b ~ I grow old … I grow old… I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Picture 204 (Small)

I have been sick for almost two weeks, and it’s getting a bit old. The
constant cough, the endless cups of tea, naps that overtake me out of
nowhere—I could leave them all behind. Life these past few days has
been spent as if in a haze. My blankets and pillows have lost their
ability to comfort; now they constrict and constrain. It’s like I’ve
been looking at the world through cough-colored glasses…

But then yesterday there was something, a glimmer, the teensiest
sliver of a breakthrough: my soup mug needed to be photographed. I
looked around for my camera and I wondered if maybe there was some
hope left.

It sounds silly and trite to write, even stranger to think that some
stranger would want to read about my being ill. But the truth is, when
you are sick you have to stop what you are doing, step out of your
life and attend to yourself. Being sick also gives you time to
ruminate on present, past and future. I have found that when I lose
the ability to do a simple task, when my body won’t perform what I
ask, my brain automatically jumps ahead to what life will be like when
I am elderly and this state-of-being is a constant, not a passing
phase. I want to say that I will age gracefully, that my hair will
fade to a pleasant peach-colored hue and I will write and write and
write. Stories, memories, ideas that have been percolating for
decades; I would like to fill up journal after journal and see what
can come of it. I hope that I can read anything my heart desires for
as long as I like; and should my eyesight fail, I plan on listening to
every audiobook I can find.

There are other advantages to being of a certain age, like letting
worry go, letting wisdom and experience takes their rightful place.
I’d like to stop fretting about this and that and be taken up with
whatever is in front of me. Wrinkles mean I have earned the right to
stop comparing my appearance to a supermodel’s and wishing for a
different set of circumstances. Perhaps I can be comforted with what I
have achieved and leave the business of pursuing outrageous goals to
some other whippersnapper.

Please let it be so…

That doesn’t sound like me, but you never know. It’s possible that I
will learn to slow down and take my time instead of hurrying from one
task to the next. Right now I am trying to find the silver lining in
the Land of Being Sick. I tell myself that resting and being fallow
has its advantages. But “fallow” reminds me of “sallow” and from there
it’s a quick leap to “slacker”—a word that rankles. Being quiet
shouldn’t unsettle me but it does and so I am trying to shift my
perspective. I am trying to look past what these weeks have cost me,
like not having enough energy to devote to this post. (Which happen to
be my favorite two lines out of the whole set of verses.) As well as
missing out on several opportunities to photograph the foliage. From
my windows I could see that there were days when the colors were
resplendent. The reds, oranges and golds are so fleeting and I feel
that Fall has passed me by. Yet when I went for a little photowalk
yesterday, I started experimenting with converting my captured images
to black and white. When I did, I began noticing textures; it felt
like I was getting back to basics. There was a beauty there that
transcended color, as if it were more vibrant–stronger– without, if
such a thing were possible. I trust that when I am old, stripped down
to the bare essentials, I will have learned what matters most.

I have this black and white picture of Georgia O’Keeffe that I
photocopied so I can glance at it when I need a little inspiration.
She is of a certain age and looks to me more beautiful than one could
possibly be—at any age. I guess I hope that by having these visual
guides they will help make my journey a little less fraught with
despair. Maybe having these mentors will allow me a glimpse of “what
could be” as my body and mind continue to mature. But today, here in
the present, my hero will have to be the Donald Duck that graces my
cup. I smile every time I pull it down out of the kitchen cupboard. If
I’m going to have laugh lines someday, then I should do my best to
earn them.

About andi

Writer, editor, wrangler of small boys and dogs.

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