Saturday, July 11, 2020

Seventy-five


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."

Ok.

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.

12 comments:

  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! 🎉🎉🎉📘🖊

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

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  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?

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

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  3. Happy birthday, Richard. Lovely piece.

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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.
    Lisa

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