I am mostly oblivious about what I look like these days. I take a quick look in the mirror in the morning and then go about my day. This seems to work for me. But yesterday I saw a photo of me taken by Scotty as I walked through the Longmire parking lot, unaware I was being photographed – and…it really depressed me – I was looking at an old lady and I was like, “Who IS that person?!” (Scotty didn’t see what I saw in the photo – he told me I looked “cute,” but I saw something different.)
I almost stayed in bed this morning. Embarrassed about presenting myself to the world. But here’s what happened instead:
I thought about what the voice of the Cosmos has been telling me in the middle of the night for the last year: “You are not a body; you are a part of my body.” I realized I could make a choice to not let mortal ego impose itself on me. It hit me that – although I maybe can’t instantly change the appearance of my physical form – I can instantly change my attitude, my thoughts, my mental approach to life: My joy isn’t dependent on my physical form, or what others think of me, or my age or gender or weight. I don’t have to stop having adventures or living my life or sharing joy with others because I’ve gotten older. There are no limitations to joy or love or kindness.
“Oh! Someone said the snow geese are back! Let’s go check that out!” I said to myself.
I got dressed and got in the car. I’ve been listening to the same CD for the last six months, and thought maybe it was time to change it out – but I realized I’d brought my other CDs to Scott’s car when we went on our trip to Rainier. So I settled in to listen to my old faithful CD, and pretty soon I was on the road to Fir Island. And pretty soon I saw a pair of eagles sitting in a tree. And pretty soon I saw some way cool old barns. And pretty soon I heard snow geese honking in the air above me – and saw flocks of them winging through the sky in perfect formation. Such joy to see them again!
I decided to stop at the supermarket on the way home. When I was loading my groceries into my car, I moved a bag that had been sitting in there for who knows how long and found it was filled with old CDs! There was a John Denver one in there that was still wrapped in its cellophane – it was priced at $5 and I’m thinking I must have picked it up as an impulse item somewhere and then forgotten about it. I stuck that baby in my CD player and listened to the folksy tunes of John Denver singing about climbing Colorado mountains and farming Kansas wheat fields and the country roads that lead to West Virginia. A flood of sweet memories came back: My friend, Perky, playing her John Denver Christmas album as we celebrated “Christmas in August” at Rainier; my friend, Renee, playing her John Denver “Rhymes and Reasons” record in our dorm hall; going to a John Denver concert in Seattle with my friend, Carol. And here was John Denver, singing , “Yes, and joy was just the thing that he was raised on/ Love is just the way to live and die…” in my car. John Denver, who died almost exactly 25 years ago, still lives in his music.
Magic! Nothing – not age or ego or even death – can stop the magic.
Photos below taken by Karen Molenaar Terrell in Skagit County on October 17, 2022.