The morning after the eclipse, I woke at 4 a.m. and saw the light of the super blood wolf moon shining into my bedroom. I got up and peered outside at the trunks of trees standing ghostly in the silver light. I felt as if something important was happening. But I was tired, and I fell back asleep. I woke early again this morning and saw stripes of moonlight painting the floor. As I snuggled back under the covers, a couple of things floated to my consciousness. My word for the year – clear (as in “be clear”) – and Mary Oliver, the beloved poet who passed away last week.
In my last blog post, I wrote about last year’s word, “enlarge,” and I titled the piece, “Thoughts on the Eve of My 59th New Year.” I’m only 58, so by all rights, I can ignore the fact that 60 is around the bend. But after absorbing the truth that I’m in my 59th year, 60 doesn’t seem so far away.
I’ve never worried too much about aging. Never been coquettish about the number. Most of my friends are older than me, and I admire their wisdom, their perpetude, their deep awareness of who they are. In my writing groups, I’ve often been one of the youngest, and I’ve enjoyed that role. I could ask questions, make mistakes, play the innocent. Yet, as 60 approaches, I find myself needing to come to a new relationship with myself. Needing to get clear…about where I am…and what’s ahead.
This internal shifting seems to happen as each new decade approaches. And as this one comes nearer, the reality that the decades are dwindling is crystalizing. My time on earth, while hopefully still plentiful, is winding down. Some might say I’ve reached the peak of the mountain and have been on my way down (for a few years).
Enter Mary Oliver, whose descent down her own mountain was full of awe and wonder. A nature-lover like me, she bent her head to the wildflowers, the ant, the grasshopper; her ear to bird call and the low moan of the wind. Her question: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/With your one wild and precious life?” (from “The Summer Day”) rings through my head.
I don’t know what each day will hold. But I do know that time is a slithering thing I can’t nail down or hold in place. I can ask questions. I can retain my innocence and study with clear eyes the beauty around me. I can wake in the wee hours of the morning and embrace the light of the moon.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I am sharing a piece I wrote about my mom. Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Around Father’s Day last year, I went digging through some old photos, and I posted a picture of my father from my wedding. I didn’t give it a thought, until I found this similar photo of my mother from the same time and realized I had never posted it in honor of Mother’s Day. It got me thinking. Why?