I went walking with some ghosts last week. It was a sweettart crisp apple of a day, clinging green and vibrant blue. I decided to take a walk in the national park here, on a trail that I have traversed regularly since my first summer here, 21 years ago. This time it was teeming with specters of my younger self. Running with my first dog, skiing with my second. Pushing Jacob in a stroller, carrying Claire in a backpack. Normally remembering these sorts of things makes me happy, but for some reason this day it made me sad.
I know that I am not that old. I know that I am still youthful and energetic. But I cannot help but feel aged, and I find that I am not moving forward as gracefully as I thought I would. In fact, sometimes it feels like I'm being dragged kicking and screaming. What exactly is it that I am clinging to? I am not actually a different person, though sometimes it feels like I am. Am I longing for the youthful limbs or the naivete? Do I want the younger physical being that I no longer have, or a time machine so that I can actually be one of those younger selves again? Why do I find it so hard to grow older? Why now, when I have all too clear a vision of the alternative?
Take my hair. Oops, too late, already gone. Actually, it's finally coming back, and as I expected, it is more gray than not. And I am somewhat ashamed of how hard it is for me to accept it. I have plenty of friends with gray hair, and I think they all look gorgeous. I know very well that my worth as a human being has absolutely nothing to do with the color of my hair. So why do I long to cover it up again? I'm not convinced that doing so will make me look any younger, and even if it did, what do I gain?
I've got a lot more questions than answers lately. When I haven't been mired in them, I have been making some things. Knitting a blanket, tying the baby quilt, and I made a collection of my Posers to send off to MiCA. Here are a couple of them.
I hope that you have been able to find at least one of those perfect apples that you can only get in the fall. I've had quite a few, and feel very lucky indeed.