Notes from the Waxhaws

In the gloaming

with 2 comments

It was quite a performance. Belle and I were sitting on the porch in the gloaming…that in-between time between daylight and darkness. The sun had just set…the western sky, with scattered clouds a fiery orange-reddish hue, shading upward into a deep indigo blue. To the east, rising above some pines, was the silvery full moon…coming in and out of view behind diaphanous clouds slowly drifting to the southeast. When I looked back to the west, Venus had appeared…a brilliant point against the dark blue background…then slightly dimming behind a thin, moving veil of mist. I kept looking from right to left…left to right…like watching some celestial tennis match.

Then the sounds…in fits and starts…of nature bedding down for the night. Faint murmuring chirps of songbirds, singing one another to sleep…the forlorn crowing of a rooster, calling it a day. The night shift then making its presence known with the far off hoots of a barred owl. The sights and sounds of a very beautiful day coming to a close, and the approaching darkness and quiet of a cool night.

This morning, I took the dogs to get a groom. After I dropped them off, I stopped at the nearby library to do a little browsing for a couple of hours. Thumbing randomly through some books, I read a couple of quotes that got me thinking about the whole process of  aging…getting old…and the prospect of what’s left. We tend to think of life as a linear process…as if we’re locked into a particular path. And if something happens to disturb that trajectory of our lives, we just have to continue along that same path with few other options.

The first quote I happened upon was from E.M. Forster, in Joan Chittister’s The Gift of Years – Growing Older Gracefully… 

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

The other quote was from Thomas Merton’s A Book of Hours (edited by Kathleen Deignan)…

There must be a time of day when the man who

makes plans forgets his plans,

and acts as if he had no plans at all.

The prospect of getting older can be depressing at times, if we only think of it as the beginning of the end. Paired with the loss of a loved one, it can be doubly unsettling, as the proverbial rug is suddenly and unexpectedly pulled out from under you, dramatically altering your perspective on the future. But maybe…it can be a time for rethinking what it means to grow old…and for realizing that it may offer a time for new beginnings…of looking at the world, and life itself,  in a completely different way…of letting go of everything we’ve planned…so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Written by Jim

January 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Wow, I love that quote by Chittister. “to have the life waiting for us.” Makes it sound like there might be one -sigh.


    January 8, 2012 at 12:52 am

    • I know…it’s a real struggle sometimes…trying to stay focused on the thought that, even though our partner is no longer with us…our life still goes on, and we have to attend to that.


      January 8, 2012 at 7:33 am

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