in junior high i wrote a piece which i titled “old age is not a disease”. i was the child of older parents; most of my friends’ parents were at least ten years younger than mine, some fifteen. many of my parent’s friends were also their age and my grandparents were significantly older, so i was surrounded by elders.
i’m not quite sure what compelled me to write this piece, but it was written with fervor and i was passionate about my assertion. though i’m certain it’s somewhere in a bin downstairs, i’ll rely on my tenuous memory when i say i backed it up with facts and a great deal of emotion. always thready and emotional. from the beginning, i suspect.
so i guess it should come as no surprise that i am drawn to things waning. i find the flower on trail past its prime, bowing to the forest floor, petals wrinkling. i find the fallen tree, nurselog to a little community of new trees, striving. i find the dried grasses, glowing in late autumn. my photo library is full of these older-agers.
i keep the daisies until it no longer makes sense. but it seems that is way past when others would keep them. their curling petals no longer crisply open, instead shrinking and closing. they are beautiful. all stages.
daisies are kind of important to us. i was holding a daisy when i met david in baggage claim nine years ago. the second time i met him with a whole armful of daisies. and then, daisies walked with us down the aisle. i suspect they will be with us all along.
so, like us, i recognize their allure in every stage. even in waning.
this past weekend the father of my beloved children, my first husband, turned 65. i wished him a happy birthday and texted that i was astonished that we are the ages we are.
the time between back then and now has flown by and, were i to be defined as a daisy, i am grateful the petals and that yellow center of joy are still present, though a little crumply and a spectrum of many flaxen shades.
i know i don’t look like the daisy of yore. but every stage of a daisy counts.
“may the light of your soul mind you,
may all your worry and anxiousness about becoming old be transfigured,
may you be given a wisdom with the eye of your soul, to see this beautiful time of harvesting.
may you have the commitment to harvest your life, to heal what has hurt you, to allow it to come closer to you and become one with you.
may you have great dignity, may you have a sense of how free you are,
and above all may you be given the wonderful gift of meeting the eternal light and beauty that is within you.
may you be blessed, and may you find a wonderful love in yourself for yourself.”
(john o’donohue – “a blessing for old age” from anam cara)
read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY