When I am an old woman I will sit by a window with a black shawl around my shoulders. I will tangle the knotted fringe of the shawl among my craggy fingers and look out at the snowy world.
I will be a quiet old woman. I will not be a Maggie Smith or a Shirley MacLaine. I will be content to mostly listen. But I will probably take notes on the conversations floating around me – so, be warned. I will choose a shawl over a sweater because of the freedom it allows my arms to reach for the cup of coffee balanced on the round table beside me. Most likely I will be served decaf by then. Just as well. There will be no late night requirements, no children to guide to the bathroom in the small hours, no sickness to witness, no early morning meetings, no tensing in the night at the thought of failure, ridicule, mortification.
Of course, the fear of death might keep me awake sometimes. But when I am old, there will be naps.
And time to read. I will sit by the snowy window with my shawl around my shoulders and a book in my hands. I will glance up occasionally from the page to measure the amount of snow on the ground with a discerning old eye and feel a momentarily loss for horses who need water and food, chickens who need to be checked, dogs who need to reassure themselves the world down the road still exists as they remember it. But then I will pull my shawl closer to my face and drag the fringe across my cheek in a gentle, comforting way and go back to my book. I will be an old woman by a snowy window draped in a shawl, maybe the same shawl I’ll be buried in when the time comes. It would be nice to be buried in a shawl. When our babies were babies we wrapped their larvae forms in shawls and there’s a symmetry there I wouldn’t want to let pass by. I suppose, though, it won’t be up to me.
Until then I’ll be quiet until there’s something to say, something to read aloud to people around me charged with my care and upkeep. I’ll bore them with poems. They’ll smile kindly at my daft mental wonderings. And bring me another cup of coffee with plenty of cream. “There, there,” they’ll say as they replace the shawl that slipped from my shoulders. “All is well, old dear. All is well.”