I am slightly north of fifty.
Most days I like my place on the chronological globe. Some days I want to string it up from the highest rafter and kick the bucket of wrinkle remover off the highest cliff and call it a day.
Today was a bucket kicker of a day.
I took my 6-year-old grandson shopping through the neighborhood yard sale boutiques. He had a pocket full of money (mine), a skip jump and a heartbeat of joy (mine) and most everything else in his wiry little body that you can count on in this world that means a blessed thing. And he’s mine.
Wrapped around my sinew and bone like a web-spun intricate cobweb of blissful peace.
I know they weren’t there yesterday.
And my eyes look tired. Must be the heat, I tell myself.
It’s because I’m midlife-never-mind.
And then I went home and got properly stuck on the age thing.
And why some days I look like hell
and some days I look like twelve
and how today I feel just like the Cherokee girl my grandmother was
I tried to wash my freckles away in the morning dew when I was 8 years old because she said they would disappear. Lo and behold, at 53, I am still trying to cover those blasted freckles and make my smile stop being crooked like hers and my nose wrinkling up oh.so.adolescent.like when I really really smile.
For years I fought it. I wanted it to shift into Hollywood styled sophisticated perfection. I wanted to pout like Garbo, sizzle like Marilyn, slink like Ginger. I did not want to effude giggles like a pigtailed Mary Ann. (I just pulled a Palin, did you catch it?) Oh, I do alright in the catwalk department on a good ole’ day you see…..but it’s days like today …..when the sun is long and my freckles come callin’ that I see…I see…..(“I brought my grandson today, ma’am. His name is Baby Boy”) a wisp of her staring cold in the mirror and laughing cause she still sees the marks behind whatever makeup I put on (“Grandson? He’s not your son?”)……knowing full well I can‘t wash them off with the dew (“No, no,” I laugh, “my own baby is 30.”…) even though that’s what my greatly superstitioned grandmother told me (“That’s about what I thought you were.”) while she watched me wash my face with dewdrops one morning at 5am in the backyard trying to scrub them away….(“Oh DO go on, ma’am…I will buy everything you have in your garage today…“)
So I came home flailing all my will into a long dramatic selfish pout, casting winks and coy glances hither and yon for the birds and the squirrels and trees, splashing on makeup and dropping pearls round the long strands of auburn that also belonged to the glorified goddess of an Indian-laced grandmother and took this shot and that and that shot and this trying to see what the yardsale lady said she saw in the shadow of my grandson‘s smile this morning…...oh I was bound and determined to have a dandy of a roll in the whine fields if I couldn't coax that number down and have a long satisfying look in the yardsale lady's mirror...... I desperately needed those years to wash away you see and since it was not morning, but a sun-washed afternoon in my fifty-third year I felt time turning pages in the solstice of a day that I knew I was mean all along to land in with my grandmother laughing all wrinkled and joyful behind that willow tree looking at me flirt shamelessly with wildlife and memories......wondering how did I get here so fast in a spot where spots are signs of age and not of youth with no stopwatch to slow them down... down.... down....
Until finally I saw something in the lens I’d never seen before.
A chiseled chin
A bold lined woman
Who never takes no for an answer
and knows exactly where she's been
Not in the dew
But in the new
I had an epiphany
And the lack of it
in the middle of
that I no longer want to wash away
She knew I would need them
there's some kind of magic in dew