Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Topography of Love

While we sat at breakfast, I surreptitiously studied her face the way I would the ridges and rills of a wind-carved land. Each line, each wrinkle that etched her skin told its own tale of love and prayer and toil and perseverance. They ran together into a network of stories, one long story, composed of the joys, sorrows, trials, worry, laughter, and love of life. It was a face I had seen my whole life and a face I still don’t know very well. Strangely enough, with all those wrinkles, it looked anything but worn out. This was not the personality of someone who is just hanging on, waiting for the end, but a cheerful soul who enjoys the life that is given this day.

She’s 92 and still full of spunk. (She thinks BINGO is for “old people” [whoever does that refer to, … the hundred-somethings??], preferring shopping and line-dancing when she can get out.) She’s buried her husband, her sister, her brother, her son-in-law, nephews, nieces, cousins, and probably long-lost lovers. She’s held in her arms and laughed with her great-great-granddaughter. And if I have her genes and I get to be that old, I think this is how I want my face to look. Cheerful, grave, filled with story … lived in. A topography of love.

Today’s influences and soundtrack:
Anonymous, The Chronicles of Israel
Beethoven, Symphony No. 5
Eric Hayford Rhodes, Shout!
Lyle Mays, Street Dreams
Gordon Lightfoot, Sundown

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