Perhaps it's just coincidence, but this wonderful poem appeared today in my daily Writers' Almanac e-mail from Garrison Keillor...
Walking at Night
by Louise Gluck
by Louise Gluck
Now that she is old,
the young men don't approach her
so the nights are free,
the streets at dusk that were so dangerous
have become as safe as the meadow.
By midnight, the town's quiet.
Moonlight reflects off the stone walls;
on the pavement, you can hear the nervous sounds
of the men rushing home to their wives and mothers; this late,
the doors are locked, the windows darkened.
When they pass, they don't notice her.
She's like a dry blade of grass in a field of grasses.
So her eyes that used never to leave the ground
are free now to go where they like.
When she's tired of the streets, in good weather she walks
in the fields where the town ends.
Sometimes, in summer, she goes as far as the river.
The young people used to gather not far from here
but now the river's grown shallow from lack of rain, so
the bank's deserted—
There were picnics then.
The boys and girls eventually paired off;
after a while, they made their way into the woods
where it's always twilight—
The woods would be empty now—
the naked bodies have found other places to hide.
In the river, there's just enough water for the night sky
to make patterns against the gray stones. The moon's bright,
one stone among many others. And the wind rises;
it blows the small trees that grow at the river's edge.
When you look at a body you see a history.
Once that body isn't seen anymore,
the story it tried to tell gets lost—
On nights like this, she'll walk as far as the bridge
before she turns back.
Everything still smells of summer.
And her body begins to seem again the body she had as a young woman,
glistening under the light summer clothing. When you look at a body you see a history. What a great line! I like to think I've earned every wrinkle, every gray hair, and every creaky joint by living life the best I could. Many posts ago I quoted from a wonderful song by German singer Harald Junke titled Keine Falte tut mir leid that provides a great perspective on getting older. The lyrics read, in part...
Ich sag' Dir keine Falte tut mir leid,
Ich bin ein Mann mit viel Vergangenheit
"I tell you, I'm not sorry for a single wrinkle,
Because I'm a man with a lot of past..."
This weekend, I'll be able to relive a little of that past. Naturally, I'll only remember and reminisce with my friends about the good parts, but that's to be expected. We've all traveled different roads to get to this weekend, and it'll be interesting to share the stories of how we got here.
And we won't ... or most of us won't ... be sorry for any of the wrinkles.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.