Sunday, August 5, 2007

Forever Young (Bob Dylan)

Today I am fifty-f*cking-three years old - who'd a thunk it?!?

The following, written by Robert Redford, was posted to the Dar Williams discussion list yesterday - considering her song, You're Aging Well, is my personal anthem, this hits me in the heart. I'm fond of saying that I feel 19 until I pass a mirror, and then do a double-take at the older woman staring back - maybe I'll purposely avoid the looking glass so as to prolong my perception, however skewed... :-)

Some time ago I was driving from Santa Fe to Sundance - taking back roads only - when I came on some cattle wandering along ahead of me, headed by a woman in a rusted red pick-up. Because of having to slow down I had time to gaze around and think. I focused on the back of the head and shoulders of the woman in the truck. She had a ponytail and a bandana cinching up her blonde hair. She periodically waved a tanned arm outside the driver's open window directing and yelling instructions to a couple of cowboys riding alongside the course.

I thought, she has wonderful energy--youthful and spirited. I imagined a young girl 16 or 17 schooled on ranch life taking on the responsibilities of older brothers.

Finally, as they all cleared and I passed I saw her face. It was of a woman in her 60's, wizened by the rigors of weather and hardship. As she looked at me and smiled, her wrinkled and burrowed brow still bore an innocence of a time gone by. I thought, when did that moment happen, that moment when she passed from youth to old age? Is she aware of the moment? Of this Passing? Did she know? Do any of us?

P.S. I'll be on the radio today, in the 2:00 p.m. hour, on Michael Stock's Folk and Acoustic Show (WLRN, 91.3), promoting our upcoming Labyrinth Cafe concert series, for which I do the booking - the station webstreams if anyone who reads this has a notion to listen...

SONG: Forever Young by Bob Dylan

The Fountain of Age by Betty Friedan

POEM: How to Be Old by May Swenson

It is easy to be young, (Everybody is,
at first.) It is not easy
to be old. It takes time.
Youth is given; age is achieved.
One must work a magic to mix with time
in order to become old.

Youth is given. One must put it away
like a doll in a closet,
take it out and play with it only
on holidays. One must have many dresses
and dress the doll impeccably
(but not to show the doll, to keep it hidden.)

It is necessary to adore the doll,
to remember it in the dark on the ordinary
days, and every day congratulate
one's aging face in the mirror.

In time one will be very old.
In time, one's life will be accomplished.
And in time, in time, the doll––
like new, though ancient––will be found.

QUOTE: "We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations." ~ Anais Nin


  1. I'll be 53 in 10 more days, to me if feels like its a weird age, like a no big deal age. Not sure what to think about it

  2. Hey, Patty -

    I know exactly what you mean - 53 is not a *landmark* as so many other birthdays are. I've had an incredibly busy last few weeks so I know I haven't made the time for my usual pondering of the occasion, which always elicits a bit of wisdom from the soul-searching - however, there's no rule that says it must happen on August 5 each year and I know my ruminations will unfold when they're meant to...

    Stay tuned - I look forward to hearing what you have to share as well, since you have such a way with words of the heart... <3

  3. I so wish I could've heard the radio show, Susan! I had a house full of people and wasn't able to tune in. *sigh*

    I'll wish you another happy birthday, though, my dear friend! Hope you got my voice mail as well.


  4. Hey, M ~

    No worries - the radio show went well... and I'll post more in today's soon-to-be-written blog!

    I did indeed get your voicemail and thank you so much for thinking of me on my special day - 'twas a grand one (more details to follow) and I count myself lucky to be gifted with a friend like you... <3