"Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled’
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!"
- Alexander Pope, An essay on Man
I’ve written a lot about faith recently. Today, I’m on to another of the Big Three: love. Love gets harder as it gets older. Desire is easy when the object is lovely.Then come the mornings ever after.
As if it’s not bad enough that I grow old, I learn that you grow old too. The blinding insight sharpens our vision. Under the less flattering light, it’s clear to see that the sun that once bathed us in a youthful glow, slants sharper in the sky, casting our faces in harsher contrast.
The new light permits us to see more than skin-deep into the dimming eyes of our once-young lover. The brilliant, youthful glow fades, it mellows into warm wisdom. When I was sixty, working in the warm autumn one morning, I felt like a hard smooth shiny mottled stone, still warm to the touch, before it grows cold in the shadows.
Yesterday, I had the kind of day I always dreamed of having before I retired. Working at my new potting bench, I didn’t have to spend almost an hour getting out and putting away tools, pots, soil et. al. Just working, planting seeds for Veggie Garden winter: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and some rainbow silverbeet Swiss chard. Then, I got to scrub my fingernails at the outside sink. Life is good.
The spark glows warmer inside me. Physical beauty does not endure. Generously, age increases my ability to see the one I love. Those golden sunsets will etch deeper age and laugh lines on our stiff old faces, and acquaint us intimately with aches and pains as we cross the river of our lives from the sunny bank to the far shadowed shore.
But the goofy curl of the lips, the oblivious scratch of the chin: they’re all still there. Your warm chuckle, and your pleasure at pleasing me is still there despite the ravages of time. When I look deeply into your eyes, brightly warm, I see, again, the one I will always love.