Tag Archives: Aging

Fallen Memories

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The monsoon rains come like a blessing, relieving the hot humidity, building the lushness of the rice terraces. Green everywhere. Energetic monkeys in the sacred monkey forest grab my postcards from my hands, leave teethmarks that will delight your children more than anything  I might say in the postcards I send as recompense for the father I have taken off with me to another part of the world.

We grow into these long hot humid afternoons that are washed away for a mere hour or so by the seasonal rains. Shedding clothes like years, we live naked underneath sarongs wrapped tightly for security. You sit on the porch, your soon-to-be-old man’s furry pot belly proudly obscuring the tightly wound tuck of your sarong. Over twenty years later, it is that sarong made into a jalaba that I now wear almost daily,  hiding my soon-to-be-old lady’s pot as well. 

How I cope with growing old without you is to sift through these memories like playing cards or photos fallen from old albums that have lost their ability to secure. As gullible as upon our first meeting, I wipe away your inadequacies as I’m sure you would have forgotten mine if you had been the one left sorting the fallen memories in the bottom of the album box.

Monsoons, I have been told, blow both moist and dry, as we did over those fifteen years. But we endured and built each other, coping as all of those in marriages judged successful by their lasting power do. Today you are the photo fallen from the album to the floor.  Quickly, as you fell from my life, I tuck you back securely into your correct place, placing on top new albums with new memories built on the foundation of you and all those memories a life, in the end, is made of.  You slip into that middle place old loved ones eventually  are relegated to. Our way to cope. Our way to live life instead of merely remembering it. Because that is what life is. We keep trying. We keep on.

 

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The grab bag of prompts today were cope, monsoon, gullible and energetic. Here are the links in case you’d like to play along:

https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/06/06/welcome-to-daily-addictions/ (Cope)

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/rdp-62-monsoon/

https://fivedotoh.com/2018/08/01/fowc-with-fandango-gullible/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/energetic/

Blown

 

Blown

It whistles a soft melody, this whisper of the wind.
Sings a mysterious lullaby, seemingly without end.
We do not know its language, but know it well by Braille.
It makes a tangle of our hair and swells our vessel’s sail.
It blows into a tempest that hurls us off our course.
Where it once took us willingly, it takes us now by force.
It is that infinite mystery whose answer is unknown
until someday, perhaps, when we arrive at where we’re blown.

The prompts for today are: unknown whisper infinite  lullaby
https://fivedotoh.com/2018/07/29/fowc-with-fandango-unknown/
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/rdp59-whisper/
https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/daily-addictions-2018-week-30/(infinite)
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/lullaby/

 

The Harvest

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The Harvest

Most of my lifetime, I’ve gone for the “zing,”
Excitement and novelty were my main thing.
I wrung out of life all the juice I could wring–—
all the diversions existence could bring,
constantly reaching out for the gold ring.

Life without change seemed pointless and dull.
I wanted my life without any lull,
so I greedily sucked all the fruit from its hull,
finding on my own what I needed to cull—
which things I should keep and which to annul.

As I fell to the ground after soaring the skies,
I sorted successes from my mere tries.
I learned from my tendencies to aggrandize,
gave up on false dreams to follow the wise,
and sometimes I managed to capture the prize.

Only now as my life has finally unwound
have I gained some perspective and finally found
that all those wild oats I have sown may be ground
to release all the lessons so carefully bound.
What is seeded in ounces may yield by the pound.

 

The three prompts today are “zing, pointless and wise.” . Here are their links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/rdp-53-zing/
https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/pointless-july-24-2018/
https://fivedotoh.com/2018/07/24/fowc-with-fandango-wise/

In Quick Time


The more I slow down, the more rapidly the days seem to slip by. This oxymoron dominates my thoughts in those wee hours when I am trying valiantly to sleep. The awareness of how quickly my life is advancing into its third trimester plugs up my throat until I find it hard to breathe. I fumble for the door key, open the sliding glass doors and slip out onto the patio to gulp the cool night air.

The dogs circle round, Morrie drops hopefully in front of me, a ubiquitous green tennis ball in his jaws. There must be one of those balls hidden behind every plant in my garden.  Just four months ago, I had bought five tubes of them at the sports goods store—each containing three balls. I was about to set out on my yearly  two-month trip to the ocean. I wanted the house sitters to be well-supplied in everything, and the balls were on sale, so I had purchased what I thought would be a lifetime supply. But those balls seem to have vanished as quickly as the two months since my return home had. Two days ago, I had purchased two more tubes of balls. They sit unopened in the doggie supply vault that stores the large bin of dry dog food, a small fridge that holds the wet food I add to the dry food twice daily when I feed them, and other doggy paraphernalia: leashes, collars, medicines, rawhide bones, doggy biscuits.

