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Tired Marks

Sometimes I’m just tired.

I just get tired.

My legs are lead – they want not to move.

My knees are stiff, like those of a war veteran grandfather who has been seated, forgotten and left, before the television set for an hour – an hour too long.

The hinges of all my joints are rusted – not creeky, but just stiff, hard to move, like those on a door in a house that’s been abandoned, far outside of town for far too long. The hinges are too rusted to break – they can’t even move, let alone move enough to stress and strain the working parts to a point of cracking and splitting and tearing.

And my feet – they’re tired. They weigh me down when I try to walk, refusing to carry me across the ground, rejecting the notion that that is their job, to help propel me forward through the world, physical and ethereal, all around me.

And that’s disturbing, because I’m a walker. It’s what I do.

Or maybe it’s what I did.

No longer.

Now I sit.

But is what you do really who you are? Am I not more than an uncomfortable office chair in front of an out-of-date computer in an office too cold for the summer and too warm for the winter? Am I not more than the construction outside my window, the soft bluegrass music played through my computer’s speakers, the occasional quiet conversation taking place in the hallway on the other side of my thick white door, with a sticker on the inside and a poster on the outside – the sticker is for those of us who inhabit this office (myself alone at the moment), a large, old bumper sticker from the early days of this organization, and the poster is for everyone else to see of an event not only that we’re promoting, but also an event in which I will be participating.

It’s an event of folks who work in the ‘sustainability’ field (read: environmental workers who live in an urban area out of practical and commercial and political necessity), and I wonder what I’ll say to the students and community members who attend. What will I answer to their questions of “how did you get this job?” and “what is it that you do?” and “where do you see yourself in five, ten, fifty years?”

In short, I got this job through my feet and hands and legs and arms, all of which are tired now.

I work to make a safe space for environmental stakeholders with common goals to come together to announce those goals, find others with similar goals, and work towards achieving those goals in effective, efficient, and effervescent ways.

I see myself traveling in five years, in school in ten years, and happy in fifty years.

But really, what am I? I am a man, I am a human, and I am an outdoorsman. How those identifiers of myself manifest within and without me is up to the others in my life, be they stranger or acquaintance, Amanda the credit union clerk or Derrick the cowboy, family or friend or foe. They decide how they see me, because I can only say so much about how tired my feet are and how stiff my knees are and how creaky my joints are before what I am becomes something I’d prefer not to be:

Old.

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