Once upon a time, I was thirteen years old and mystified by Algebra I. I still am. Math has never been my strong suit. But I do remember reading the preface to the text book. Don't ask me why I read the preface; I don't know. But I'm glad I did because the single thing I do remember from Algebra I, I read in that preface.
The preface asked a question:
'Why does time seem to speed up as we get older?'
According to the author, there's a simple mathematical explanation: When you're four years old, one year feels like an endless wait between Christmases because one year is such a huge percentage of your life. However, with each additional year, one year becomes a smaller percentage of the life you've lived and so, pretty soon, like when you get to my age, it feels like Christmas roles around almost before you know it.
It's a simple explanation, but it's not satisfying. In fact, subjectively speaking, I think of it as a cruel joke.
It's a sad irony that as time speeds up, I want desperately to slow it down, to hit the pause button, to savor the time I have left in slow motion. To no avail however; my perception of time continues to accelerate and life gallops by at warp speed.
And then, of course, there's another question: What is time for? Algebra can't explain that one.
When I was young, I thought time was for making a splash and turning heads, for manipulating the universe so as to insure that I was the center of my own little galaxy and everything and everyone in it was firmly in my orbit.
Sort of the definition of callow youth.
Now, however, the time I have left is for one thing and one thing only: LOVE. Time to love my family, my dog, my friends, music, poetry, good books, long walks, and just sitting quietly, drinking in the beauty of the surrounding woods.
My husband was out West last week. He spent a week in Steamboat, Colorado skiing. (Bob might well say that skiing is what his time is for!) Even though my two sons were home with me, the house was gray and empty without Bob. While I was missing him one morning, I wrote this little poem.
But this poem is not just about Bob. No, it's a love letter to the entire festival of life. I am so grateful to the gods for having invited me to this party and I wish it never had to end.
Everything would be so fine
Except for time: it slips away
Lifelines etched across my palms
That once were long, now scarce remain
Truth be told, as I get old
I love you more, that's all time's for
Be Well and Good Luck
Call it Karma. Call it reaping what you sow. Call it just rewards. Doesn't matter what you call it, it still boils down to an inescapable truism in life: You get what you give!
And by the time you're fifty, what you have given is written all over your face!
You know the old saying: "BY AGE 50, WE ALL GET THE FACE WE DESERVE!"
I know some very beautiful old women whose faces radiate the goodness of the soul who dwells within. Sometimes, when I see a particularly beautiful old woman, I am reminded of the frank, innocent beauty of a little girl. It is the beauty of a face that greets the world with the serenity of no pretense.
I love to look at Grace's beautiful face. Grace is in her 80s. There is such a sweetness in her demeanor. Her silver hair is simply cut, and held with a barrette. She wears little or no make up and usually has on a pair of tennis shoes and a cotton dress when she goes to church. And what a good soul Grace is! She's a retired nurse, the widow of a doctor, mother, grandmother, and friend to many. She is and always has been a generous benefactor and proponent of dozens of charities. Grace's life has been about giving and her good works and love are written all over her beautiful face!
And then there is my friend Peggy, The Rock. Peggy, also is in her 80s. She had open heart surgery a few years back but it didn't keep her down for long. And she NEVER complained. She was up and taking care of everyone else in no time. She has a wry, quirky sense of humor, an infectious laugh and eyes that invite one's gaze to linger.
And then there's beautiful Ruth M., eighty something, still playing tennis and working as an advocate for elder citizens as well as the poor and homeless people of Knoxville. Ruth, who some years back, defied convention as well as the law, by opening her home and giving sanctuary (for several year) to a young, undocumented Guatemalan couple who had been targeted by a death squad. Ruth opened her home to them AND their two small boys. Fearless, glorious Ruth!
Yes, Grace, Peggy and Ruth are the three women I aspire not only to BE like, but to LOOK like when I'm in my 80s. May I grow into that kind beauty! But then, there are the unfortunate old faces that are permanently etched in scowls. We've all seen them. I know such a woman, also in her 80s, who frankly, bears an uncanny resemblance to a lizard….well, a dolled up lizard with dyed curly hair, long, witchy fingernails, and blood red lips.
I've had several unpleasant encounters with the Lizard Lady over the years. Until this year, I thought I was the only one that had a problem with her. But lately, I've discovered every time her name comes up, somebody else tells me another horror story about her meanness. Apparently, Lizard Lady has always been mean and petty. And believe me, she's got the face to show it…..reptilian!
S sure, there are many reasons for being kind, generous and unselfish. It's really the only decent way to live. But if decency isn't enough, perhaps vanity will be. Just remember, you WILL eventually end up with the face you deserve. Wouldn't you rather end up with lovely, crinkly laugh lines instead of a permanent, ugly scowl?
Look for more blogs and photos at www.dogwooddaughter.com
Be Well and Good Luck, Martha Maria (Dogwood Daughter)
Today is the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. I wrote and recorded my song, 'Ten Long Years in Afghanistan' yesterday. We all do what we can to make a difference. I write songs.
This one is a free mp3 download on my Reverbnation profile, link: http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/10513587 I'm also making it a free download at my website, www.dogwooddaughter.com
I can't help thinking that if we had not spent up our future fighting endless wars on credit, we in the U.S. would have plenty of money for universal health care, free education for all citizens, upkeep of our roads and infrastructure, serious green energy research....in short, our country would not be in the kind of economic straits we find ourselves in now, with no extra money for anything....except endless wars, apparently.
Someone, of course, IS getting very rich from the wars: the greedy old cowards who are always the war profiteers.
Here are the lyrics to 'Ten Long Years in Afghanistan.'
Ten Long Years In Afghanistan
Ten long years in Afghanistan Ten long years, we've fought the Taliban Ten long years, how many will it take? How much blood and treasure will we finally waste?
And I don't give a damn about the Taliban And I wouldn't give a dime to that crooked old Karzai And I don't want to hear Cheney's sorry pack of lies About the war on terror making torture justified
Ten long years, money thrown away Racking up a debt our kids will have to pay Time to shut it down, just bring the soldiers home And water board old Cheney, ask him what he knows
Cause Cheney's flabby ass is never on the line He's a weak old coward, the profiteering kind Water board old Cheney, ask him what he knows About who's getting rich, where war profits go
And I don't give a damn about the Taliban And I wouldn't give a dime to that crooked old Karzai And I don't want to hear Cheney's sorry pack of lies About the War on Terror making torture justified
copyright 2011, Martha Maria (copy freely! -MM)