And so this is a ball he must have rapidly reclaimed from some garden shadow when he heard my key in the lock to the terrace. I bend and reclaim the ball, then throw it over the pool down into the lower garden. Almost as soon as my arm falls to a vertical position, he is back with it again––everything in life seeming to speed up as I slow down.

Now, hours of insomnia and fewer hours of sleep later, I hear him whining on the other side of the security bars outside the open bedroom sliders. He would now have his morning come on more rapidly as I lie, computer on chest, writing my morning blog. I have slowed the world down for long enough. I find an appropriate ending and swing my feet to the floor, in search of Crocs. Time to get in line with the faster world’s schedule, at least for the time it takes to feed the dogs and cats.

 

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The prompt today is rapid.

Wrinkle

 

Wrinkle

Once when I was younger, poundage was the thing—
as I obsessed about the growth calories might bring.
Every morning on the scale, I checked for extra girth.
Any extra poundage was how I gauged my worth.
But now that I am older, I check the mirror first
before I stop to weigh myself or slake my morning thirst.
First thing on my agenda, if I have the chance,
is to approach my mirror to have a daily glance.
Now every little wrinkle, every little line
viewed within my mirror brings a little whine.
But when I step upon the scale, there’s less there to regret.
If I’ve gained a pound or two, I vow just to forget.
For if I’ve found new wrinkles, all that I can say
is every extra pound I gain just stretches them away.

 

I wrote to this exact prompt four years ago, so here it is again. The prompt word today is wrinkle.

Answered

 
What happens to someone like her as she gets older?
–from Luck, by Joan Barfoot


Answered

She loses her balance, starts to fall.
Once in the kitchen, three times in the hall.
Finds it harder to remember, spends more time alone.
Speaks her mind more freely, less likely to atone.
She starts attracting cats that come inside and do not leave.
Wears frays in her clothing–hemline, neckline, sleeve.
Starts forgetting passwords–sometimes the names of friends.
Her search for keys and glasses never really ends.
Starts waking in the nighttime to contemplate her death.
At midnight, has to go outside to try to catch her breath.
Counts the years before her instead of those behind.
She could live to one hundred if fate is being kind.

Will she live her last years with sister, lover, friend;
or will animal companions help her meet her end?
Will anybody mourn her? Does she want them to?
Will she be remembered by a poem or two?
Will anybody read her after she is dead?
Will all her future poetry die here in her head?
Will her blog named “lifelessons” finally cease to be?
Will they give the name away for a modest fee?
Will they erase her blog spot, burn her files of poems?
Cause a glut on EBay of her leftover tomes?
If she sells a book or two every other year
where will Amazon send the money when she isn’t here?

One day in the future in three thousand two
will Zee, (some bored teenager, with nothing else to do)
go onto the internet connected to her head,
close her eyes and throw herself backwards on her bed
and stumble on an errant line that floats through cyberspace,
and Google it to try to find its author, time and place?
“What happens to someone . . . ?” are the words that Zee has found.
Her fingers start to twitch as she is driven to expound.
The printer prints the words she says without her further action.
Tied into her speech and thought–spontaneous reaction.
” . . . like her as she gets older?” is printed on the wall.
For there’s no paper in the world. No paper left at all!
Her face is flushed, her eyes dilate, her eyes first squint, then blink.
This random line floating in space has provoked her to think.
First she’ll finish cyber school, then link her living pod
with a blowout sort of guy with a gorgeous bod.
They’ll make links with other blogs and party with their friends
for a couple hundred years before they meet their ends.
She thinks back on the interbrain to look for thoughts and links.
Lets her mind go soft as into cybermind she sinks.
Looking for her future job. She knows it’s there to see.
Time being just a concept to wander through for free.
She plops onto a webpage from two thousand fifteen,
all the information still there and easily seen.
The line Zee thought jumps out at her. She sees it’s not her own.
It’s been used two times before and now it seems it’s flown
into her thoughts to sort her out and give her a direction.
As she reads on, she catches on to this writer’s inflection
in every word she writes and when she gets to the post’s end,
she goes on reading through her life and starts to make a friend.
After two days of reading, she winds up at the start
knowing every detail in this blogger’s heart.
Then she goes back to where she started and sees her doubts and fears.
It’s then that she fast-forwards to the blogger’s final years
and sees the truth of everything that’s going to transpire.
The failing health, the hopeful mood, the ad, “Wanted to Hire
an interesting friend to talk to while I fall asleep.
One capable of caring and thoughts that wander deep.
Someone to be there some nights when it seems that I might leave
for one last time this life that’s loosening its warp and weave.
No heavy lifting needed—a weighted thought or two
is all that I find necessary. Weighing thoughts will do.”

