Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Sixties Are Over

 Waxing Crescent Moon

Well, the sixties are finally over. On Sunday, December 5, at 7:51 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, I will complete my 70th year as an ethereal spirit masquerading as James Raymond Ostdick in this rapidly aging bag of bones. From then until next December, I am supposed to say I am 70 years old, even though as every second goes by I will actually be living out my 71st year. 

Whenever I have this conversation with people, no one seems very bothered by our custom of understating our ages when asked. Saying I am 70 is not very precise. While it is true that I have lived 70 years, it is also true that I have lived 66 years, or 68. I may as well pick any other round number reasonably close to the way I look (as long as it is not over 70) if I want to abide by societal norms. 

However, I feel rather adamant that, to be forthright, I should admit that the sixties are over and done with. On this final day of my 70th year, I vow that I'm not going to say, if asked, that I am 69. The sixties have been over for quite some time now. Tomorrow, if asked after 7:51 a.m. PST,  "How old are you, Jim?" I am going to say, "I am in my 71st year, thank you very much."

This is me, finishing up my 70th year on Earth. I feel fine.

This morning my camp and its surroundings were smothered in a thick marine layer.

It was chilly when I got up so I hustled over to the Mission Cafe to treat myself to a pre-birthday omelet. I wanted to take one more 70th-year hike at Fremont Peak State Park, so I was going to need some righteous sustenance. Just like I knew it would be, the omelet was both righteous and delicious. 

Imagine my surprise when I was ready to leave, all fired up by eggs and coffee, and my pretend Mission Cafe granddaughters/waitresses Maria and Jessica announced that my meal was on them. They were all smiles and happy birthday tomorrow wishes as I fished out some bills to leave them a tip anyway. Very cool way to start the day. I made a mental note that if I should happen to win Superlotto this evening, I will definitely buy each one of them a brand new car. Pretend Grandpa is righteous, too.

On the way up San Juan Canyon to the park, I stopped at an overlook to check out the view down into San Juan Valley. This is one of my favorite things to do when things are socked in down below. 

This makes me imagine the ocean just broke over through the
Coast Ranges and created a whole new landscape.

Up in the park it was sunny and warm and I had the place to myself. There are about six miles of hiking trails. I chose to do the loop starting from the upper parking lot: the Valley View Trail to the Cold Springs Trail to Tony's Trail to Carmen's Trail back to the beginning. Took me about two hours, which is slower than I could do it even a few years ago, but who really cares? It was fun! The trails took me through madrone and oak forests with lots of moss and lichen. It was odd not to see any mushrooms or deer, although I did see plenty of deer tracks and scat. The trails, by the way, are in great shape right now.

On Carmen's Trail there was a lot of furry moss on the trees and rocks and many windblown pieces of what I am calling lichen. There is a good chance that's not correct. It's some kind of parasite anyway.


I also saw a Boo Radley tree, which always makes me smile.

I feel really good after today's hike, my last walk of what people call my sixties. As long as I can keep doing this kind of thing, I'll be a happy camper.

Peace, Love, and Oh Boy, I'm on My Way to Get a Giant Smoothie at Bliss Blendz,

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