Sunday, March 25, 2018
Early Spring in 2011. Beets and Leeks
Shadows Two March 26, 2018
Erik Erikson said Ghandi found his
true identity when he was fifty. I
was seventy, still healthy, writing
and publishing books, teaching writers,
a small farmer with a flock of White
Rock hens, and a leader in my
community. At eighty, I take that
diversity of tasks for granted. I don’t
debate. It is a balancing act, and
my balance ability is distressed
by my age. Still, I rake and dig.
I hold onto tree branches and my
chain-link fence. I’ve said I’m
both Penelope and Odysseus. I
did have my once-in-a-lifetime
love–across the ocean, despite
the language barrier, and our
different lifestyles. We fought,
but we held on. He became one
of Homer’s shades, reduced to
shadows in the Underworld, but
still alive, still speaking and
foretelling the planet’s future if
we don’t attend to the signs. I’ll
be a shade, too, before too many
years have passed. Some of that
is beyond my control, and some
is up to me. The doctors urged
a cane four years ago, but I said
no. “I can’t farm with a cane.”
They said medicine, but I was
wary of the side-effects, the
medicine worse than the complaint.
My body heals while I sleep. It
puts me to sleep a lot. But my
aches and pains go away. I tell
them I have good telemeres.
They listen. The symptoms which
puzzled them have disappeared.
Eighty isn’t so bad if you accept
that your pace will be slower;
you’ll do less work in a day and
choose your tasks carefully,
get as much exercise as possible,
and let people help you. My helpers
appear out of the blue. I don’t ask
why. They don’t tell me why. They
simply go to work. I give them bread.
A piece of Judy’s bread toasted
with marmalade makes them happy.
No, I’m not a shade yet, and life
still pulls surprises out of my
lucky grab bag. I can’t complain.