Sitting under the shade of my favorite tree, I let my mind wander down the rabbit hole of memories gone by.
Bare feet on wet grass. Hot summers by the pool. A tireless body with flexible limbs and a hundred twisted trees to climb.
Young love, with first kisses in the shade.
My first heartbreak, and seeking solace on the highest branches that once threw that furtive shade.
The thrill of young transgressions, the first bitter taste of alcohol and smoke.
The intoxicating smell of a naked body against mine.
Speed, and power. The roar of a bike engine, gliding over never ending roads.
Something gently brushes against my closed eyelids.
A single feather has fallen from somewhere in the mass of leaves above me.
I watch the tanned and weathered skin from my own hand as it picks this little token of reality.
Have I grown old?
My limbs have turned less flexible, my eyesight weaker… but my body has turned stronger in a very different way.
Can I really say I’m old?
I place the feather in my backpack, take one more swig from the water bottle, and continue running the last 5 miles back home.