The Amazon Trail

Aging Tomboy

By Lee Lynch

Lee with Ladybug

Lee with Ladybug

My body is telling me to slow down, even while my mind says go, go, go.

When was the last time I climbed a tree, a favorite younger pastime? Now I simply admire them and the birds that flit from Shore Pine to Western Hemlock to  Ornamental Cherry. It’s funny how I thought I missed certain activities and now I’m grateful I don’t have to do them any more.

I loved to run—to sprint. To run away when being bullied and just to run when I was confused or depressed or anxious. Can’t do that with fake knees. Instead, this Saturday I’m walking my first whopping 5K run to benefit our local chapter of N.O.W. I even get a bib! Rather than pout because I can’t join the actual runners, I’m grateful to walk nearly pain free again.  I’m also grateful to N.O.W. for its emphatic inclusiveness and to our little PFLAG group. We may not have a gay pride parade in this little town, but with their support, I no longer need to run anywhere.  I’m already at the edge of the continent and I’m not about turn tail.

PFLAG does join the July Fourth La Di Dah Parade a few towns away and has one of the largest presences in it. The first time I attended this event I stood next to a pot belly pig on a leash and then we watched the parade together. That’s the kind of town it is.

Usually I march in our neighborhood parade. I may not be as agile as I was, but I never got to be in a parade when I was more able. Our event includes people on patriotically festooned walkers, mobility scooters, aging pets in strollers, and this year—a batch of senior tricycles!

I do miss my bike. Once upon a time I practically lived on it. I ride an exercycle indoors, but have qualms about my balance, and am content—almost—with fond memories of my English racers. Part of me wants to join the outlaw tricycle gang on the Fourth. Part of me is still too proud to make the shift from bike to trike.

Lee on tricycle

Lee on tricycle

Heck, with not one, but two rotator cuff tears I can’t even hit a pink Spaldeen ball off a handball court wall. Or serve a tennis ball. Or spike a volleyball.

I can still dress like a tomboy. A butch tomboy anyway. My sweetheart was a femme tomboy. They grow up to be sporty femmes. It makes life easier when you marry a tomboy of any persuasion because she’s not afraid to tackle a garden project and can catch anything you toss her across the room. My sporty femme was the catcher on her softball team. With my weight limit of twenty pounds she also handles the heavy lifting. It’s kind of discouraging as I still have tomboy energy and worry that she’ll overdo.

Although even the energy is flagging. Travel wipes me out for a couple of months. The spirit is willing, but the flesh pays for it afterward.

Falling used to be kind of fun, knowing how, having an elastic body that could leap right up again. Now it’s a nightmare. Some of the old people in our ‘hood have to call 911 for help to get back up. Knee surgery was a good decision as I’ve managed to stay upright since that fall in Provincetown five or six years ago, before the sidewalks on Commercial Street were leveled out.  A younger tomboy would have hopped, skipped and jumped right along, whistling through her front teeth, showing off her nimbleness. Pride goeth before a fall. Literally.

Thank goodness I’ve still got tomboy spirit. My sweetheart likes my tomboy walk. She may sometimes steady me climbing down rocks to the beach, but I’m still climbing. My mother didn’t stop clamboring across beach rocks until her late 80s. But then, she didn’t hurt herself as a tomboy of any sort. She never worked in the grocery business, breaking her back and loving every minute of scaling dumpsters to make more room by insanely jumping up and down, flattening the load with her feet. Housework and pushing a baby carriage were her back breakers. Meh, any good tomboy would say to that.

Life changes us. Suddenly I have a pale green thumb. We have a begonia that’s taking over our house although I’ve given away starts right and left. I even know what a “start” is. The aloe plant has propagated itself so often we’re trying to pawn the aloe-ettes off on any sucker who will take them. I can’t bear to kill a plant.

My physical therapist has not set any limits on light gardening. Instead of sprinting I’ve been digging. Instead of biking I’ve been chasing away slugs. Instead of climbing trees I’ve been planting them.

And instead of running grocery stores and doing vocational counseling I’m writing—better, I hope, or at least not rushing through this, my real work.

I don’t row or fish or swim; I don’t skate or walk to mountain peaks; I haven’t gotten under my car to do a bit of tinkering for decades or rearranged my office furniture much (only when my sweetheart’s not looking).

So my question is: I’ll be 70 this year. Can I still be a tomboy?

Copyright Lee Lynch 2015

5/15   Award-winning author Lee Lynch

9 Responses to “The Amazon Trail”

  1. 1 onamarae June 9, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    Dear Lee,

    From one Femme who is closer to 70 than she ever imagined being, to a lovely Butch Tomby, Of Course You Can! You can be a Tomboy as long as your heart desires! We, imho, define our reality and our identity and you can be whatever you want to be! You can also be a tomboy as long as you can weave a story, whether you type that story yourself, or dictate it to a recorder or to your Femme Tomboy for putting down on paper. The stories you tell of the past or of your own creation are lovely and create yet more realities in which we able to run, and dance, and jump as high and as far as our imaginations will allow! Thank you for taking us along on your journeys!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 misterdangerous June 9, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    Yes, you can still be a tomboy. It goes fast, doesn’t it? I can’t believe I’m the age I am. It seems like only yesterday I was 30. Have fun walking for N.O.W. and remember to take your time. There’s no need to hurry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 3 Fran June 9, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    I think you can still be a tomboy at 70 Lee. I am only 45, but I will always be a tomboy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 4 Devlyn June 10, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    Lee, it sure is a fine line when you are younger to play sport and do all the activities you mention without injuring ourselves and suffering the consequences when older.
    If I could tell my younger self one thing it would be to look after my back. Life would be so much easier and I would be so much more active if I hadn’t injured it in my late 20’s while in the Army. Don’t get me started on how the other injuries are effecting me now and I’m only 47.
    As far as being a tomboy is concerned, I intend to be a tomboy until the day my heart gives out and then I’m going to be one in the afterlife. I love the fact that you are a Butch tomboy and Elaine is a Femme tomboy and the fact that your traditional roles are reversible. This is the type of relationship I have with my partner. Some days she does the heavy lifting and some days I do other stuff. She is a self identified Butch (with the capital B) whereas I’m more of a soft butch ( with a little b) but we are both tomboys and it all works well for us too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 5 S.A. June 10, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    Of course you can still be, now and forever! Fun blog, as always, Lee!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 6 Angie June 10, 2015 at 2:49 PM

    Once a tomboy always a tomboy.


  7. 7 Melissa Moir June 10, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    To the #1 Tomboy on the planet – YES YOU CAN!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 8 Lee Lynch June 11, 2015 at 2:12 AM

    You’re all so wonderful. I expect to be writing for you/reading you for at least the next 30 tomboying years! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 9 Karen W. June 11, 2015 at 6:58 PM

    Yes. Once a Tomboy, always a Tomboy. That spirit will live on in us forever. And isn’t that what really makes a Tomboy? That spirit?
    Gotta love it in whatever form it takes.

    Liked by 1 person

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