Downtown Risks

I learned a little something about myself today.

My life isn’t in its best groove these days and while there are certainly some wonderful moments that I am able to enjoy in this groove, the main thrust seems to be rather poor.

Now there are many people in far worse grooves than mine, so I shouldn’t complain, and I won’t.

We all now that life is a pendulum, sometimes swinging up and sometimes down and we don’t really get to decide much about which swing we are on at any one time.

I think the trick is just to hold on to the pendulum and ride out the downward swing, safe in the knowledge that one day it will swing up again.

Today wasn’t an early start. I sleep with the bedroom door open these days and Rocky mixes with the other three babies during the night. This means he isn’t in a rush to wake me up at some ungodly hour to let him out.

His infiltration of the cat pack (Marty, Marcy, and Beauty) has been slow and at times stressful. But, it certainly is reaping its rewards. I am loving the change.

So by the time I got up, gave these four their breakfast, and then released and fed the five down in the office, I was only thirty five minutes to twilight.

Normally that fact alone would have swayed my decision and steered me to Lake Parker but I grabbed a black coffee (lifeblood at this time of the morning), hopped in the car and raced towards Tampa.

I was in the car on the interstate still trying to decide my destination. I might be able to get to Ballast Point, or maybe Lakeshore Blvd. Davis Islands was a bit closer, but that place was gawd awful when I last went there.

Decision making has always been a good skill of mine. I can rapidly analyze and make a committed decision faster than most people I know. Sometimes I am right, others not, but I will always make a decision, regardless.

So, racing due east at about 80 miles an hour, I ran the timing permutations in my head and decided I could make downtown Tampa and find that spot near the TV station on the bank of the Hillsborough River, that I had found once before.

And with any luck at all I would be there in time to catch twilight.

It was a good decision, as it turned out. I got there in time, set up the camera and got some neat skyline shots against the twilight-blue skies before they paled out.

The only struggle I had initially was with the lens fogging up, as it went through its temperature adjustment from inside to outside. I even left one of the foggy pics right at the start below, as it was kind of an interesting effect.

But the shots came out great and when the skies began to brighten a little, I walked over to Kennedy Blvd and along the bridge there, just west of Ashley Drive.

Anyway, I hope you like the little selection at the end of the blog.

I was back on the interstate before the sun even broke the horizon, heading home to beg forgiveness of the kitties that I had locked out in the wet darkness.

It was while driving home that I did that learning I mentioned initially.

There is a picture of the sun breaching the clouds at the very end and it was taken at 90 mph in the fast lane as I sped home. It isn’t going to win me any awards but I just couldn’t ignore the beautiful scene I was driving into.

I am not sure if the highway patrol officer would have accepted that as a valid excuse had I been caught, speeding, window down, left hand on the steering wheel while right hand is holding the camera out the window taking pictures.

Frankly, other than witnessing an alien invasion, I am not sure any reason would be accepted for such reckless behavior.

But that’s what I learned about myself. The reckless bit.

Because twenty minutes earlier, I had been crouched down in the middle of the road on Kennedy Blvd, resting on the yellow lines that divide eastbound from westbound traffic. My clothing was dark colored and I darted in and out of the roadway to take some shots in between traffic bursts.

At the last attempt, a passerby commented that I really needed to be careful. “Hey buddy, you shouldn’t do that on your own. Man that is dangerous.”

And he was right. Those photos didn’t even make the cut for this blog. So, they were nothing special.

What I realized is that the less happy I am in life, the more risks I take.

When life holds no real joy for me, I am more prepared to lose it.

These many months now, the decline has been quite noticeable and my risk taking quite measurably increased.

It isn’t so much that I want to die, it’s just that I don’t really care about living that much any more.

Is this what happens to us all as we grow older? Does life lose its joy-based reason for living it?

It is quite possible that the pendulum will swing back up sooner than later or perhaps that I will die before the upward motion. I don’t have any control of either.

It is an old saying that “hope springs eternal” but I am not sure that is always true. I think we can reach a point where at the very least our hopes diminish and this is very likely why old people can get to a point where they comfortably give up life and fade away.

With nothing to look forward to, what is the point of hanging on?

I am not for a moment advocating for suicide. I think that is something that in almost all cases is a bad choice.

But I also think that a realistic view of life proves out the differences between a young life and an old life. And the main difference between both is not just the physical changes to this vessel we experience life with, but is actually the diminishing hope for a better future.

When your race is run, it takes hope with it. Unless you convince yourself that there is life after death, then your hopes die with you. And so, they should.

Death is a totally natural end to a life. For every beginning, there is an end.

It doesn’t need to be feared and it cannot be avoided. It should make us no sadder than arriving at the end of a good story. Part of you might want the story to continue, but you’ve already heard the story and now you must accept the ending.

There are those who reject the story and seek an alternate outcome. One of everlasting life. There is no more feverish a search for god than among older people who fear death.

But death need not be feared. Admit it or not, the only thing worth fearing is life. And when you stop fearing or lose interest in what life has to offer, then you take more risks.

… just a thought.