Thursday, July 8, 2010

Glory Days

If there is one thing about getting older for me which is magnificent, it is the lens which it gives me through which I observe my life.

My daughter, May put it so wisely and so well when she said this:

I walk and I am so aware that one day I will not be able to walk anymore. One day, without knowing it, I will have my last slice of cake. One day I will make love for the last time. One day I will kiss a baby and then never kiss a baby again. One day I will sit down and I will never get up. I hope that day is the day I die, but death or no that day will come.

That is the perfect truth and May is wise beyond her years.

I think about this all the time now and perhaps that is what you do when mortality is, if not breathing down your neck, then at least playing a gig at the bar down the road. I am not that old. Fifty-five, soon to be fifty-six, and perhaps I will live to be a hundred or perhaps only until fifty-eight. Who knows? Not me and not you but certainly, I know I will not live forever.

That is the way of life. There is a birth, a blooming, a fading, there is death. None of us can escape it and none of us is probably quite aware of the blooming days. I have said it before and I will say it again- I had no idea of how beautiful I was, how full of life, how incredibly lucky in my strength, my health, my abilities when I was young. It was all normal, those things, and I looked at pictures of myself then and rued the fact that I was not thinner or blonder or cooler or happier or smarter or whatever and now I look at the same pictures and sigh in disbelief.

But now I do not take anything for granted. Not my own body, my own experiences, my own self or life. Every day when I wake up I have to check myself for what hurts most, what feels okay, where my spirit is at, and what I have to do and with what resources I shall have to pull together to do it. Everything must be considered and every deficit has to be overcome and every goodness must be considered and studied and gratefulness must be offered for it. This is what age has taught me.

Here I am in this place in my life. Whichever place it is in the whole relative scheme of things, it is a place where I can be slow enough to notice. To be conscious enough for awareness. And because of that, each and every part of my day is important. Even the painful parts, even the parts I would rather avoid. They are all a part of this, which is the one and only life I have, and for that I have to cherish them in some way. And perhaps, that is why I am so obsessed about writing here and chronicling them. This is my journal, this is my photo album, this is my history and my poetry and my record and my book. This is it.

Just as I know, as May said, that one day I will eat my last slice of cake, one day I will make love for the last time, one day I will walk for the last time and that I do not know when those times will be, I also have been given this new grandson with whom I can experience first times. And that, THAT, is a miracle! It was a miracle when I experienced them with my own children and it is even more of a miracle this time because it is closer to the last for me. And because as I see the world through his eyes and actions, it is as if I were experiencing the very substantive concentrate of every first time, whether of my own of my own babies'.

I feel that I am not making myself as clear as I wish I could but I suppose that underneath it all, underneath every moment of this life of mine as it is now, there is the sure and bittersweet knowledge that the moments are limited. Just as we might save the last few bites of the pie or the last few berries of the season or the last few moments of a good night's sleep all the more because they are indeed the last, we learn, in older age, to savor every bit of goodness we can. And so when I watch my grandson fall asleep on his grandfather or when I make him laugh so hard that he falls over backwards on the bed, I feel quite certain that these are the things I will remember on my death bed.
I hope so.

Part of me wants to say that no matter what age you are, you should acknowledge and cherish even the most mundane of moments but you know what? We are humans and that is not even possible. But if you can- if you possibly can- try. Because it is not the huge moments of our lives which are the sweetest. It is the unexpected, the ones which arise out of nowhere, the giggle of the baby as you change her, the way the hand of the one you love feels on your hip, the line of poetry that knocks you into another consciousness, the way a glass of water tastes when you are so very thirsty. These are the moments which make up the links of the chain of our existence. They are like prayer beads, they are like rosary beads, they are like the stars in the night sky above us. They are the steps of the journey and really, the journey is all.

As I get older, I am loathe to try to be in charge of things, perhaps because I know the futility of that, perhaps because I know that every one and every thing has such a limited time here, from the oldest trees to the banana spiders on my porch which I should probably knock down but can't bring myself to do. I went out just now to take a picture of them and I saw something I'd never seen before which was the mating of the giant female and the tiny male. He pressed his body to hers and they were still for quite a while and then she shrugged him off and he moved away but not too far. Fifty-five years old and I had never seen spiders mating but now I have and if I hadn't wanted a picture to go along with my words here, I probably never would have seen it. And that amazes me!

Owen will be coming soon and who knows what I will see through his eyes today? I don't know but there will be something I will remember forever. But even now, when he is not here, I am so very aware of the breeze on this porch, the way the wind chime is rippling in it, the sound of the crickets, the way my body feels, cooling down after a good hard walk. I am taking note, I am grateful, I am thinking of the way my husband thanked me over and over again for learning to cook venison so well after last night's dinner of deer roast and potatoes and carrots. I am thinking of the way Owen's hand looked yesterday when he fell asleep, still a baby-starfish hand, spread out on my chest.
And those things- those simplest things- they bring tears to my eyes and I know that above all, it is love that I am experiencing. The love of the crickets for their song to the day, my love of the strength of my legs even now, the pleasure that I get from pleasing my husband whom I love, the love for the tiny boy who falls asleep in my arms.

