See all the old-time hippies limping around town, getting old, and dying. Remember when we were lean, motivated, and vibrant, fresh-faced young people? What happened? When we were young we didn't think about growing old, working on our gardening projects out in the hills then letting loose on the dance floor with stoned smiles on our faces.
We were long-haired pot-growing hippies and it seemed like we had it all--did we realize it would end and we would become old, unattractive elders with grey hair and beards? We must have had an inkling in our fifties that things were winding down, then hit the reality check of really slowing down in our sixties, but now we're heading into our seventies and eighties and life looks bleak.
When I got to the Gulch at about twenty I was the kid, most of the my back-to-the-land neighbors were about 27-30 years of age, college-educated, and usually very busy or at least they said they were. I wondered why as I was a lazy stoned-out mono-cropping hippie but the answer was the homesteads they built: verdant little paradises with big healthy fruit trees and well-tended gardens. On my steep five acres I have one overgrown fig tree down the hill somewhere and also planted an apple tree back in '94 that produced the most delicious apples, maybe four or five a year for a couple years, but it was accidentally cut down or neglected to death years ago.
So that's why the neighbors were so busy, creating beautiful orchards and children, something else I neglected to do, and the children brought joy and sometimes heartbreak but I never heard a parent say they regretted having any. Even single women who had a child with a bad or absent man doted on that kid as the one good thing in their life they got out of a difficult relationship. I'm out of touch with many of my peers but I'm pretty sure the success stories outnumber the bad ones.
As we limp into the doctor's offices with broken bones and kidney stones and every other painful horror our bodies can bestow our amazing pleasure machines have turned against us. We're getting wheeled into hospitals then on to crematoriums, and cemeteries, and as infirmities consume us we look back and see it was an interesting life out in these coastal hills during the forty year boom: good pay, clean air and water, months of vacation time, freedom to be our own bosses and suck on the green nipple with a big smile on our faces and dollar signs in our eyes.
That life came tumbling down for many recently, although we did see it coming, and here's hoping the survivors will have some healthy years before the inevitable. Good luck with aging everyone and if your children are there for you in your times of need consider yourself lucky to have love and devotion on your side.