Asilomar Beach, Pacific Grove, California
I sat on the side of the bed and gazed into the full-length mirror, but instead of seeing myself looking back, I saw an aging primate. The eyes looked like those of an ape with pain and wisdom, and concern. The body folded into itself with long arms hanging at the side and hair folded back like a groomed chimp in a shirt and pants, now with a humorous look on his face, just a misplaced inhabitant of a northern forest. Now picking at its nose, looking back at me with eyes blinking and head tilting with a question, mugging, posing, posturing, then recognizing the fake attempt and letting go. But it didn’t stop there; I began to see everyone as one of the great apes.
Just after sunrise, I rolled down the bike path along the coast; mist gathered on my glasses and dripped from my helmet. I came up behind an older woman, wearing baggy, beige clothing. She carried a brown paper bag and kept reaching in like she was snacking on a sweet roll. She didn’t know I was behind her, and when I tried to pass on the right, she stepped to the right, so I veered to the left, and she stepped left. I slowed and watched for a safe way to pass when she reached into her bag, pulled out some crumbs, and bent over to feed them to an old crow with ruffled feathers. The sight of it, the love and caring of these great apes, softened something inside of me.