By Thursday of every week, if I don’t know what I’m going to write here on Sundays, I begin to wait on the muse. I go on lookout for the quiet ding that sounds when she throws a topic my way. If the ding doesn’t sound, I rummage through my journal for something. I had decided to put down the little lines of poetry/attempted haiku I’d written in the week, nothing polished, just play paint with words over my finding a perfectly preserved yet perfectly dead bee.
But a local newspaper story about former poet laureate W.S Merwin made me hear the ding. “When the Poet Laureate appointment came along, Merwin used it as a platform to comment on human imagination and life as a whole,” read the story, ‘which does not just include this self-important human species,’ he notes. Merwin says he feels exhilarated to be part of something infinite. His poems circle that feeling, the ongoing mystery, it continues.
‘The comets burn out and black holes disappear,’ he says. ‘There’s nothing good or bad about that. That’s the way it is. I don’t know where I come from and I don’t know where I’m going and it’s wonderful to be here.’
Reading that, I was reminded with both a pang and a ding that gratitude each day for the very fact of being alive has to be part of the triumph on this flintier, shadier part of the path I’ve entered, otherwise bitterness tastes in my mouth and shows on my face and in my eyes. Merwin exhibited an aging with grace, not an easy accomplishment.
Who do you know who is aging with grace? What’s their secret? What’s yours? What is grace?
Sometimes I wonder if I can possibly “age with grace.” and then I get a call from one of two good friends both well into their 80’s. Hope rises again. Part of each one’s secret (but it’s no secret) is that she accepts her age, embraces it. One said, after she had to sell her longtime home. “Oh good! Another door is opening!”
Good question. Can someone live a graceless life and then age with grace? or do they always have to have that grace in life from the beginning? I believe they always have it. Were born with it and die with it. Gracious people are few and far between but when you meet one, it is magic.
Aging gracefully is a lovely thought, but realistically, I am fighting succumbing to that part of maturity with every ounce…I have the wrinkles, the brown spots, and the aged hands to reveal and expose my age, but I also have a kind of spiritual angel or gremlin who is able to infuse me with an ageless look during the daytime so I permit my youthful appearance to stay for as long as it can. I was born with a baby face and as a result I have always looked young…as soon as my hair is fully white, then I will accept it. Until then, I color it. I am always caught like some kind of eternal Peter Pan never to grow up….that inner soul spirit keeps me ageless.