Clocks and scythes


Dawn normally finds me upstairs at my desk. I’m an early bird. During the decades I worked on newspapers, I usually toiled till midnight or so and slept late the next morning. It was contrary to my nature.

When I quit working for a living, I reverted to early rising. Here at the Hacienda, I get up about 6:30, which is an hour or so before my child bride. I come upstairs, turn on the computer, read news and email to see who’s irked at me.

There’s a window directly above my computer screen. Often it’s pitch black outside when I arrive with my coffee cup and scrap of toast.

Then it gets brighter and brighter.

I often step out to the terraza, which ranges from cool to cold, depending on the month. Yesterday morning it was 60 degrees. In late June! I walked around the puddles from Thursday night’s rain and took this photo.

If you want to buy me a better camera, please do.

I love standing there at that hour. It’s relatively quiet except for chickens and roosters. It all feels very good, and I like to feel good.

But being just 14 fleeting months shy of 70, I wonder how far over those nearby mountains sits my final dawn — with God’s Own Timer in one hand and a well-oiled scythe in the other.

19 thoughts on “Clocks and scythes

  1. I gotta get down there before you kick it in, old man. I wanna see that handsome old stud muffin while you are still suckin’ in the O2, if you know what I mean!

    I miss ya, Pops!


    1. Who you calling old man? If I’m not mistaken, you’re about two years older than Gandolfini though in better shape, I’ll grant.

      You gotta elegantly furnished condo waiting for you here, as ever.


  2. Gandolfini’s death spooked me a bit. I am just a year younger. I am overweight. But, I don’t qualify as obese, and I don’t drink to excess. Supposedly, the actor downed 8 alcoholic drinks on his last night as he dined with his 13 year old son. I hope the son gets the hint and never drinks. The scythe likes those who overindulge, methinks.


    1. Laurie: As most know, excess poundage brings problems. As does smoking at all and drinking to excess. Nice that you don’t smoke or drink to excess. Actually, a quick, powerful heart attack is the preferred demise. It’s the timing that matters. My father died that way. Alas, he was only about six years older than I am now. He was not overweight, had never smoked and had not boozed in over two decades. I am very much like him except I did smoke a bit, though I quit about 20 years ago.

      Yes, the scythe takes those who overindulge. It takes everybody in time even if you take real good care of yourself and smile a lot.


  3. Death. My favorite topic. I think I told you I found the first two stories I wrote when I was four. All block letters — and all about death. You know me too well to label me as being obsessed with death. But I agree with you that it is quite simple to live life to its fullest while still being aware that the game will be up for us all. It is just how we are created. Everyone has a pull date.


          1. Sometimes I wonder which would be better, to have your mind go before your body or vice versa. Probably the former, but not too much before.


  4. I notice that you speak about death once every year or so … gotta keep it on the back burner so to enjoy the great time we have left.

    I too enjoy that time of the day, as the night is disappearing, the roosters crow and the coffee is hearty.

    You look good for an old coot!


  5. I like the mornings, dawning of a new day. 5:30 is my usual hour to arise. When biking through the desert (Mojave and Sonoran) I try to catch the sunrise. The sun warms the sage and the smell is intoxicating. Just me, the bike and the beginning of something new. Hopefully, the bike starts. I’m in the middle of nowhere. Harleys are fickle that way. I will hit the mark of 70 a touch before you. I still have the 69 to get through, so do you. Ten years is about what is left for me I believe, not much in the space of time. Hopefully, both you and I will spend it wisely.


    1. Bob: I would love to ride a motorcycle through the desert. Never have. I would also love to live in the desert. Never have. Deserts speak to me.

      As you know, I owned motorcycles when I was younger. Two particular rides live on in my memory. One was on a Norton Interstate, and I headed out bright and early from San Antonio, Texas, heading west into the Hill Country. It was right after I moved to San Antonio with my second wife in 1984. Only lived there a few months, alas. The weather was beautiful, cool, and I was alone that morning.

      The other was on a BSA going through the Ozark Mountains with my first wife, strangely, after we were divorced. Bikes and mountains mix well. We had camping gear, and we slept a few nights in a tent.

      Now that I think on it, another ride was memorable. Alone again. Along the Big Sur coast of California in 1963 on a little, borrowed Honda 305. So nice that one. The ride, not the bike.

      I had one Harley, and never found it hard to start. It kick-started, none of the electric stuff on Sportsters in 1977. That Honda 305, however, was a real pain in the butt that way. Glad it was not mine.


  6. Well, that is one advantage the Muslims have over you. The day of their death “is written” on the day of their birth. This gives them certain advantages.

    A friend of mine worked in Saudi Arabia and always complained about the driving habits of most of the locals. They would drive the wrong way through a one way tunnel at 150 KPH without worry. If it was their day to die, they would die. They could be in bed or speeding through the tunnel, it did not matter, if it was their day to die, they would die.

    Maybe some Mexican drivers are Muslim. 😉

    I am more like your child bride. I usually get up at 7:30. It rained here all night so I have little to do today.


    1. Croft: I am delighted to learn that you are studying the Mohammedan culture and faith. Perhaps when they take over Canada completely, you can convert easily (you will not be given a choice, of course). I hope your lovely wife is collecting enough sheets to cover her entire body on a daily basis. And I hope you will never beat or stone her no matter the social pressure to do so from your imam.

      And please let her drive a car.

      Or maybe you better not.


      1. I have no more respect for the Muslim faith than I do for Christianity. I might also comment that the Spanish who brought Jesus Christo to Mexico gave the Aztecs very little choice either. Many of Diego Rivera’s murals cover this subject well. The choice given the Aztecs was “the cross or the sword”. Another stellar example of “Christian love.”


        1. Yep, five centuries and more ago, the Catholics acted a lot like Mohammedans do now and as Mohammedans did then too.

          Now Catholic atrocities are pretty much restricted to the church rectory, where the choir boys get a little personal attention from the priests.


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