Monday, they tell us, winter will arrive with sleet and freezing rain and some sprinkling of snow. That's what the National Weather Service says. And it may be so. The first snow of winter on December 8. Not bad, all things considered in New England.
Winter is also coming to me, I believe. Last night I had a great idea for a post that would have brought pondering to all who read it. It was such a good idea that I knew it would keep for a day and I could write it tonight since I really wanted to go to bed last night when the idea came.
All day I've tried to remember the wondrous thing I wanted to write about last night. To no avail....
An idea so wondrous and profound that I thought I'd never forget it is gone, gone, gone.....
Besides that, my ankles have ached for two days because when I go to the Y to walk on the treadmill, I always read a book. And on Thursday I was finishing Scott Turow's new novel called Identical. It was so good that I walked for about an hour and 15 minutes when my usual walk is 40 minutes or two miles, whichever comes first. I walked almost 4 miles without moving an inch and my ankles ached for two days.
A decade ago I could have done that and my ankles would have only ached and made me walk funny for a single day. Before that, they wouldn't have ached at all.
"I grow old, I grow old, should I wear my trousers rolled or eat a peach?" I've become Prufrock, wondering how to 'be' at an age I never imagined reaching.
(And, when I was 40 or even 50, I wouldn't have forgotten completely that great idea for a post. I could have brought it back, detail by detail. But now, at 66, it is gone and I know it is gone forever.)
I don't mind getting older--it's a lot better than the only other option. And I forgive my memory since I still have enough memory to forgive such things. But, this I know and know fair well...Winter is coming.....
It gives me real empathy for those older than me. I used to get annoyed with old folks for moving so slow and forgetting things and dropping into the cracks in their brains.
I don't any more. I see it coming the way the National Weather Service sees winter coming day after tomorrow.
It's not frightening, just sobering. Perhaps it is a good thing to notice that things you could do 20 years ago aren't possible now.
Growing old is like closing doors that you know you'll never need to enter. I'll never deep-sea dive or sky dive or take up archery. I'll never drive a racing car or learn to do brain surgery. I'll never milk a yak or clime Everest. But most of the doors still open to me--loving my family and my friends, being a good priest, eating well, enjoying wine, walking a treadmill for less than an hour at a time, cooking, reading good novels, writing on this blog, pondering life--those things I still do and since they are part of a finite number of doors still open, I enjoy them more than I ever have.
Growing old is not for the faint of heart. But every day is more precious to me since I got this old. More precious and more rare. Every day....What a gift aging is, in the end....
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