possibly making it shorter by endeavors to make it longer?

I have no criticism for people who work out, go to the gym, run marathons, bike 80 miles a day, hike thousands of kilometers. What makes life wonderful is the ability to live it, each in our own way in a place as marvelous as what we have here.


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