Yesterday (February 18), I drove to Indianapolis to visit a friend. The weather has been unseasonably warm the past week, yet I was really surprised when I spotted mounds of Tulip and Lily shoots coming up through the soil along side some Snow Drops. Those were not so much of a surprise, considering they and Crocus will bloom through the snow. But it's the early greening that has me concerned.
Will the blossoms survive should we have an inevitable freeze, snow or hard frost? Some years ago, I lost my cherry trees to an April ice storm. My friends tell me to calm down, and let Mother Nature do what she does … all things come in time … all things come on time. And that includes us.
Over the past year, I've spent many hours in the mirror having private conversations with myself, and wondering if what was happening to me was normal – or, as I always like to say – attributed to my illness last year. Well, of course, it's normal. I'm simply going gray!
I've had a strand here and there, but in the last six months, I've developed a white-out! Unlike my mother, who had a magnificent spread of glorious silver white hair , my hair did not look anything like hers. She started to get a classic “salt & pepper” look somewhere around 50. Then, almost overnight, it was suddenly sparkling white. I was shocked, and didn't know how to approach the subject – what did she think of it? She said, “Oh, don't worry; it's a badge of honor. You have to earn it.”
“Earn what?” I asked.
“Stardust.” And, that was that.
Well, there is no salt & pepper or stardust on my head; it's more like salt & saw dust, and runs down the center of my head like a dull skunk! Years ago, I chose to embrace my natural hair and don't use any chemicals on my head at all. Besides, it would be my luck that if I tried to dye it, it would look even more rusty than it does now.
So, it took me a while to find a way to embrace my hair – along with ALL of the other manifestations happening to my body at this season of my life. I prayed on it. I watched my friends make their own personal decisions about their aging, and I finally decided to just celebrate all of these changes.
Gratitude vs Gravity: that would become my goal. I have much to be grateful for in so many ways. I am aging, as we all are. But I'm grateful for the ability to be here for this event. I've got aches and pains; many unexplained; and, new health issues that scare me. My fears of being and dealing with life changes alone haunt me … However, if my knee hurts, my instinct is to rub it until the pain leaves. That's not a bad thing; it's honoring the part of the body that calls out for attention. I am grateful, because I can still move on my own, and do that simple task for myself.
When I have kidney pain, I am grateful that I at least now have answers as to why there is such pain. When I hear my joints scream 'snap, crackle or pop' when I rise from a chair, I am grateful, because it means the muscle inside my chest that transports my blood continues to sing along as well. When I see a gray or silver hair on my head (or elsewhere), I am grateful. Because some people don't live long enough to see their own. Life could be worse. And, when I have to massage my hands each night before I sleep, I am grateful; because this means I've been using them to paint and create art all day – and sometimes into the night. Oftentimes I have to force myself to drink enough water. But, then I realize, there may be a day I will forget how to swallow. So, I am grateful.
I decided to meet my hair, saggy body parts and changing destiny in my own way, and I'm elated – and grateful. Like the early Snow Drops in the grass, my stardust is on time.
Published in The Courier-Times, Feb 2017