Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why white hair isn't the end of the world

Ros, flowers and tree bark.

All green, all shapes and sizes.

Squint to see ducks at left, above yellow iris.
Aging has not been my favourite thing. The end of work I loved, the realization that the 2014 deaths of my mother and a good Saltspring friend were just the start of an oncoming tsunami, the shock of discovering that the white hair on the floor of the hair salon was mine, not some old lady's. Suddenly understanding Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck, her book on aging, with its wonderful quote: "Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death." But on Tuesday, while the still-working world was making the economy go 'round, I experienced the plus side of getting old. My longtime friend Ros and I lunched luxuriously at a sunny outdoor patio, then spent the afternoon at VanDusen Botanical Garden. We did not hike vigorously around every inch of it as we might have in earlier, more athletic days. We sat a lot. We touched tree bark, especially the silky skin of the Himalayan white birch, as beautifully marked as an artist's creation.The rhododendrons are still blooming and the yellow flag iris are pools of gold, but we also admired the contrasting shapes and textures of the greenery surrounding us. Huge rhubarb-like Gunnera leaves, tall thin evergreens like exclamation points, a tree with needles like stiff spaghetti. We watched a duck family -- mom and pop and a straight row of ducklings -- make a stately progress across the pond. We breathed in the scent of mingled plants, especially the still-fragrant azaleas. We talked about the present as well as the past. By the end of the afternoon, we were soothed and smoothed, calmed and relaxed. Friendship and nature; a good way to ease the terrors of aging.


  1. Wonderful entry….and isn’t this more fun than academic essays? So glad I kept at you. I love your writing!

  2. Lovely, evocative writing. It made me think of M.Atwood's quote: "Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise." Bash on, regardless!