December 29, 2013 § 9 Comments
Although a new year is artificial, the thread of life continuous, I like the moments when it seems as if life resets and I get to choose again—not how life will treat me, but how I will treat life.
As I consider the opportunity that is 2014, a voice comes back to me from a play I was in at Princeton High, a voice from Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology.”
In the play, the dead, all of whom are sleeping, sleeping on the hill, have their say. One after another they explain how life, or as one calls it, “the crooked game of life” has treated them.
Sitting on a stool hugging my guitar—I was the singer who provided musical interludes between their monologues–I listened as the dead recalled slights and missed opportunities, and their disappointment over what might have been but never came to fruition. They explained their hard luck, they named those who had shortchanged them.
Most, it seemed, were suspended in an eternity of yearning. If only, if only.
December 22, 2013 § 6 Comments
It began with a short stretch of melody, and a memory of my father:
The old man cried, because he dreamed of her, and she dreams of him, on the other shore.
Missing my mother, who he outlived by more than eleven years, was a daily burden my dad picked up and carried.
Together they had perfected a dance that required both to have any grace.
Although he went on, the collaboration that had been his life was over.
We are defined by the things we create together. In the case of a long marriage we create a life.
Like my parents, my husband and I have collaborated to build something unique and enduring, flexible and accomodating—and joyous.
Joy is one of the characteristics of collaboration, which is lucky since we humans are born collaborators.
December 8, 2013 § 3 Comments
But having posted, my mind often continues to work on the idea—my ideas don’t reach maturity just because I’ve turned in my self-imposed homework assignment.
The benefits of aging were last week’s topic. It struck me as I walked the neighborhood that I was treating the older and wiser self as the destination the species sets out for by getting born.
But each age has its function, each, in its time, is exactly what it should be—not a becoming, but an is.
So, what are the strengths and advantages of being young?
December 1, 2013 § 6 Comments
Not knees. Not hands. Not eyes–and forget skin.
Sadly, nothing connected to the mortal envelope of the body improves past about age twenty.
But what’s inside can, and usually does.
The stereotype of the old guy shaking a fist at the kids running across his lawn started for a reason but for most, the years add up to something more than frustrated indignation.
The sum total of a life is often wisdom.
The self that obscured the view of anything else when we were young has become smaller—we now see past it. That burdensome self is lighter too. We travel less encumbered.
As we age we wake up from the fever dream of acquisition, take a look around and say, where the heck did all this stuff come from? We realize that what we own owns us–and begin to give things away.