on aging: the rest is gravy

January 11, 2009 Candace Morris 1 Comments

One of the most important children in my life turned 5 yrs old this past week, and it has got me to thinking about age. I wandered through some pictures of her then and now and I marveled at what was and what is and all the in between.
One of the best things about being sick (despite the awful, seizing stomach cramps and a bath that wont cover your whole body in hot water, namely the aforementioned stomach) is the talks I have with my husband as he wanders in and out of room in his care of me. Just a bit ago, on this lazy and somewhat empty Sunday, I lay across from joel as he stroked my hair and diatribed about the biological history of botulism (aka, botox) and i zoned on what he was saying and saw the eyes of an elderly man looking back at me.

One day I will come home to this old man sitting in a chair and wonder when our bodies wrinkled because I was there every minute of our aging and I never saw it...and I will marvel at what was and what now is and all the in between.

me and my mom: 1978

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me and my gma: 2003

It's all got me to thinking about age.

I want to suck all the meaning out of life possible. This intensity and passion has been both poison and and antidote; but I have been more aware of it lately as I get to know myself in this time. It causes me to look at each meaningful moment and commit it to memory; therefore, it seems that every moment I love ends up with the haze of nostalgia, of something past, and as soon as I love the moment, it is history. It is past. It is aged.

I have been on a quest for some time now, the goal of which has been to reconcile the small child of myself who exists minutely inside of this oak-of-a-wise adult who has managed to make everything about being mature, wise, and aged - even if it was not. I have been both miserable and elated on this journey, but with one part I am especially intrigued today. In the attempt to reconcile my child, I thought I would feel much younger. I thought I would be like my mother who at the age of 45 said that she still felt 18. But the case for me is that the more I pursue a holistic Candace who encompasses both innocence and sagacity, the older I feel. But it's not an older like what I always thought - it's a lovelier. It's the becoming of one person who has never lived before me and will never live again.

And while that sounds hugely self-possesed to me, I think I am beginning to see the outward signs of aging as naturally as the unobtrusive seattle drizzle that escapes your notice entirely until you enter your home and your coat is damp.

"The terms are clear: if you want to live, you have to die; you cannot have mountains and creeks without space, and space is a beauty married to a blind man. The blind man is Freedom, or Time, and he does not go anywhere without his great dog Death. The world came into being with the signing of a contract. A scientist calls it the Second Law of Thermodynamics. A poet says, 'The force that through the green fuse drives the flower/Drives my green age.' This is what we know. The rest is gravy" (181). - Annie Dillard: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

~and all the rest...

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