Ripening with age

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Another glorious fall; watching the golden leaves twist in the sun, then drop in the rain, my thoughts range over the arc of my nearly 70 years on this planet. Scenes from various jobs flit through my mind: labelling socks in a musty factory; clerking in a tiny bookstore; writing newsletters; conducting organizational reviews; coaching individuals and guiding them with poems. I recall the numerous courses, workshops and retreats that sparked my mind with ideas and weighted my bookshelves with sturdy binders, sometimes re-opened, often not.

My eyes soften as I remember relationships: heady teenage love; the awkward strain of my first marriage; the welcome bloom of my second; the ebb and flow of connections with family and friends. Some have endured, others have faded. All have taught me something about myself.

I delve into the cedar chest of my growth as a human being. Alongside the old yellowed linens of habit and narrow-mindedness are newer pieces of cloth, figured with threads of self-awareness and self-acceptance. There’s a length of unfinished material, reminding me that weaving a full human life is a life-long process. Every square of fabric – old, newer and unfinished – contains bright and dark panels. I would not wish it otherwise. My hands stroke each piece of cloth with fondness, and my heart floods with gratitude. How lucky I am to live this life, to ripen with age.

Here’s one of my favourite poems on aging. I take heart that ‘stumbling/ always leads home.’

You and Art

Your exact errors make a music
that nobody hears.
Your straying feet find the great dance,
walking alone.
And you live on a world where stumbling
always leads home.

Year after year fits over your face —
where there was youth, your talent
was youth;
later, you find your way by touch
where moss redeems the stone.

And you discover where music begins
before it makes any sound,
far in the mountains where canyons go
still as the always-falling, ever-new flakes of snow.

~ William Stafford

Image courtesy Anrita 1705 from Pixabay
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Comments

  1. Pat van Schaik

    October 1, 2020

    Oh Mary Lou, what a beautiful piece of art this is! I so love these lines: “I delve into the cedar chest of my growth as a human being. Alongside the old yellowed linens of habit and narrow-mindedness are newer pieces of cloth, figured with threads of self-awareness and self-acceptance.” What a beautiful expression of the aging process. This will stay with me for a long, long time. Thank YOU! xoxoxo

  2. Janice

    October 1, 2020

    What a lovely and tender reflection of your lived life Mary Lou and the cloth imagery ‘reminding me that weaving a full human life is a life-long process’ is marvelous! I too am heartened by the thought that stumbling will eventually lead me home. with love, Jan

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