My blogging buddy Sandy at My Inner Edge posted this poem last week with a photo and I just loved it so much I’m stealing it today and illustrating it with one of my own photographs for my not-so-wordless Wordless Wednesday entry!
At the crossroads, hens scratched circles
into the white dust. There was a shop
where I bought coffee and eggs, coarse-grained
chocolate almost too sweet to eat.
When I walked up the road, the string sack
heavy on my arm, I thought
that my legs could take me anywhere,
into any country, any life.
The air, dazzling as sand, grew dense
with light: bougainvillea spilled
over the salmon walls, the road
veered into the ravine. The world
could be those colors, the mangoes,
the melons, the avocado evenings
releasing their circles of moon.
I climbed the pink stairs, entered
the house as calm and ephemeral
as my own certainty:
this is my house, my key,
my hand with its new lines.
I am as old as I will ever be.
I took this photograph over the weekend during a family barbecue. Aunt Bessie is 98 years old. My new granddaughter Brooklyn is only 8 weeks old. When I look at the two of them it feels as though I am looking at the whole of a woman’s life – the history of girlhood and school days, of friendships and lovers and work and marriage, the fierce new love a young mother feels when she holds her sleeping child, and the fierce grief a woman lives as she strokes her dying husband’s hand. Can you see it? All that has happened in the creases and lines of Bess’s beautiful face, and all that is yet to come in the smooth angelic face of my baby granddaughter. A life nearing its conclusion and one that is just beginning. The circle of life, strung out between their two ageless spirits like the glistening white pearls of Aunt Bessie’s necklace.
All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. ~Havelock Ellis
See other (nearly) Wordless Wednesday participants here.
That’s a photo from my wedding day, thirty years ago today. I pulled it out of an album, scanned it, and then adjusted the color, taking out the yellowed tone of the old paper with a simple click of my mouse button. I still have my wedding dress, I don’t know why, it was certainly nothing fancy. I bought it off the rack, I couldn’t see spending a lot of money for a dress I’d wear for only one afternoon. I’ve moved it many times over the years, from house to house and closet to closet. Like the photos from our wedding day, it’s yellowed and a bit faded and I don’t know how many times I’ve picked it up and began to stuff it in a bag for donation, but I could never quite bring myself to do it. My mother saved the dress she wore that day too, she loved that dress. Near the end of her life, after illness caused her to lose enough weight so she could fit into it once more, she asked me to find it just in case an occasion came up for her to wear it again.
I’ve been married for thirty years, in a matter of days I’ll become a first time grandmother, in September I’ll celebrate my fiftieth birthday. Looking down at my hands as I type this post I see my mother’s hands. The skin is beginning to get that crepey loose look to it and the truth is it surprises me to think that those hands are attached to my body. I suppose if I could I wouldn’t mind clicking my mouse button and tightening up a few things, perhaps doing away with some wrinkles here and there while I’m at it. But you know, there’s not one day from the past ten thousand days with my husband that I would change. The good days, and even the not so good days, are strung out behind us like the tail of a kite, steadying our marriage and keeping us on course. I guess that’s why I hang on to my little yellowed wedding dress, and why my mother kept her favorite dress stashed in the back of her closet for so many years. They carry the footprints of our memories, a diary of new beginnings and of slim healthy young bodies, of ten thousand more days stretched out in front of us like so many promises.
Happy Anniversary Mr. bookbabie, there’s no one else I’d rather crawl in bed with at the end of a long, tiring day…See other Wordless (and not so wordless!) Wednesday participants here.
I’m participating in a Tuesday book meme this week where you open the book you’re reading to a random page and share two lines. I just started reading the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I opened the book to page 127 and spotted these two sentences: They weren’t young anymore, this was the thing. They kept telling each other as though they couldn’t believe it. Those lines struck me as pretty funny because my husband and I often do the same thing. He’ll complain about some misbehaving aging body part (on himself, he knows better than to notice or point out mine!) and then we’ll comment on how old we’re getting. This exchange is usually followed by shrugs and one of us saying rather Zen-like, “Well, what’s the alternative?” And no, that is not me and Mr. bookbabie in the photo smooching, but hopefully it will be someday! Click on brown box below to see what others are reading at Teaser Tuesday…
Today’s word on Photo Friday is Exercise, something I should do more often. Still, the little yoga and stretching I do works wonders on keeping the aches and pains of Fibromyalgia and old(er) age from taking over. My birthday is in two weeks and this one will herald my final year in my forties. The idea of aging has never really bothered me since there’s really only one alternative! I think having lived a good part of my life dealing with health problems has given me a different perspective than some of my friends, I know first hand that how old you are in years doesn’t really matter, it’s how you feel. My mom seems to be a bit better as she settles into the nursing home for some rehab. The goal is to get her strong enough to go home. If she rallies that’s the plan, if not, we may have to begin hospice care 😦
Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. ~Albert Schweitzer