Birthday Blues

Generating its own heat, skunk cabbage remains reliably in sync with my calendar expectations.

Septuagenarian birthdays are naturally contradictory.  As I enter 72, I am extremely grateful for all that I have, my health, my stability, my family, my history, an infinite list of blessings on the scroll of life.  Yet each year, sometimes subtly, sometimes with loud gongs, I am less than I was.  I have never been one to pretend, and today I am much less energetic and focused than even a short decade ago.

People tell me not to worry about it.  After all, most of our political leaders, many of our industrial leaders, a lot of our cultural leaders are my age.  Aren’t they doing just fine.  Well, no, actually.  A culture headed by geriatrics frightens me. 

Tiny bits of green grace this hidden woodland, otherwise a wintry view.

I am in most ways more free than I have ever been.  My responsibilities have grown up and moved into their own lives, my only ambitions for our house is that it not fall down on us for a decade or so.  I spend time sitting, and talking, and puttering around, and am very happy.

But I am going nowhere.  I am as free as a tree rather than as a bird.  Nothing wrong with contemplation and remembrance and gratitude, I tell myself.  Even if I am doing those things more because I tire easily and ache afterwards than for any noble reason. 

Pussy willows have moved right along their inexorable path, unnoticed by rushing traffic.

Well, the adage goes, consider the alternatives.  Oh, I do.  Because they loom over the next day, or next month, or next season, or next birthday.  It is hard to escape wondering if each twinge or momentary pang is not a signifier of something worse.  Over 70, I think a lot of people become natural hypochondriacs, often with reason.

Spring cures a lot.  At least for a while everything is full of energy and beauty and it is easy to feel rejuvenated with the rest of nature.  Having a birthday near the beginning of April is nice.  All I need to learn is to simply accept cycles and changes as do the daffodils and crocuses and arriving robins, and frolicking squirrels.  Just another bit of life on a magnificent planet. 

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