Most of my life I’ve been proud of my stubby,yet muscular, legs. I will always cherish being objectified, sometime in the 80s, by a girl in a car, who saw me walking next to the road and yelled “I LIKE YOUR LEGS!!” Long before that, when I was about 8 years old, I noticed that the bulge of my calf helped create a harp-shape in the negative space formed by lying down and resting my right ankle on my left knee.
Kindly Dr. Ash diagnosed me with short/tight ligaments early on. I will always be inflexible due to this. And I was often walking on my toes (we call it that, but it’s really the platform of toes and foot-ball) and I am sure that is why I ended up with heroically-proportioned calves.
Now I note, at first with dismay, and an exclamation of “Holy Crap!” that when I flex my calf muscle, it reveals the crepiness of my 61-year-old flesh. Forever in the rear view are my firm, un-lumpy limbs of yesteryear. The odds of anyone yelling their like for my legs are vanishingly small.
But dismay fades. My legs, bless ’em, have walked and run me tens of thousands of miles. In 1991 alone they ran 1,891 miles. In their prime, June of 1984, they ran 186 miles–more than 6 miles a day, 7 days a week, and this in a hot, hot Phoenix spring/summer.
So my poor skin has been inexorably stretched and strained; and the aging process thins and devitalizes the flesh. There is also sun damage, which is rife among citizens of Phoenix.
Georgia O’Keeffe grew more and more beautiful with each passing year. Her old face, which I saw in person in 1975, was a network of lines of power, a direct connection to cosmic revelation. Her eyes saw into and through all that drew her attention. Wisdom glowed in them, not to mention asperity.
The flesh reflects a life well lived–or not so well lived. Got Laugh Lines? Got Sourmouth? Time, and the process, will tell.
As for me, my “Holy Crap!” of initial dismay is now the “Holy Crepe!” of earned pride.