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Youth and the other thing

Freshly returned from the Montana AIA Fall Conference (and trapped each way for four hours in cans of diseased air that we call “flying”), I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the experience and conclude that growing old is inherently no bad thing. If Oscar Wilde is right—that youth is wasted on the young—though, I wonder which quality of life might be wasted at the other end of the aging spectrum—the place where I find myself. Happily the good ship HMS Youthful Naïveté has sailed on, abandoning me here to await the rescue ship captained by Charon and his crew.

Beach-bound and binocular-ed, I find myself scanning the horizon, whence cometh help.

old-age

And, so, this fragment of a poem by Philip Larkin came to mind:

And so it stays just on the edge of vision, / A small unfocused blur, a standing chill / That slows each impulse down to indecision. / Most things may never happen: this one will, / And realization of it rages out / In furnace fear when we are caught without / People or drink. Courage is no good: / It means not scaring others. Being brave / Lets no one off the grave. / Death is no different whined at than withstood.

[ From “Not to be here; not to be anywhere”, written in 1977]


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