The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Monday, May 7, 2012


It all started long ago, when I was young.  The young, particularly those in their twenties and thirties with jobs and families, get so easily distracted by the demands of home and family and work that time simply spins by.  In memory it has spun by in a blur, like one of those tops that spin and then stop, spin and then stop.  But during those years and decades, while I wasn’t looking, I was getting older.  Not old, mind.  We don’t admit to that status yet.  In fact, there was a favorite commercial on television years ago where this lovely mature woman declared that ‘old age is always ten years older than I am!’  But in the mirror was someone definitely more mature, with mature skin and mature bones and joints.  Oh, well, you know.

Then one day I looked up and there I was:  no longer young.  An impossible fact that was fully supported by our having grown children and growing-up grandchildren.  But the worst thing of all, far worse than the silver-haired individual in the mirror, or the sense that every year went by faster than the one before, was that I could no longer do all the things that I used to do.  Things that I used to do until quite recently.  Things like kneeling in the garden or putting in long days of activity, or even just getting things done.

In compensation for these changes is given, at least to me, a renewed awareness of the loveliness of tiny flowering weeds, of the deliciousness of a sweet cooling breeze, of the sheer comfort of cotton sheets, of the changing seasons so that for instance daylilies I have grown for forty years are greeted again when they faithfully bloom, again.  All these, the tiny purple weed flowers, the breeze, the welcoming sheets, the returning daylilies, all these and so many more old friends, both people and places and plants and things, remind me of the old saying you’ve no doubt heard:  “Make new friends and keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold.”

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