I Heart Indies

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mortality and Knock-Out Roses

Nora Ephron died recently and NPR played clips from an interview with her.  She talked about aging and how when you're young you secretly imagine that somehow you will be the one person who won't need glasses, who won't turn gray, who won't grow old.  Then when you discover that you too are riding on Mother Nature's conveyor belt, you smack your head and wonder how you could have had so little imagination - that you never imagined yourself as old.
Right now I'm 53.  Not old, but on the cusp of old.  I can see old from where I stand.
My hair, what remains of it, is turning gray.  My body, once my obedient servant, is now revolting in a number of ways big and small.  (I know revolting has a double meaning; I intend it both ways.)  It dawns upon me - and dawn is such a strange choice of word here - that I really will - this is incredible! - share the fate of all mankind - of Plato and Plutarch, of Aristophanes and Nora Ephron.  I will die.  And once I'm dead, I'll be dead forever.

When this understanding breaks upon you, you have two choices.  You can either sink into yourself in fear and trembling, withdraw from the world, like a man made of glass in a planet of falling bricks - or realize the almost unendurable sweetness and beauty of life and almost pity the young who still imagine their time is infinite and so can be squandered.
Here's some pictures from our garden.  I have, I reckon, maybe twenty summers left.  Oh my lord, the world is so lovely.

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