All of us age.
We go grey, bald.
Our skin dries up and wrinkles all over.
We return the teeth to the cosmos.
The eyes that were once bright and mischievous become dull and lifeless.
The ears hear not the faint sounds as if there is no more sweet whispers in life.
The fancy colognes of the youth make no difference to the nose that does not pick up any scent, including our own odor.
When we are young and energetic, we do not pause to think that we, too, would one day begin to look like those at the old-age homes. And, worse, we fail to understand deep within ourselves that after the appointed hour, we will cease to exist even as the wrinkled, toothless, bald, grey, shuffling, smelly versions.
Near my home--yes, the only home I have, which is in Eugene--is a complex that houses quite a few super-senior citizens. When I see them shuffling along on the bike path, or in their motorized transport, all I see are the old people. It is not easy to visualize them as crazy kids diving into the river, or as young men and women in love. We forget that they also went through childhood, adolescence, and youth, and everything else like the rest of us mortals.
When visiting with the folks over the winter break, I helped my parents get rid of a few things and re-organize a few others.
"You told me not to throw out the photo negatives," my father reminded me. "So, I retained them. You decide."
They were mostly garbage. Every once in a while, a negative seemed promising. The garbage piled up as I emptied the contents.
And then I saw a couple of negatives. I, too, was a kid once.
I brought them with me.
I followed up on M's suggestion.
"I would like to get prints from these negatives, and also get them scanned," I told the older woman at the shop. She, too, was young once. But, all I saw now was an older woman.
She held them up against the light.
"It is me from my younger days, back in India."
She smiled, as if agreeing with me that we were young once, even though we look old now.
As this wonderful song from Romeo and Juliet put it,
A rose will bloom;
it then will fade
so does a youth;
so does the fairest maid
|A "pappu face" me in 1980!|