Zee zoomed back to the entry that had drawn her thoughts at first.
The very sentence that had caused her gloomy thoughts to burst.
January was the month and 14 was the day
The year 2015, when she’d been the first to say
those fateful words and now Zee, too, was thinking just the same–
moving to the comments to add her words and name.
“Dear Lifelessons,” she’d say to her, and then add her assurance
that everafter she would be her safety and insurance
that she would never die alone or be bereft of friend
for Zee was vowing here and now she’d be there at the end.
She’d looked ahead and so she knew that she would keep this pledge.
She’d known the center of this life and now she knew its edge.
She knew the dates that she’d be needed in the years ahead.
She made a list and filed it in a clear spot in her head.
And then she went on thinking what those words meant in her life.
Would she be a scholar, an actress and a wife?
Would she produce children and would they be there for her?
That sentence found in cyberspace created quite a stir.
But all her dreams it prompted came true enough, what’s more
she kept her date with Lifelessons in 2044.

                                                                            –Judy Dykstra-Brown, Lifelessons, 2015

 

A question posed by one writer can often serve to provoke an answer by another. So it is in this poem, which is an answer to a question asked by Joan Barfoot in her book Luck. This piece was first written three years ago. It is a long piece I had forgotten but enjoyed reading again so I thought perhaps you would, too. I would appreciate knowing if you follow the plot line and realize what is going on. Also, did it hold your interest?  And yes, the prompt word of the day is in the poem. The word of the day is provoke.

Who Knew?

Who Knew?

When new was new, I was crazy about it. A new friend, new dress, new favorite food. But what I liked best was new places. I yearned to travel, even if it was just to the next town. Strangely enough, as tiny as the towns were in my part of South Dakota, people from neighboring towns did not mix. We went rollerskating in Draper, 7 miles away, but when our eyes chanced to stray to Draper boys, we were taken aside by several of the “popular” Draper girls–the cheerleaders, in fact, and told to stay away from their boys. This really happened. We played their school in sports, went rollerskating every Sunday in their school gym, even went to movies in their tiny theater, but we did not mix. When we tried, we’d been warned.

I think I visited Presho, Vivian and Kennebec–all 20 to 40 miles away–no more than once in the 18 years I lived in Murdo, population 700. White River, 38 miles away, we more regularly visited since they had shows on Mondays as well as weekends, and the movies were just ten cents, whereas ours cost twenty-five cents! But, never did we ever socialize with White River girls. The boys, however, were a different matter.

The first boy I ever kissed was from White River, and we went steady for two years. I think I’ve told the story of that first kiss in another blog posting. Suffice it to say that after putting it off until age 16, it was about time. And, it worked. I was literally dizzy and he had to hold me up for a minute afterwards. He had opened my car door, helped me out, then folded me in his arms and kissed me. I was so discombobulated that instead of walking to my own car, I opened the back door of his car and started to get into the back seat. Not for the reasons you might think. My best friend and a boy who (as I recall) later turned to cattle rustling were already in the back seat. I just did so in utter confusion. And no, I had never had a drink in my life at the time.

At any rate, this story has veered off in a direction unintended, so just suffice it to say that after that, life continued to present new after new and I accepted most of them. I traveled widely, loved a few loves, pursued a few careers and wound up in Mexico. Now, at age 70, I suddenly find that new isn’t as necessary to me. The older I get, the more I realize that everything is everywhere. You just have to look for it closely.

No longer is it necessary for me to travel to far-off third world countries. It is exciting to take the same walk on the same beach day after day since the sea presents new treasures each day. I love getting up each morning and writing first thing, having Pepe come each Wednesday to give me a 1 1/2 hour massage after which I plop into the hot tub. I love spending hours at my desk and sometimes hate having to leave home even for activities I have enjoyed in the past.

The point is, that the older I get, the more I want to spend all my time doing what I love most. Writing. Art. The fact that each endeavor creates a new piece is getting to be enough “new.”

 

This is a rewrite of an essay I wrote so long ago that I only had one viewer.  If it was you, you must be one of my first followers! The prompt today is suddenly.