So yes, these are my glory days. Not the days when I was most beautiful or most strong or most quick in my mind. These are, right now, because I see the glory in them most clearly.
And for that, I am grateful to be aging.
For that, I am glad to be alive.
There are still so many mysteries but I am not so worried about getting to the bottom of them. I allow the fact that the wind chime loves the breeze even though the breeze has no thought of that as it blows. I accept the fact that I am far from perfect. I know for a fact that this life of mine is no different or more special than anyone's on earth and yet, it is mine and mine alone.

And yours- it yours and yours alone. But you can share it. If you want. Just as you can share mine. If you want. And we are all richer for that.
More glory for these glory days of the simplest and most holy joys.


  1. so beautiful and so true

    "baby-starfish hand" ~ i will hold that image in my heart all day ~ my heart which is so full on this warm thursday, thanks to you, ms. moon, thanks to you

  2. I am a couple of years older than you and have been struggling with thoughts of my own mortality for several years now and you have put into words exactly what I have been feeling. Thank you so much for this post. I am going to print it now and keep it with me as a reminder of all the things I need to be reminded of. Thank you!

  3. this might be my favorite post yet. and that's saying something because i love them all.

    your words are amazing and make me think. they make me slow down and notice the little things i so often miss. they make me smile. and they make me cry.

    thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us. we love you for it.

  4. Gorgeous, you and your words.
    Thank you.

    Today is a great day.

  5. A good morning to you Ms. Moon..and what a fine start for your day to write a most poignant post that filled me up like I had drunk from the waters of life. Could you not have said what those of us in our 50's feel and honor of our past, our present and the wonderment of our future days on earth? If we who cherish these days more it is simply because now we see them slip by so quickly...we could not have seen that in our younger years! Does it mean we less thought of things in our 20's or 30's? is just now that we are at the point in life where we look at the age beyond us and truly wonder what they feel and see in their lives, their eyes, what do they feel with their hands now and in their hearts? No...we feel the deep down ache of the past having betrayed us with its passage and how we would want to taste it every once in feel it like it was the first time...we just do that...not because we don't like where we are in our time but because we love our lives...our loves...our ability to hear, to touch, to taste, to be...

    Ms. Moon...bless you for this post..I think when I open my "dashboard" each day and look for you, whether I comment or not, I hear your words and am ever so glad you are in my life...

  6. What is there to say but, Thank-you for your words. And your perspective. And May is truly a treasure!
    Love to you!

  7. That tiny little spider mated with that great big spider. How does that work?

  8. Catching up here, so Thanks, not only for this thoughtful post on first's and last's, such a wonderful musing on the subject and a great prompt from dear May, but also for the O-boy picture fest (walking!!) and the beauty of the caterpillar and the moth.

    So nice to have you here at breakfast this morning, Ms Moon! Kisses...N2

  9. I have always said that when it comes to a female being larger than the male, it is all the same when horizontal.
    I enjoyed your beautiful post today.

  10. Thank you for bringing such joy to me today with this glorious piece. XOxo

  11. I thank you too, Mary.

    I still have my baby starfish hands! They never grew up...

  12. You are a blessing in my life and the lives of many, Mary, and I love you.

    I believe this was a very important sermon from The Church of the Batshit Crazy.

  13. I'm in tears.
    of course.

    as I was yesterday when I read your comment to me.
    I can't than you enough for knowing.

    love to you

  14. Beautifully written.

    Here's to moments.


  15. lulumarie- I love sharing with you. My heart to yours.

    Lois- Oh. Sweet friend. That makes my heart so happy.

    notjustafemme- And I thank you.

    Lisa- In its way. Yes.

    Ellen- And I feel the same about you. Thank-you.

    Justme,still- It is always so nice to see your name, Michelle. May IS a treasure. Thank-you.

    Rebecca- Quite cleverly. And when you think about it- Mr. Moon, who is a foot and a half taller than I, and I have had one or two successful matings ourselves!

    N2- Do you know how happy it makes me to hear things like that? I hope so.

    Michele R- And vice versa!

    Nancy C- I am so glad you liked it.

    Jo- But what marvelous things those hands can do!

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- I should have been a preacher. Too bad I'm not a believer in, oh, god. Love you, dear.

    deb- That was a gorgeous poem you gave us yesterday. Thank-you for that.

    Ms. Fleur- Yes. Here's to moments!

  16. This is a stunning piece of writing. I am constantly trying to make my brain remember and cherish. Remember the weight of this baby in my arms as I'm rocking. Remember the smell of his hair. To cherish every little bit of every little day. Don't let the sound of her chattering voice disappear from my mind. In reading this, I am hopeful that I will be more successful at these things when I am older, less worried about how it's all going to turn out and just content with the fact that it's turning, right in this moment. Thanks for making me think.

