It was low tide on a sunny day, and we ventured far out on the rocks, searching the life left by the waves. Hidden in the cracks, just visible here, we found thousands of tiny white mussels, fed by the surging waves that were channeled into the crevices between the granite boulders.
How did these tiny shelled creatures sense that here, and only here, they would be nourished by the very waves that threatened to destroy them?
For every ailment under the sun, There is a remedy, or there is none; If there be one, try to find it; If there be none, never mind it. ~Mother Goose~
Imagine if you could ask the most famous authors in the world their views on your age today. What would they say? Better yet, what advice could they give you as you enter your next decade, and the next after that?
This is the delight that the book 100 YEARS by Joshua Prager provides. In collecting these quotes, he had very specific criteria that made the challenge all the more difficult: an author could be used only once, and the specific year must be included in the quote. What fun!
It was a slow slog: he went through 2700 pages of Thomas Mann and Leo Tolstoy to find only two quotes. Agatha Christie wrote over 80 books and didn’t make the cut. He had to keep in mind the progression of history as well. Two authors used the phrase “yellow leaf” to describe their then current old age: Christopher Isherwood at 53 and Lord Byron at 36!
Often he will give a summary quote at the beginning of a decade. For example, for the Fortieth Decade he includes, “Men at forty learn to close softly the doors to rooms they will not be coming back to,” by Donald Justice.
As I look ahead to an older age, I was curious about what might be said of seventy, or even the ninetieth decade. Prager doesn’t disappoint. J.D. James says, “Will I be here at the end of the year? At seventy-seven, that is not an irrational question.”
And May Sarton, that wonderful journalist laments, “Every person seventy-eight years old lives in a somewhat depeopled world. The trouble for me is that I often loved people older and wiser than I. So I’m left now in the lurch, being, trying to be, the old wise one and feeling like a great goose.”
Whatever age you’ve been, are now, or hope to aspire to, you’ll find it here.
An additional delight is that each page of the book is a different color, each specific number is set in a different type font by one of the most celebrated graphic designers in the world, Milton Glaser. The book becomes a feast for the eyes as well as for the mind.
Water has endlessly fascinating, shape-shifting qualities. This pond became the epitome of summer as it reflected the lush green of the lily pads and trees in a smooth, mirrored surface.
I longed to wade in, to splash up to my chest, to feel the coolness between my shoulder blades–especially as this view came after a six-mile hike, uphill both ways.
Perhaps it is because we are born of water and cannot survive even days without it, that it maintains such a primal spot in our psyche. And for a born-and-bred desert rat, that sensation is multiplied ten fold.
Let’s hear it for water, in all of its glorious forms. It sustains us in myriad ways.
Always hold to the present hour.
Every state of duration, every second, is of infinite value.
I have staked on the present as one stakes a large sum on one card,
and I have sought without exaggerating
to make it as high as possible. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe