Aging

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Someone sent this to us a few years ago. We are getting closer to resembling this remark!

I recently read Madeline L’Engle’s book A Severed Wasp.

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She wrote “She might feel like a young woman in an old body, but there was no denying that the body was old, and she had little patience with people who could not face their own aging. She had had a full, rich life – surely that should be enough.”

I know a woman who moans and complains constantly about her aging and her loneliness and her misery. No one wants to spend time with her. I certainly have little patience with her. Having struggled with a chronic pain condition for years that is not progressive, but still has the power to make me miserable gives me yep “little patience with those who can not face their own aging.” When Bob was still working, he went into one man’s hospital room to draw the man’s blood. Asking the man how he was doing that day, the man replied “Well, I woke up on the right side of the grass!”

Every person we meet is broken. Some hide it better than others, but each of us is dying and aging. To me, becoming an old geezer with joy and acceptance is better than moaning my way into my grave!

I have a calligraphy with a quote from Hunter S. Thompson. He said,

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, CHOCOLATE in one hand, beer in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

And yeah, that would be DARK chocolate please!

Smoky Mountains in Spring

We love to hunt wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains national park. One of the most elusive is the Lady’s Slipper. I will never tell you where we found these, as folks tend to want to steal them, hoping they will grow in their garden. Well, frankly, that is against the law and most likely they will never grow at your house as they need very specific conditions to grow and then to bloom.

According to the U.S.D.A. Forest service “In order to survive and reproduce, pink lady’s slipper interacts with a fungus in the soil from the Rhizoctonia genus. Generally, orchid seeds do not have food supplies inside them like most other kinds of seeds. Pink lady’s slipper seeds require threads of the fungus to break open the seed and attach them to it. The fungus will pass on food and nutrients to the pink lady’s slipper seed. When the lady’s slipper plant is older and producing most of its own nutrients, the fungus will extract nutrients from the orchid roots. This mutually beneficial relationship between the orchid and the fungus is known as “symbiosis” and is typical of almost all orchid species.

“Pink lady’s slipper takes many years to go from seed to mature plants.  Seed-bearing harvest of wild lady’s slipper root is not considered sustainable. Pink lady’s slippers can live to be twenty years old or more.”

So we go to the Smoky’s to relax.

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And we hunt for these.

And even the ones that are wilting bless our hearts!

Then back to the river for more refreshment.

And maybe one more surprise !

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Structured or Unstructured?

There is an old saying that if you aim at nothing you are bound to hit it. While walking in my friends’ subdivision in Corrales, New Mexico, before the area was fully developed, I came across this image and was pierced with conviction.

There are so many areas of life that are our personal responsibility. How are you at SELF CARE? Most women in America have a lousy track record with self care. We tend to always put others and the needs of the many above our own. When was the last time you took time for self examination, (and I do not mean for lumps or growths) I mean for spiritual and emotional well-being. I learned many years ago that I am personally responsible for myself. Not my husband, not my children, not my family of origin or the pastoral staff at church. Me responsible for me. So how are you doing with that practice?

So back to the image – it seemed as if each rectangle could outline one area of my life: exercise, Bible reading, prayer and mediation, finding joy, study, crochet, cooking, journaling, gardening, small group meeting, church attendance, play, fellowship with friends, family gatherings, marriage building, self examination, confession etc., etc.NewMexico-50

Do you have a plan? In her recent book Talking as Fast as I Can Lauren Graham wrote:

I still find that, in general, having a plan is, well,
a good plan. But when my carefully laid plan laughed at me,
rather than clutch at it too tightly I just made a new one,
even if it was one that didn’t immediately make sense.
In blindly trying a different path, I accidentally found one that worked better.

Can you be this amenable with reality? First plan does not work. Don’t spend time beating yourself up over supposed failure. Just make a new plan that is more in line with reality and possibility. If it does not make sense at first, try it anyway and find the way towards your goals. This is not New Year Resolution talk. This is for self discipline and spiritual growth, well being and overall joy in living. For several years I made a list of those goals and re-read it once a month to see how I was doing towards balancing the activities.

