Growing older, cactus style

Picture of saguaro cactus

Isn’t this a great saguaro cactus? I found it in one of the mountainous parks in the middle of Phoenix. One of the marvelous things about that burg is that there are SEVEN mountain peaks you can climb, right within city limits. I’ve been up most of them, and they can be a tough scramble.

Back to the saguaro. Did you know they don’t even start putting out limbs until they are 50 years old? By that tally, I’d estimate this cactus is pushing a hundred–or more. Not moving, just standing there tough, watching the world go by. You’ve got to appreciate patience like that.

~Don’t give up!
Good things take time,
and you’re getting there.

~Anonymous~

Floating, floating, floating

Baby cloud

I’ve always been a cloud fan, and my photo gallery is full of cloud pictures. This one is a favorite, because it reminds me of how fast time flies. It was about ten o’clock in the morning when this baby cloud popped up. One moment there was all blue sky and the next, there it was.

But that was just the beginning. The little cloud blossomed exponentially over the next two hours. A little after noon, it turned heavy and dark, and drenched us with rain. And a half-hour later, it vanished, and the sky was blue again. Magic, right in front of me.

Life is like that for us, too. One minute we’re a baby cloud and the next, we’ve disappeared and all is blue sky again. In the grand scheme of things, we are very temporary!

I owned the world that hour as I rode over it,
free of the earth, free of the mountains,
free of the clouds, but how inseparately bound to it.

~Charles Lindbergh, aviator~

 

Still standing

I love old doors! When I found these two in an ancient house, I was hooked. They have weathered time and hardship and still are standing with a special beauty all their own. They remind me of family.

My sister and I have had our differences over the years, and our moments of joy together. But as we grow older, it is our shared history that becomes especially precious to me. Just like these old doors.

We know what it’s like to experience South Dakota thunderstorms, and steal apples from the neighbor’s orchard, and make snow angels in chest-high blizzard snow. No one else in my life, no one else in the world, can do that with me.

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold.
~Girl Scout singing round~

 

The hat makes the man…or the woman

hats of the trade

Once upon a time, a millionaire of immense wealth decided to retire from business. He built a huge estate and in one small room off his library he kept his hats of leisure: a boater for the concerts given on the Aeolian pipe organ in his billiards room, a jockey’s hat for riding along his bridle paths, and a pith helmet for building the elaborate network of trails to the top of every mountain (there were six) on his estate.

I live in a less formal time, and I’ve owned a different collection of hats. There was the small blue hat-with-a-veil that I wore to my own wedding. A black velvet mortar board (with a tassel of real gold) that I wore to my doctoral university graduation. A hiking Tilly hat that has seen most of Arizona. A gardening hat made of paper which, I understand, will melt when it rains.

The first two have disappeared into the mists of history. The last two I still have, but I keep a close eye when storm clouds gather overhead!

Every night before I turn out the lights to sleep,
I ask myself this question:
I done everything that I can…
Have I done enough?
~Lyndon B. Johnson~

 

 

Falling apart and coming together

Out of plumb

This ramshackle house, about to collapse, with not one true-square corner to its credit, is how I wake up some mornings. Out of plumb, not syncing with the world I find myself in. My jokes don’t seem funny, even to me. My cat purrs and bites me at the same time. I stub my toe on the sidewalk edge I have stepped over hundreds of times before.

And then I have to stop and breathe. I’m fine. The world is fine. We will all make it through this life, together.

     Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
                  ~The Velveteen Rabbit~