  17. A beautiful post. I wish that I could remember all the things from youth--those precious moments. Some of them I do. Today I see things intensely and hope that they will be remembered when I am truly old. I would like to think that those memories will still be with me.

  18. Oh Mama. Oh I am just overcome by you. Your words, your truth, your you. I just love you so much. Thank you for these beautiful words.

  19. Oh Wow. There are so many lines in this post I want to copy out and say over and over. This IS a sermon. It's poetry. It needs to be read aloud and shared. I love the part about experiencing the "substantive concentrate of every first time..." Right after that you said you didn't feel like you were explaining right. But that is exactly right. I can feel that from you in the way you talk of your time with Owen. It's magical and charged. And a lot of that is because you have been such an adoring mother to your children. You are somehow feeling it all again, but slower, differently with less stress probably, with new eyes.

    I am having a difficult time in general.
    I have no babies, no siblings with babies or close friends with little ones. I have not babysat for a long time. But I took care of lots of kids from my teens into my 20s. I don't think too much about this. But yesterday at work a family came up to the circ desk and the mommy always gets excited about seeing me and says to the kids, "Look it's Ms Bethany" so one of the boys gets especially engaged with me. He is bringing me some little wind up eggs that were on the ledge. I'm winding them and showing him how they work and he puts his little (starfish!) hand on my leg and leans in to me and I found myself patting his little back for a minute and I felt so protective of him and bonded. That feeling stayed with me the entire day. There was something in that moment that changed me, held me, helped me along. So I can't even imagine having that kind of genetic and familiar connection to a child. I think it would blow me out of the water.

    This post is magnificent. I'm so glad you took the time to write it out. Thank you.

  20. Your words touch my heart and I too try to remember each moment in the bussle of life and emotions. Thank you for reminding me to listen experience feel. I read your post each day and feel joy.

  21. Thank you for this, and what a great post from May, too. I need to remember to look at her blog more often.

    I have one of these spiders on my porch as well. Hank will tell you that I have kind of agonized about whether or not to take down the web, and I haven't yet. "My" spider has an actual harem out on my patio - she has four little tiny boyfriends hanging out with her now, and there seem to be more taking up residence every day.

  22. Lora- You are too fully in the blooming stage to be able to take in everything. I promise you that it's okay. Your mind is storing all of it somewhere. I promise.

    Syd- Yes. I hope my memories persist.

    May- Thank-you for reminding me. I love you.

    Bethany- We are programed to love the babies. Mine or yours or anyone's. Same-same. And what a beautiful piece of evolution!

    Anonymous- Thank-you for reading. Thank-you for stopping and saying those sweet words.

    Anna- REALLY? I've never seen more than one male tolerated by a female. You may be making spider history! Aren't they fascinating?

  23. What more could I add?

    Love to you from me could never be enough --

  24. I don't like the way savouring every moment always has to go with an awareness of death for me. I'd like to separate the two, the joy and the sadness.

    And the joy in other kids - yesterday I saw the cutest little thing waving at four people on two mopeds, standing at the lights. They just stared at her, not one waved back. I found it shocking.

  25. i am right beside you in this opulent willingness to breathe in each sacred moment.
    thank you mrs. moon, your wisdom on cherishing...
    folding each moment firmly into willing hearts

    cannot be shared often enough.

    these glory days,


  26. Michelle- More words from the Church of the Chicken Shit Crazy.

    Elizabeth- You fill my heart.

    rebecca- I am SO not courageous. I don't even like to THINK about courage. But I do the best I can and thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

  27. What a beautiful tapestry of a post. I love how it slowed me down.

  28. Yes. And isn't it amazing? And beautiful, and true? Here we are, hopefully living life fully, basking in the glory of it all.
    You know, I will bookmark this post, don't you? It speaks to my heart. Your May is one profound young lady. So deep and so wise.

  29. Every word was a prayer, a line of poetry, and music to my ears.

    Thank you for this.

    It matters.

  30. Hi: I just found your blog and what an entrance you have made!
    Your words and thoughts are brilliant.......I am struck dumb.

    By the way, I am 83 and your words resonate even more loudly and truly to me than to your other fans......I am so busy being grateful I hardly have time to blog.

    Good luck and God bless.

  31. Hi: I just found your blog and what an entrance you have made!
    Your words and thoughts are brilliant.......I am struck dumb.

    By the way, I am 83 and your words resonate even more loudly and truly to me than to your other fans......I am so busy being grateful I hardly have time to blog.

    Good luck and God bless.

  32. swallowtail- Not unlike age has slowed me down!

    Angie- Really? I know you appreciate it all. I know you do. And yes, May is a very wise woman.

    Lo- Welcome! I have looked at your profile and can't wait to see what you have written! I hope you come back to visit.

  33. So, Smacksy (beautiful wonderful Lisa) sent her readers this way, and I'm so glad I did...

    I'm sitting here reading in tears, thinking that you just summed up all I wanted to say, but couldn't.

    Thank you, and I look forward to reading your blog more!

  34. Casablanca- Hey Southern Neighbor! Welcome to this part of the 'hood.


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