Find a way towards your fulfillment.

Wowsers!

img373Forty eight years ago today I married the absolute love of my life! We had no idea what the future held, but we have been determined to do the future together!

img389We went from a wedding in Live Oak Park, (where we had to break up the Saturday morning football game for the ceremony to take place) to a reception with cake, champagne and beer at a hotel, to an overnight honeymoon out of town so the family from Ohio would go home. Then we were back to classes for Bob and back to work for me.

Now two children, three grandchildren and forty eight years later, we are still celebrating our love! No longer spring chickens in the park, but happier than ever!Cowles-2266I love you dearly, my sweet husband. May we be graced with many more years of happiness in plain sight, with you cracking jokes continuously and you rarely laughing at my jokes!

 

The Wise Turtle and Bloom

Turtle and Bloom © 09-07-21 Molly Lin Dutina

I came upon a turtle at the pond today. I missed her completely the first time I walked past. She was totally camouflaged by duck weed. The lily leaves were withering and the ones left standing placed shadows around her similar to the shape of her shell.

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I took one photo and drew closer to the water’s edge for another, hoping she would not slip into the water and vanish completely from my sight.
I posed no threat as she remained in her position on the log. I began to realize that she must be a very old turtle by her size.

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As I changed my position along the shore, I could see her more clearly. I began to notice the lily leaves, first as obstacles to my photographic efforts, and then as tattered, themselves old from a hot summer of sun and storms and wind. I was reminded of the poem I wrote at the Nature Center 19 years ago about the lily pads, (for the complete poem see the Stand and Tip blog) and the subsequent admonition from the Lord to me, “Perhaps I could ask you just to be a lily leaf. Fill up with mercurial spheres and overflow. Stand and tip. Ponder this My lily shield.” Here I am at the same location these many years later, seeking solace and direction at my current age in my current state.

The next photo attempt brought the lovely lily bloom into my photographic range. I had seen a dropped petal in the weeds along the shore line. It was fresh and somewhat velvety as I placed it between folds of paper in my journal.

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When I tried to frame the next photo the blossom made for good composition. Tired leaves, old turtle, flower blooming, though fading. Suddenly I was looking at a mini portrait of my life in the very frog pond that inspired me so many years ago. I have been wrestling with the topic of aging and the pain and distress that seem to be increasing in my body as I age.

2 COR 4: 16-18 came to mind: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I had recently mentioned to Bob that I do not like to grow white roses as the petals begin to darken with the slightest bruising. Here I see a creamy lily flower bearing the beating of sun, wind, and storms yet barely showing the effects in her waxy petals. The aging turtle remained on the log, still enjoying her sunbathing, unperturbed by one woman on the shore taking digital photos. The lily leaves tattered, yet most still erect on their flexible stalks, able to gather a summer shower and tip when the pad is full.
At first glance my negative mind set cries, “Just look at her! Surrounded by decay and destruction! Duckweed hanging on her lovely shell. Leaves decaying and spoiled all around her! All alone on that log!” Then as I ponder I see her wisdom caused her to cover her shell with duckweed to blend in, her courage in taking a sunbath even if the other turtles choose not to, and regardless of her surroundings she is looking up, even now, the changes in my attitude begin. Wisdom, courage, and keep looking up! Yes, as one author said, “I need me some of that!”

turtlelcloseup5by7Upon closer inspection I am able to see the lovely colors in her neck, the awesome nails and webbing in her feet. The coloring continues around the under-edge of her shell into her legs. Most importantly, I realize she is looking up, as I am called to do, fixing my eyes upon things eternal. Letting go of the obvious pain and aging issues I am able to relax on my favorite bench and simply soak in the pond activity: belching frogs, passing humans, bird song and noonday joy.