A Time Blip April 1 2011
April fool… indeed!
I sat last night listening
As a folk singer from my youth performed in concert.
I was her fan.
I loved her voice, her songs, her beauty.
Then I didn’t think about her age, though it was also mine.
We were young. The world was ours.
The moment was enough. The songs inspired. We grooved with her.
Last night was different.
I saw her as the woman in the drawing,
Now a crone and now a lovely diva.
My vision shifted back and forth —
Unbeckoned, unwelcome, unsettling change of focus.
My sense of self keeps shifting to and fro like that as well;
One moment I feel youthful still
And then a second later I’m all cramped and bent and old.
Last night I wept a moment for our vanished youth
And felt how fragile we have all become,
The ones who then were young and now are old.
She was a mirror,
Revealing back to us the jester’s sleight of mind;
Surprise! Who draped us thus with age?
It’s axiomatic that people continue to feel inside like young adults in their 30s no matter how old they become. We do age, of course, but it happens gradually for most of us, so we can relate to the person we see in the mirror, even though we’ve changed. It reminds me of having been on the faculty of the community college where I taught for 33 years from the time it opened. Teaching jobs had become scarce, so just about all who had gotten a job with the college as it opened spent our whole careers at the same college. After we had aged together, I became aware that people didn’t really look any different to me, even though I knew intellectually that we were all 30 plus years older. I’ve related to my aging self pretty much with the same level of denial. Attending that concert last evening, though, was like looking into a different mirror. Who was that woman on the stage? I had not seen her in decades, so in some ways she was as if I hadn’t seen her before. In watching her now while remembering her as she was, I had to acknowledge sharing with her the signs of age that I was seeing in her face and body. It was an odd and unsettling experience.