In search of story

October 29.19


Age, some say,

is just a number,


contrived encumber.

I shake my head

and must dissent;

age is real,

the past is spent.

In shingles curled,

in chimneys blackened,

in wood wind-sanded,

in facia slackened,

time’s signature

is boldly written,

and we are similarly


Our mortar to dust,

our boards to splinter,

through many a summer

and many a winter,

we too show

the outward signs

of life’s erosions,

droops, declines.

But as parts unjoin,

fade and slip

arises still

proud workmanship.

And so with us

of youth bereft:

who we are

is what is left.


With thanks to photographer Mary Jo Bassett

and Conner Prairie Living History Museum, Fishers, IN.

7 thoughts on “October 29.19

  1. You nailed it, Maureen. 🙂 I’ve often thought those of us of a certain age range should wear a lightweight sandwich board as we walk around that would show our life experiences so people who just look past us now would realize we haven’t always looked like wind sanded individuals. 🙂

    • “Nailed it” — you get the Pun Award of the day! A tip of the writer’s hat to you! I love your idea of the sandwich board proclaiming our lives — kind of a cross between senior cords and Believe It Or Not.

  2. So true. A Wallace Stegner character described himself as a young person with a bad skin disease. Yet, on some days, I understand that I’m just an older-er person with age appropriate skin. The sandwich board would save our dignity and prevent us from being invisible.

  3. I like that: a young person with a bad skin disease! Some years ago, I heard a very elderly woman interviewed in NYC; she had brilliant orange hair. She said she dyed her hair like that because she refused to be invisible. Wow. Great to hear from you, Shirah! Thanks for the visit!

  4. ‘Who we are / Is what is left’ has a ring of truth and repays thought. I think our society loses a lot by not seeing elderly people. Reading Shakespeare, I often find myself thinking his approach to age and older people was not very enlightened, strangely, given his wisdom. I wonder if that was partly due to the times, and how much his (apparent) attitude has coloured our thinking, as it has in so many other areas.

    • A most interesting theory. He certainly knew how to present the most melancholy aspects of aging, both physical and emotional. I can’t help wondering how many of those he described sans hair, sans teeth, sans everything were about 45. I should think he had to have some influence on attitude because he portrayed age so humanly.

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