Most days I do not mind being me. I’m fairly good-natured, and I have a fun life. I have great friends that have lasted a lifetime,and a family that love each other. I do my best to continually grow and learn and be.
When I was a younger woman, I always dreamed of being that stately elder… refined and distinguished. The ones like my grandma Doris, wise and understanding. Perfect in appearance with never a hair out of place.
I have to say, at 52 it looks like, perhaps I will turn out to be another kind of elder. The crazy kind. Sure we have our own appeal.. our own charm, but… well it is certainly different.
This past weekend as I sat visiting with friends, retelling old stories of “the good ole days,” it became clear to me, that it is quite possible, I was never actually on the Stately woman path. I shared stories of my trip to Wisconsin in a horrible summer storm, being in a summer dress and boots, water up to my knees as it rained sideways drenched from head to toe to only make it worse as I dove for the car when I heard what I thought was a tornado siren, only to learn that it was…… the local dinner bell. And of the time I sat at the end of a cast iron tub to wash off my feet, having already disrobed, to have the tub flip-up backwards leaving me indecently wedged between the tent and the deck screaming that everyone NOT come and save me. Or the time I quickly “rescued” my then young son from what turned out to be a black COW and not the bear I had envisioned.
Well, unfortunately, the tales don’t stop there. But, one gets the picture. I have somewhere traded in the stately dreams, not sure when I did. But, I had a new awareness, one that I can live with as I read this poem, I could see me and I am okay with who I am becoming.. Most days.
I shall wear diamonds
And a wide-brimmed straw hat
With silver and leather on it
and I shall spend my social security
On white wine and carrots
And sit in the alley of my barn
And listen to my horses breath.
I will sneak out
in the middle of a summers’ night
And ride the chestnut mare
Across the moon struck meadow.
If my old bones will allow.
When people come to call I will smile and nod
As I walk them past the gardens to the barn
And show, instead, the beauty growing there
In stalls fresh-lined with straw.
I will shovel and sweat and
Wear hay in my hair as if it were a jewel.
And I will be an embarrassment to all
Who look down on me.
To love a horse as a friend,
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be,
When I am old.