with 4 Comments


At my age, the realization of how few days I have left reminds me daily of how perishable this body is.

While I doubt there are many who’ve more belief in a spiritual afterlife than me, I still wonder if we ever do get over clinging to our everyday life, as humdrum as it can be.

I know we definitely are eternal, everlasting, forever.

Still, can we ever really step beyond the “Sting of Death,” as Saint Paul so aptly put it.


Death and Dying

I’ve been blessed with idyllic sunset years.

I’ve got the best hiking trails in the world, a wonderful wife who excuses my grumpiness and does her best to assure I have delicious gourmet meals every day and makes me happy in every way she can.

I have good friends.

And I’ve good enough health to continue hiking.

That’s decent enough health, despite a catalog of ailments – diabetes, prostate cancer, a brain hemorrhage, open-heart surgery, A-Fib, angioplasty and continual heart disease.

While I’m blessed enough to enjoy my everyday life, it also creates my desire to cling to it.

And these thoughts are more present since losing my dear hiking companion, our dog Tessa.

Mourning takes time.  After more than a year, I still miss her dearly.

Tessa was my constant trail companion. We hiked every morning and took four shorter walks every day.

Still, while I am hiking my Spiritual Self reminds me that Tessa is always there with me, just up ahead waiting for me at the next twist of the trail.

I just can’t see her. But it’s a comforting illusion.

Tessa on snow So Boundary 11-19-15
Tessa still waits for me at the next bend in the trail.

You can call all of life an illusion. I can’t quarrel with that.

BUT . . .

The rubber hits the pavement when I know, with zero doubt, that even more than the inevitability of taxes, Death is stalking me, just around the corner.  As it did Tessa.


Cloying Bliss

In the Eastern Advaita Vedanta tradition there is the concept they call ananadamaya kosha, the bliss sheath.

It is supposed to be the final veil that covers the eyes from seeing the Absolute, or what we would call God here in the West.

This clinging to the pleasures of life that I am going through may be exactly what ananadamaya kosha means.

But, to confess, I’m sort of with Arjuna in the Bhagava Gita’s Eleventh Chapter

When he pleads so intensely for it, he is allowed to see The Absolute, face to face.

But he pulls back and says something like this, “Please Lord, let me return to my old self and see things as they were – in everyday life.”

Perhaps I am just too cowardly to want to “see” my dog, Tessa, as she is now in Dog Heaven. That will come. I know.

But please Lord, not just yet.


Geezer Book in the Works

I’m writing a book on how we geezers can best cope with our last days.  If you have topics you’d like to have me explore, please let me know.  Just pop me a few words in an email to BackpackerBill@taosnet.com  I’d love to hear them.  I may not have answers but I will raise the questions, I assure you.

Tell me when the Geezer Book is published.

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4 Responses

  1. Sally Clinard
    | Reply

    Hi Bill, I have been following your blog for a few months now and absolutely enjoy it all……words, pictures, thoughts on your experiences. I wanted to introduce myself as well. Lee Kemsley is my sister and Michael is my brother-in-law. So it seems we have a connection! My husband and I have retired and live on Center Hill Lake in Lancaster, TN. I have a very bad foot , so cannot do much walking. But we enjoy the outdoors immensely! We find our inner peace on the lake with the sun rising and the birds singing. Just wanted to let you know that I am following along with you on your journey as I go on mine.
    Sally Clinard

    • BackpackerBill
      | Reply

      Good to hear from you, Sally. I hope I can continue to keep your interest. Yes, of course, Lee has been following for awhile as well. The outdoors seems a sickness for those of us who hang together.

  2. william k williams
    | Reply

    So you are on the trail or journey to life after life. I have been made aware of the Geezers blog from my good friend Joe S. after I have related to him about my own recent hiking exploits here in the Hudson Valley. One of the main reasons why we moved here was and still is, is the hiking trails and the beauty of the surrounding mountains and bogs, I practice a quiet aloneness in the woods with the attention fully out and enjoying the very substance of the surroundings. I too have a terrific partner but he is getting on in years and gets tired after a little while so I have to leave him home rather than carry him in my knapsack (that happened only once). Nice to connect with the geezer.

    Love always,

    • BackpackerBill
      | Reply

      Thanks for your thoughts, William.
      Good to hear from the Hudson Valley. Yes, I am convinced that the peace we experience out on the trail keeps us sane. Nature is where we came from and where we will return, is it not? So, maybe that is why we are still so connected with it when we are out there.

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