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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Monday, January 7, 2013

And so it begins

This new year began with news that another former student had died, this time a gentle, artistic soul in his early forties who had been a constant presence in the arts in our community for many years. His death was unexpected and brought home, yet again, the message of the fragility of our lives and the life around us. Cliché, I know, but a reality nonetheless.

The fragility of some things is obvious, like that of the barrier islands that were the subject of yesterday's post, or of the flowers with which I become obsessed every gardening catalog season (another name for winter). Other times, not so. Large scowling young men in the back of a classroom look frightening (and we know that some of them, tragically, prove dangerous), but few things are more fragile than youth or more difficult than being young in a world in which the old rules are changing but we don't know yet what the new rules will be. Honestly, I'm glad to be a nearly-old woman. So few of the things that worried me a few decades ago matter anymore.

But some things become more important. Friendships matter more.  By the time we reach our fifth decades, most of us have lost at least one friend to death, making those that remain even more precious. Love is more important, even though we know we can live independently and most of us become more self-sufficient as time goes on. Looking into the lined faces of the people we fell in love with, we see the reality of the passing of time.

And for me, beauty is more important. The best way I know to acknowledge the great gift of being alive in this beautiful world is to pay attention. Even though they happen every day, few things are more fleeting than a sunrise. By the time most of us notice that the sun is rising, it's already up. 

At least the show goes on every morning.

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