I wish I was 20 and in love with life
and still full of beans.
Upward, old legs!
There are the long, pale dunes;
on the other side
the roses are blooming
and finding their labor
no adversity to the spirit.
Upward, old legs!
There are the roses, and there is the sea
shining like a song,
like a body I want to touch.
though I’m not 20
and won’t be again but ah!
70 and still in love with life.
And still full of beans.
— the prophet mary oliver
Here’s the thing about getting old. After all those years of following the rules, you finally get to do what you want.
It’s Christmas Day. Neither of us is a fan of the formalities of the holiday, being introverts to varying degrees and procrastinators by nature. We make the perfect couple, lounging through the morning drinking coffee and reading Mary Oliver, oblivious to the crumbling planet.
If COVID taught us anything, it’s that you can’t take time for granted. But that doesn’t mean you have to jam it full of stuff. Solitude on a quiet Saturday is the perfect gift.
We celebrate Christmas with the traditional Corpus Christi tamales, except we don’t have any, so Mo makes nachos. It’s the thought that counts. We go to Usery and navigate the mud, and then sit on the picnic table to listen to the quiet. A hawk flies overhead. The skies threaten but don’t pounce.
We come home and eat too much pie. Rudolph sleeps in the office, another victim of COVID restrictions. BK hangs on to fight another day. We facetime Mike and Laura, who appear to still be stuck in the RV on the way back from Oregon. Damn spark plugs. I pretend to be a guy, watching football while reading more of Ms. Oliver.
As we coast toward the finish line of another relentlessly uphill year, I’m grateful for this happy little life I get to spend with my best friend, even if she’s crabby when I make her go cycling before 3 p.m. She will always be my favorite Christmas gift. OK, actually it would be the Silvertone guitar my grandparents got me in sixth grade, but she’s right up there.
I’m with you, Ms. Oliver. I’m not quite 70, but I’m still in love with life. And totally full of beans. And pie.
Upward, old legs …