The wind, rain and snows have come again. After years of endless drought, the rain came down in buckets. A constant deluge; for days and days it continued. We longed and prayed for life giving rain. Then we got it in unlimited quantities. The mountains are piled high with snow and more still to come. The cycle has certainly turned. Mother Nature has sure changed her mood and has been presenting us with quite a dramatic show.

But here today its a bright and clear Sunday morning. There are blue skies, sunshine and the clouds are flying by. A strong wind is in from the south. Even though our town is well sheltered with buildings nestled close together, the gusts still sweep right through.

The fierce winds blow down the mountain and across the valley floor. The environment has come alive. there is drama in the air.

I savor the last of my morning coffee as I slowly awake. Next I look in my mirror, razor in hand, to shave off my stubble. An old and weatherbeaten face looks back at me. I see aged eyes, wrinkled skin and greying hair. That face is there in the mirror every day when I look. I gaze at it a long time wondering how it came to be. Sometimes I wonder who is looking at whom and from which universe.

I guess its true. The ageless youth is finally growing old. One lifetime can not last forever. Living through it day to day seemed like an eternity. But in retrospect it went like a stream flowing downhill, rough, fast and with no looking back. Regrets were few while pleasures and adventures were many. It has been an exciting chapter of living history to experience.

Hey what am I saying? This is not an obituary. I have miles and miles and many years still to go. I'm not even a hundred yet!

Knowhow and valuable experience often times come with age. You somehow managed to avoid all the threats and dangers of a rough and tumble life. Industrial accidents and auto crashes seemed to add your name to their random lotteries. Warfare, robbery and street violence sought you out. Germs, diseases and afflictions took a crack at you Most dangerous of all seemed to be the broken heart and diminished spirit from lost love. But somehow you made it through. You successfully swam against the tide. You caught a glimpse of the Grim Reaper on many an occasion. You shook your head with a smile saying "Not yet pal"

So here you are, (or I am), today, alive, healthy and very well thank you. I'm able to look back and tell many a tale of how things were and how much fun it all was.

Anger and bitterness many times afflict older people. Some seem to view life with hostility highlighting all the wrongs, negatives and conflicts. "See what they did to me." That may well be true for them but it is ever so self-defeating.

There is the yin and yang of life just about everywhere you look. There is music, art and the exquisite beauty of nature. There are joyful happy people. If you are not lucky enough to have grandchildren to treasure, just view and admire the exuberance and joy of children wherever you see them. A flash of a smile from a pretty girl can gladden your heart and renew your appreciation for the beauty of life.

Sure there is sickness, pain and death. Certainly some things are all messed up compared to how they used to be. But dwelling, harping and complaining about them just makes you appear old, mean and grumpy.

Contemplating on the sorrow of the world will just pull you right into the abyss. It will blind you to the beauty and splendor of life around you. It shuts you off from the happiness and fun to be shared with others. I see it as just another monster seeking your demise.

So there you have it; the wisdom of an old goat. I guess you see what you want to see in the world around you.

The winds have calmed down now. I've finished shaving. My face looks more like that of a handsome young fellow again!

Dan O'Connor can be reached at