Friday, April 23, 2010
Approaching My 69th Year
I will be 69 on Monday and the passing of another year makes me reflect on my own life and on aging in general. Today I enjoyed visiting with an 80 year old woman who just got her Master's degree in psychology. Two days ago I visited with a 90-year old man whose career included Hollywood movies, New York theater and college teaching. Both of them are very alive, curious, engaged people. This is a good thing for them, and for all of us who have the opportunity to meet them. It certainly gives me a good feeling.
I've been thinking about older people. Where they live, what they do, and how they think. I have a dear friend who is a Tibetan Buddhist nun. She lives out in the mountain valley near the Tashi Choling temple. She's close to my age. She has 7 peacocks. Some are white, some maroon, and some the iridescent kind we are used to seeing. She has two big beautiful white dogs and one tiny dog she calls Tigle which means Drop in Tibetan. She lives in a very secluded place. Another woman I know who's 78 lives down the road from my friend. It's not always easy to live out in the country when you get older, but it is a beautiful way to live. I always thought I'd be living out there in that mountain valley near those two, but here I am in a townhouse in town. Surprise! Not that living in this elegant artsy town is such a terrible thing. It's quite fine, actually. Perhaps someday I'll live in the country again, or I may live in a bamboo hut in Thailand. Life's possibilities are all rather open.
My friend the nun took me and my wheelchair to the Ashland Food Co-op. We had lunch together and I did some shopping. Today for me the colors of all the fruits and vegetables, the profusion of all the beautiful kinds of food and the array of people of all ages, their clothing, faces, gestures, voices, all of it was like a delicious glass of just squeezed orange juice. Bright, full of sweetness and harmonics. Is my appreciation because I have been in the house so much as I heal my fractured bones? I don't know. Sometimes it seems to me that age itself sharpens one's attention and vision, and sometimes brings an intensified appreciation.
I've invited a group of friends over on Sunday to take part in an informal reading of my musical play. That should be fun and for me as a writer, useful, too. Hearing how the play sounds as a whole. This is part of going to the next stage, or getting onto the stage with a first production of the play.
Meanwhile it's spring and lilacs are blooming everywhere. I am longing for a bouquet of them. Spring fever? Could be because I lapse into my escape fantasies regularly, imagining the beautiful garden of Gabriel and Kitzia in La Ribera, Baja. Or I find myself dreaming of going to India, Thailand or Belize. I think it was my escapist fantasies that led me to interview Iris Lambert who used to live in Ashland, but now lives in the Virgin Islands and teaches yoga in various appealing tropical places. How does she do it? What's it like? I was thinking to myself. So I talked with her about it.
Watch for my blog about Iris and her free spirit tropical lifestyle. I will post it soon.
It's National Poetry Month. "A poem is a piercing look into the very heart of things."--Ferlinghetti
Photo by Chi King: Stairs leading to the "Ocean of Bamboo" in the Yellow Mountains, Huangshan, China