I am a woman sixty years old

Posted on 29 March 2009

I am a woman sixty years old and of no special courage…

Everyday – I have work to do:
I feel my body rising through the water
not much more than a leaf;
and I feel like the child, crazed by beauty
or filled to bursting with woe;
and I am the snail in the universe of the leaves
trudging upwards… 

Marlene spent hours trying to find this poem for me (by Mary Oliver.)
It is understandable why, like so many,
I find pleasure
in your acts of language…

What the heart endures
is difficult to order in vowels
and consonants… 

Helen included this poem by Gloria Oden in a beautiful handmade book she gave me yesterday.
My daughter, my friends, call me sexy at sixty. So many lush loving descriptions of a woman who is a little like me but much more vibrant, less fearful.  
And I sit in my little house in the garden, thinking I’m sixty now – a senior. If I wanted to I could collect an old age pension… 
I am a woman of sixty, I tell myself over and over, and I am still not quite ready to accept it though I have little choice. 
Rob calls out that my father is on the phone. I return to the big house and talk to both my parents who wish me well, and are as astonished as I am that I have reached this age. “I remember the day you were born,” my father says.
When I hang up, Rob hands me two gifts but asks me to wait a minute while he plays this song.
While the music is playing, I open the first slim wrapped parcel. It is a guide book to Marrakech along with a promissory note. We shall visit this exotic city in the fall. The second parcel is my favourite perfume. I am stunned by these presents. I wanted to give you something special, he tells me, and when I asked your friends what you would like, all said travel. 
As if that weren’t enough, my nephew and his wife come back from a walk with 2 bottles of champagne. And then my daughter (a surprise gift from my sister who paid her flight) comes in with a friend and a huge bouquet of exotic flowers and a second one of lovely pink tulips from Mary who visited last week. And I receive a gift certificate for Amazon from my son Michael and his fiancee – and a beautiful poem by e.e. cummings and a kaiku Michael wrote himself. 
if there are any heavens my mother will (all by herself) have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses…
Gill and her friend prepare a breakfast feast of spicy potatoes, eggs, and chorizo sausage. My nephew serves Mimosas. Gill tells me that when she was at the flower shop, the woman who wrapped the flowers told her that when she turned sixty, her life got better and better. 
I hope so. I imagine, after this morning, that this could happen. 

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