Saturday, August 31, 2019

On aging

I have been outside only to get wood.  The antsiness that has me wandering aimlessly around in my mind and figetting with various digital devices has subsided into the moment called now. The cloudy sky, the pattering rain, the pond clouded by pelting drops, and the grass stalled in its turn to brown by the unexpected weather come into focus.

I am settled in the easy chair by the window looking out, a fire going, a blanket across my lap like I’m recovering from an illness and in that peaceful state of mind where you have survived the assault on the body and now are thrust newly awake, stunned by a self and a world, fresh, without a story.

I am lit by a small fire within to catch the moment in a web of words.

So much has been lost recently.  Looking back at the life I’ve lived, I can see it as a series of losses. One era falling apart, a period of chaos and grief and then the emergence of a new era with a reconstructed self moving on to the next ending.  The period that comes to mind in a flood of sunlight is the child rearing years, with river and suntans and potlucks and children playing and laughter, all images that are prominent, although the era itself had its share of heartache, sleepless nights and worry.  A golden haze had covered it in memory and it has dreamy idyllic quality.  Its ending is a jumble of broken promises and dreams.   

Everyone’s life has loss, but sequence, shades,  tones and eras differ. The reader will know their own beginning and endings  The next rebirth for me was the working years, where I tried hard to squeeze myself into the mode of teacher, parts of me popping inconveniently out and getting stuffed back in, living for weekends and summer until a transformation took place and the popping out and stuffing back was hardly noticeable.  This ended in life threatening illness and surgery and grief  and after treatments which rebirthed itself into the “lucky to be alive” era which has been filled with travel and leisure and loneliness and the blessings of grandchildren.  This era is currently winding down and merging with the next.  There are some unfixable physical disabilities and the ubiquitous medical interventions  and the grandchildren have aged out of their romance with me and rightly so.  I am definitely into the end game and the body does not let me forget that for long.  The long stable plateau of the child rearing era or the working world has given way to a much bumpier ride.

All of which leaves me currently with the snarky attitude of “You Call this Luck?”  It makes me laugh to admit it.  I’ve come to see a choice point for my future.  There is the possibility of the querulous bitter old woman angry and annoyed at herself and the world taking control of the end, or the one we’re all so enamored with—the  cheerful old woman aging gracefully, feisty but not fighting her fate.  So a friend and I having dinner were speaking about this aging issue and the very real question of  ”What’s the  point?”  More and more time is spent just keeping body and soul together.  We must  watch what we eat, take the supplements, do the exercise, meditate, lube the skIn, massage the aches, be careful where we step.  Is aging and dying well the point so that we set a good example and don’t be a burden to the younger generation?  Should we all be working hard for a better reincarnation?  But really I’m exhausted with all this trying.

When we are happy, that question doesn’t arise, and when are are feeling useful, we have an answer for that question, but the rest of the time the question is unanswered, stranded as we are without our hormones and the golden haze of the urge, the pull and tug of life’s desire for its self.

Where is the refuge for me, for us?

It comes more easily for those of us who have sat quietly for long periods of time, eyes closed, or perhaps eyes open, seeing the shadows grow long at evening,  watching the sun go slowly off the mountain, hearing the chittering of little birds in the trees as they flit from branch to branch before settling in for the night, as if the day’s end was just as exciting as sunrise.  We know a peace that enters a heart in harmony with what is, a stillness that asks for nothing, and, ever present but so often occluded, a love arises which is unshaken by the tumult of the world.

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