Carrying things down the steps from the deck this morning I was reminded of a picture someone shared with me years ago. It was of one of my college professors, Dr. Dwight Moore, from whom I was taught plant taxonomy and genetics.
Dr. Moore was in his seventies when I took plant taxonomy, and the course involved a lot of field work. Much of that field work was carried out in the Arkansas Ozarks and we all used to shake our heads at the way Dr. Moore scaled hillsides, walking us into the ground, as he pointed out plants of interest. (And flirted with the woman 20 years his younger who had gone back to college after the kids were gone.)
In the picture I received Dr. Moore was walking down the steps from his front porch at his home in Rudy, Arkansas, carefully holding the railing and keeping his eyes on the steps in front of him. He was 95. I find myself doing those things at times and I’m twenty years younger than he was then.
There is a sort of inevitable failing that occurs in our bodies with age. That failure affects different abilities differently in each of us – and Dr. Moore’s photo demonstrated that it occurs at different rates between individuals – but it is still inevitable and inexorable...and infuriating.
In our minds we are always young and rail against the loss of our youth.
We bud, and we are as green leaves basking in the sun, and then in the autumn of our lives we wither and as winter comes fall from the tree. None of us are evergreen.
Nothing Can Be Done
Music by Larry Klein / Words by Joni Mitchell
“Must I surrender
The things I loved when I was younger
Must I remember your face
What do I do here with this hunger
Oh I am not old
But I am not young
Oh and nothing can be done
Is a smoking gun
Oh and nothing can be done”