“As for the [elderly woman], she took on a sudden look of youth; you felt as if she promised a great future, and was beginning, not ending …” — Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs  

            Every so often I have a feeling of sudden youthfulness, as if I’m 6 instead of 78, as if spring is just starting in me as well as in the trees beside our house. This feeling flows from some place that’s a mystery to me, somewhere as near as my heart and as far off as the farthest stars, and I’m never sure when it will show up. Sometimes the feeling starts when I’m eating something special and sensing how young the universe is and how really young my life is. Or it might begin – as it did this morning – when I’m breathing hard on my bike on far-reaching roads on days that sing of cleanness and new starts. Sometimes it’s only a little feeling, but one that finds me just when I most need to feel fresh and unfenced, when I most need to notice the childish shine on my hands. Since, like all of us, I have this kind of innocence deep inside me, all I need to do is see it and accept it, and then let my life leap around like the young thing it always truly is. 

And here’s a 79-year-old lady, my wife and good friend Delycia, who seems to know that her life is a ‘young thing’, and this morning she showed the sometimes hilly country roads near our house how elderly ladies on bikes let roads know who’s in charge.

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(two in their 70’s)

They felt delight inside the wind, the joy

of nature in its cheerful liveliness.

They felt this fun-loving wind would bless

them, would treat then like a girl and boy

made just for windy, untroubled days. The trees

were bending in the wind like dancers full

of joy, and he and she could feel the pull

and whirl of youthfulness. A fresh-faced breeze

was blowing through their lives. The generous gift

the wind was giving filled them with the light

that floats in early spring. Their lives felt bright

and young. It was as if this wind could lift

them up where springtime always flows and thrives

in hearts so new, in elderly young lives.

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