Windows open wide...a grand and glorious gift. The air blowing
through the house, sweeping in its path all that is stale and dull
and hidden...bringing with it a sense of energy, of newness, which
has felt dormant during the long, closed-in days of this summer's
heat. And filled with that energy today,I changed my bed linens,
did laundry, cooked homemade applesauce, all the while rejoicing
in the lovely, cool temperatures with which the day gifted me,
gifted us all in this part of Carolina.
And now, tonight, I will crawl between fresh, clean sheets- one
of my favorite sensations, a sense memory which harkens back to
childhood evenings after Mother had changed the sheets- which
in her house happened every week but in mine happens only about
every month. For me, there is something so comforting, so nurturing,
about crawling into bed to the welcome of cool, clean sheets, which-
in those days- smelled of the outdoors and carried the awareness
of my mother's loving ministrations- at least until I was old enough
to do that task for myself.
Now, of course, I am the one who nurtures and nourishes and cares
for me. Mom is long gone and I have not yet reached the stage of
my life where I need someone else to do these tasks of everyday
living for me. I can still climb the stairs down to my basement
laundry, climb the stairs to my upstairs bedroom. I can still drive
and shop and cook and do all of those little things, those everyday
things, which comprise an ordinary life. And, as my early-morning
eye exam attested, I can still see quite well with my trusty and
But the reality which I find myself facing more and more these
days is that I am no longer young, that I am actually among the
elderly in our society, the aged in our world. Now, this does not
mean that I am giving up or giving in, that I am not living life
as fully as possible. In fact, I suspect I am as fully alive now
as I have ever been in my life, as the awareness of the value
and wonder, the gift of each day fills me from my waking until
my sleeping each night.
Am I aware of the slowing of my step and the creaking of my
joints? Of course I am. I no longer run up and down the stairs
in my house, but take their courses much more slowly, as I heed
my arthritic right hip crying out to me to slow down just a bit.
And I am well aware that, with each passing year, I am nearer,
ever nearer, to that time when I will need assistance, will need
to depend on others far more than I do presently. That is simply
the reality of living a long time- and those of us who are now
septuagenarians have already lived far longer than many of the
generations of humanity who have gone before us. Two high
school classmates and friends have died over the past year, so
the awareness of passing time is ever before me.
For now, though, I am pleased to have prepared my house for
Autumn's approach, with sunflowers and fall colors and leaves
abounding. I am grateful that I am still able to negotiate those
flights of stairs to accomplish the simple task of doing laundry.
I am delighted that I can cook those foods which feed both my
body and spirit, nourishing me in so many ways. And if someone
refers to me as an "old lady", I can smile and nod and say, "Yes,
yes, I am, and I'm proud of it." And- just for today, for this
glorious, lovely, life-breathing day- I whisper a thank you to
the God whose very breath sustains me.