The young hear memory in the voice of their elders and, delighted by these voices from the past or bored by them, too often miss the content behind the content. Memory is not about what went on in the past. It is about what is going on inside of us right this moment. It is never idle. It never lets us alone.
~ Joan Chittister, The Gift of Years
Whatever happens to the body, what toll age takes on the physical, the spirit does not grow old. In our dreams, in the way we ourselves see ourselves, we are forever becoming. Our dreams are always the vision of a younger self, a self-contained, energetic, self-determining person with a will of steel. Our dreams reveal to us the basic truth of life: years are biological; the spirit is eternal. The number of our years do not define us. There is in the human being a life force that never dies. It is the life force that proves to us that age does not fossilize us. Down deep, where our souls live, we stay forever young. It is this surging, driving force that brings us to the bar of life every day of our lives, whatever our age, however much we have been through, prepared to live life to the hilt again.
~ Joan Chittister, The Gift of Years
There is, I believe, some truth to the last quote. In my dreams I am always a younger self, but one who knows now what I didn’t know back then. I don’t always see the wrinkles, the jowls, the effects of gravity, when I look at myself in the mirror. That might be because I don’t do more than glance quickly at myself nor do I have a good look with my glasses on (because who washes their face or brushes their teeth with their glasses on?). There are times when a glance is enough, when I look down at my hands or catch my reflection in a window and wonder “who is this old woman?” Those are the times I see my mother, my father, the aunts, and my grandmother. All the old people are here, with me, in some way.
This rainy morning I am thinking about stories, about unraveling, about reality, illusion, the beauty of ancient ruins, and why is it that the falling-apartness and tumbling of ancient abbeys or castles or walls seem so much more beautiful than the tumbling and unraveling and falling-apartness of an aging person. I’m thinking about blurring vision, loss of hearing and memory, the aches and pains of muscles and bones and an entire body of being, and wondering how that can be expressed in something other than words. Perhaps through wounded and dead trees, track marks of Emerald Ash Borers, and playing with blur.
We had this amazing snow day on April 21st and I wrote a little about it in my journal, but never got around to writing too much about it here. The snow was beautiful and quite short lived. I think I did mention that there were snowball fights, the building of a snowman, sledding, and other snow play.
I wrote about play after our snow day, and I’ve continued to take play to heart, to find little moments of abandoning my age and acting like a child. When the lyrics “we all fall down” come around, I fall down on the ground with the boys and we all laugh and giggle and enjoy the momentum of falling down on a grassy hillside. I make funny faces and don’t even think about what that might look like.
The new nanny starts today. That gives me the mornings off to enjoy the quiet or listen to podcasts, to do some chores, to write or draw, to sit and watch the rain. The raucousness of young boys gets to be a bit much when you’re used to silence and spending a lot of time on your own. They will be coming over for lunch and rest time. I don’t know what we’ll do after that. It depends on the weather. I think the boys could probably use a few quiet days here and there. Every day is an exercise in physical exhaustion. Running, climbing, jumping, wrestling. And if they don’t need the quiet, I certainly do. Keeping up, no matter how much fun, isn’t as easy as it used to be.
I went out to listen to the birds and the rain this morning. Standing there in my bare feet, I felt more in touch with the ground, the trees, the grass, and the earth. The boys run around barefoot all the time. Even so, their feet are remarkably soft. I wear shoes and my feet are terribly calloused and hard. Is that an age thing or a result of the shoes?
Well, the boys will be here soon. I might have time to come back to this later, but I might not so I’ll close it up now and set it to publish at the usual time. Thank you for visiting with me today as I ramble and meander about nothing in particular. I always appreciate your company.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,761) Playing, dancing, singing, laughing, and giggling with abandon. I’m getting too old to be inhibiting my own joy. 1,762) The pitter-patter and scent of spring rain. 1,763) The different shades of green taking over the landscape. 1,764) Chili for dinner tonight. It’s cooking now and filling the house with good smells. 1,765) Quiet time.