View From Here
By Katherine Veno
people can’t shed...
Here in the middle of spring I noticed how much better my palomino horse
looks in his golden, shimmery summer coat, than his drab, whitish fur left
over from winter. It got me to thinking how nice it would be if I could do
the same thing.
If I could molt like a bird and get all new feathers, my colors would be
gleaming in the sunlight as well as my shiny cat lying by the window. I
would not need makeup to bring out the pink in my cheeks, or sparkle on my
lips to make them look dewy.
Spring is the time of renewal for everything except humans. We come out of
winter with paper white legs and a few extra pounds, and try to find a
bathing suit to hide everything after a certain age. If we just shed our
outer covering like the animals, we would look all brand new.
Last night I slept well, and I should look refreshed, but everyone thought I
looked tired. That would not happen if I just shed away all the freckles,
brown spots, wrinkles, lines, pounds, and got all new everything on the
outside every spring. This is where the animals have us beat. We may be
mammals, but we do not excel at getting rid of anything. If we did, there
would not be a show called Hoarders on television.
My cockatiel, Ricco Veno, lost his tail feathers. He looked strangely
awkward, and certainly far from beautiful like he was before he molted. Then
his feathers re-generated, and he has a lovely, colorful, tail just full of
long, yellow and gray plumage.
My little miniature mare, Snicklerdoodle, was a mess of tangled white and
gold matted winter hair. Rain, dirt, and hair obscured her pretty face and
body. Then spring arrived and big clumps began to fall off of her as the
birds rejoiced in their new nesting materials drifting through the pasture.
With a shedding blade and a brush, she quickly became once again, younger,
more beautiful, sleek, and shiny. Now all the boy horses whistle as she
walks by, and she looks like any little girl’s dream pony. It is the miracle
I realize humans shed their skin. I see flakes going everywhere as I vainly
try to exfoliate my winter-white legs. I bought some shorts yesterday so I
can get a bit of sun. I also know the sun is bad for my skin, but sometimes
I just have to give in a little bit and soak up a little Vitamin D the
natural way. So I will put on a big hat, and sunglasses, and sit in a lawn
chair with my stems in the sun for a little while, and it will feel good.
With a little self-tanner, my legs may be presentable by the first of June.
If I could molt in a hurry, or somebody could simply brush me off and
everything would just drift away in the breeze, it would be so much nicer.
As humans we evolved too far in the cosmetic way. We lost our fur to protect
us from the cold and heat, and we get cancer if we are not sun-savvy. My
cats and dogs don’t get freckles if they take a walk down to the lake in the
sun, but I do, so I have to put on sunscreen, and then it runs into my eyes
and burns when I sweat. Then the waterproof mascara fails the test, and I
resemble a sad street performer or mime. It would not be the same if I just
shed my winter fur in a big hairball on the floor, and grew in shiny golden
threads of metallic, reflective golden hair like my horse.
Or, if I glistened on the sidewalk in all new feathers like the big black
street birds at the shopping center and had hints of iridescent green for
natural makeup, I would not need any drugstore helpers.
Even snakes just shed their skin and slither away from last year’s face and
body. They don’t even need body lotion or exfoliating scrub. It all just
comes naturally. In fact all God’s creatures seem to be appealingly
refreshed by nature, except for homo sapiens. I guess it is Mother Nature’s
way of getting even with us for getting all the cars, houses, boats, guns,
jewelry, and other fancy toys to play with.
By Emily Gail Lundy
“Golden Age” for retirees or older people in general seems to be
losing popularity in use. I am glad. I have never liked it. Literally,
nothing seems “golden” about it, maybe rusted, or a duller gold.
Historically it has stood for a period of achievement and super success in a
field or country. Since earlier times the phrase has meant great
accomplishments by outstanding humans. Or it has meant a period following
years of great inventions, writings, discoveries, performance.
This is true for many older people, but not me. I still have ideas,
compassion, dreams, and an ache to help humanity, but I hope I can get up in
the mornings with little stumbling or find that pain salve for my spine. I
want to go places, but usually the bed seems so inviting. Maybe a good
crossword puzzle on the bedstand will gently send me to slumber after
preparing my apnea mask, letting hubby get his favorite blanket straight,
taking my regime of nightly medications, making sure we’re locked up,
clearing a path to get up in the night if necessary without falling, turning
on the night light which we have used before retiring, getting my pillows
lined up, and trying not to sling a pillow around, taking the glass of water
with it I keep by my side in case the apnea machine goes dry. Darth Vader
says good night.
“Golden Oldies” makes me wince. Senior Citizen is only a little better.
Geezer for me is harsh. What’s wrong with adorable oldies? I hear your
mumbles. Some are old at 60; others still young at 80. I became old one
night as I slept. From then on, pain somewhere began hitting me each
morning. It does little benefit to stay in bed. Up, up, walking around,
becomes the next assignment, trying not to fall. But if one does, having a
little weight on the bones is said to help. Wheat, beer, dessert bellies
aren’t the good weight. And any meeting lasting over an hour is too long. If
I can’t stand or walk to the back with a coughing spell, I’ll be glued to a
chair, unable to unlock my bones. It will take force to get me up.
No longer can I run unless danger is behind me. I can’t even work one
correct block of Suduko and don’t know how to say it. Memory comes and goes.
I can’t tell brown from black or black from navy; thus most of my shoes are
Since my fifties, I seem to go through a list of all children and
grandchildren to get one’s name right. That’s why some of us say “Doll,”
“Sugar,” and “Honey” quite a lot.
I did do something out of character last week. I took my ten toes, even the
one trying to stand up, for a pedicure. What a mental lift. I sit and look
at my painted toenails and recall what once was.
Going to two events a day is my limit, and I must get that across to my
older husband who plans to go until he drops. Then I am to shoot him. If he
thinks I’m going to prison for my last years, he will have to jump in a
river and stay there. He’s in a boat on a river or creek mostly anyway. My
husband’s title for this period is “The Lucky Generation,” for anyone who
lives past 70.
I think the “New Freedom Group” has a fitting ring. I can finally say “No,”
to duties, sleep as late as I want, watch television or read or put dishes
in the dishwasher. No schedule has to be followed. I really don’t care what
time it is but do look at a clock occasionally.
Of course, I have plans, but sometime I don’t follow them and don’t care
that I don’t. My bucket list developed a hole in the bottom years ago. When
I can get an envelop, stamp, and correct matter inside all to the mailbox, I
may have achieved greatness for me. I’m not proud of this constant fatigue,
well not constant, but I do what I can every day and really feel great when
something on a mental list becomes completed. I may celebrate for two days
of sitting on the porch and enjoying nature.
Talking on the telephone is my love, but people avoid me I think. Since I
see fewer adults than ever before, I’m poster girl for “talking and can’t
shut up.” Some of my conversationalists don’t let me get a word said or a
story told. We have a battle for the line.
The only gold I want associated with my name is gold around a finger. A
diamond with it won’t ruin anything.