I Don’t Know I Can’t

I Don’t Know I Can’t

I’m older than I was.
Grayer. Heavier. Slower.
But the thing is –
I don’t see myself that way.
I still do the things I did –
bike, hike, dance –
because I don’t know I can’t.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Karen's twirly dress

Karen in her twirly dress.

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Little by Little

“Old age” comes little by little, I think –
little surrenders of who we are
to the experts and authorities,
to convenience and comfort –
someone tells us we need to stay out
of the sun, to eat only certain foods,
to travel only at the right times
and to the right places,
and to wash our hands after every
handshake and human touch –
and we listen and obey.

And so we spend our days in “preventative”
exams – counting the pills into our trays –
hoping to increase the number of our days.
And little by little we relinquish
the small pleasures that make life
meaningful –  the joy of adventure,
noon-time lunch  with our faces turned
towards the sun,  whipped cream on
our cocoa, shaking hands  with new friends,
and listening to our own hearts to create lives
worth living.

And we lose our lives in a fear of death.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell