Tuesday, February 10, 2009

growing young

It’s still fifteen days until Ash Wednesday, yet I woke this morning with the reminder pressed in my mind. “Remember, you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

I really like old places and old things. There is a beauty in decay that equalizes grandeur. We humans experience it quickly. The Jock and Cheerleader deteriorate at the same rate as the Bookworm. Ten years out, and the only difference is the beer belly and upholstery print below the elbows, versus the increasingly thicker glasses.

Truly, Alles Fleisch, Es Ist Wie Gras.

I used to walk into old buildings and feel like I was walking into the past. Listening closely, one can hear the din of voices and noise of busyness from a long forgotten time. Looking closely, remnants of frozen moments can be found – a hairpin in a corner, a button wedged under a protruding baseboard.
This is something I still love to do, but the meaning has broadened to include not only glimpses and fantasies of the past, but also reminders of the future.

So goes all things.

Peeling paint, warping boards, rotting siding, sagging eves, are not only evidence of a past, but they were once the cruel promises of a future – and they are still promises - always kept.
Indeed, the knowledge of this truth creeps ever closer, day-by-day. And I feel them in numerous ways each day the sun treks across sky, moving ever faster with each new sunrise. But this is only true of the façade.

On the inside, I’m being replenished. I’m renewed with each sunrise rather than depleted. The decaying old me is being replaced. I’ve found the secret of regeneration. A new me is growing.
This is a process, folks – it takes time. As death is lazy, taking our bodies slowly, life is punctilious, using the passing years to meticulously imbue every soul-fiber with depth, wisdom, and dependence. It doesn’t happen overnight. In my case, the wisdom bit is particularly slow, but the dependence bit makes up for it.
If there is a one thing in life that I’m good at, one task that I’m equal to, it is waiting.
Today, at 45, I’m looking ahead to the completion of my aging process. I’m a bit sad that it’s manifest with sags and wrinkles and aches and pains, but I’ve got stamina that you wouldn’t believe. And I’ll wait until I’m finished growing young.