Today, I turned seventy-five.
You kidding? I think you have the wrong man. Seventy-five is an age for, for old people. Not for me. Who's seventy-five, or 75? Eleanor Roosevelt. Walt Whitman. Miss Havisham. The Pope. Not me.
I feel like someone has give me a coat that I didn't order and that is too big for me and told me to put it on.
"I don't want to put it on," I say. "It doesn't fit."
"Put it on anyway. You don't have a choice."
I was talking about this to a friend yesterday.
"Jesus, I'll be seventy-five tomorrow!"
"Age is just a number," she said.
"Yes, and in my case, a big one."
That guy who jauntily walked down the streets of New York City in 1975, age 30, is now 75? No—he's still the same guy. Still filled with a sense of wonder at everything around him. Depressed, yes, now, because of the maelstrom outside. But that's not unique to me. Mostly, getting up wide-eyed. Sap flowing.
Speaking of that.
Looking out my window in Maine I see an eighty-foot Eastern white pine not fifty yards away, partially shrouded in fog. ("Shrouded" perhaps a tad unfortunate choice of word.) It's noble as any king or queen who ever lived—maybe more so. Looming, with huge branches going in awkward directions for reasons I wish I knew. Silent, uncomplaining, constant. Ancient, witness to so many comings and goings of us pipsqueak humans. Breathing, too, like me. Useful, earning its keep, many times over. Breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen. I just read one large tree can supply a day's oxygen for up to four people.
Old tree, a lot older than me, let me look up to you. Let's take a deep breath, both of us. Still many things to do.