Saturday, July 11, 2020


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?  Nohe'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 livedmaybe 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.


  1. Happy birthday Richard! Great article. Age is all about the spirit not the number. You always had a great spirit. Here’s to many more years of joy, laughter and creativity! 🎉🎉🎉📘🖊

    1. Thank you, Diana. It's very nice of you to write!

  2. Happy birthday, Richard. Your thoughts partly mirror my own--but only partly because despite creaky knees and wrinkly cheeks, I still sometimes think I'm just barely 35 with lots more to do. Question: How did my children get so much older than me?

    1. Thank you, Meddie. The spirit stays strong, hopefully.

  3. Happy birthday, Richard. Lovely piece.

    1. Thanks you. I wish I knew who it was I was thanking.

  4. Celebrating a birthday one day sooner (and one year younger) than you, but still--what? 74? Can't be. Nice to read your voice here. Hope you're enjoying Maine. Still foggy on Peaks Island this noontime. Saw five Great Blue Herons flying the other day. Hope you're keeping well.

  5. So lovely to hear from you, Eleanor. And so nuts that after all these trips, we never got to see one another. Well, I do think of you from time to time, wondering how you are. I hope you're well and your family, too. It would be nice to see you one day. In the meantime, thanks so much for writing. It brightened my day.

  6. That's a wonderful essay, Thank you and Happy Birthday. Yeah, I know it's rough. I'm very glad you are my teacher..
    See you soon.