When I started the climb up Mout Baldhead in Saugatuck, Michigan, today, I was totally surprised with how out of breath I got going up the steps. Usually I only stop once or twice in order to catch my breath. Today, I took four extended breaks, thankful that I was alone so no one could witness my pitiful upward trek. I blamed it on my lax winter activities. Even with reasonable excuses, this need for extra rest upset me… until… on my way down a bit later, I passed two groups of people going up and noticed that each of them, too, struggled and often stopped for extended rests, even more and longer than I had. And considering I am quite a bit older than any of the other climbers (and, no one in the other groups was younger than an older teen), it all gave me pause.
My wonderment and reason came together as I considered it all. At last I decided on the cause of my/our panting: lack of oxygen! There were no leaves on the trees, and not even a pine tree offering its needles for oxygen. So, I concluded that I was not an old foggy, that I was not out of shape; I just needed air.
(That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)