Friday, March 31, 2006

A Meditation on Time, Age, Bodies

I'm feeling a little reflective today. Maybe it's because tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be twelve. Yes, I was born on April Fool's Day, which has always greatly amused my moms. Moose turned 47 this past Monday, so we are both Aries. She feels a little reflective, too.

Getting older is not a bad thing. As Moose always says, the alternatives suck. It does, however, require a certain amount of pluck and sometimes a great deal of patience. We are always having to adjust--to the changes in our bodies, the losses that pile up as time marches forward, the constant changing of the world around us. We are always adding to our store of experience, and if we are lucky and open to new possibilities we are adding to the circle of those we love, even as we mourn those whose time in the bodies we know and love expires. Just this week, for example, we found out that one of our great animal friends, Maya's cat Puss, died suddenly and quite unexpectedly up in New York City, where Maya and her mom Janlori now live. That is a sad thing, and yet we look across the street to the front yard of the house that Maya and Janlori and Puss and their other cat Emma used to live in and we see that the daffodils they planted and lovingly tended for so many years are in bloom, covering the hillside with a splendid blanket of yellow, gold, and white. Every year that blanket returns, and it's a reminder that our friends are still with us, no matter where they are physically. Moose's father, a sweet man who died in 1991 at only 60, used to say whenever he left the house, even if it was just to run out to buy cigarettes, "I shall return in the spring." Moose always laughed whenever he said that, but now she understands her dad's sly joke was also a way of teaching her that love always comes back, one way or another, and that sooner or later spring always arrives, bringing with it fresh breezes and new growth.

I tinkle on the floor a lot these days. Last night I did it at 4:33 in the morning, all because Moose couldn't find her sandals in the dark and carry me downstairs before my bladder overflowed. One minute grapes are my new favorite food, and the next minute I refuse to eat them. And the next minute I won't touch the goulash Goose makes me, even though I like the sound of the word. It feels good in the mouth--the word, not the food. Everything changes, and none of us can explain or keep up with the pace of the change. But deep inside we trust that eventually loving hands will pick us up and carry us down the stairs so that we can go outside and finish peeing, then find a sponge and wipe the tinkle up off the floor. By 4:43 the house will be clean and quiet again, and Moose will lie awake, thinking of time, age, and daffodils.

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