I sat on the swing in the yard
and watched new green leaves
sway in a sensual dance
as a spring breeze kissed
the trees that have stood
longer than I've been alive.
They are old and new
at the same time,
much the same as I am.
My mind wanders
a lot these days,
one random thought
leading to another.

The trees had me thinking
about the dichotomy of age.
It is a strange thing to think
that others perceive me as old,
yet I refer to “old people” as
something quite separate
from who I am.
While technically I am a senior,
it's rare to take advantage of it.
I don't make special trips
to shop at times dedicated to
senior citizens and seldom use the discount.
I treat the elderly with respect
and kindness as I was always taught...

And yet I know when my parents
were my age, I thought they were old,
I'm sure my children must see me that way.
When I think about it logically and recall
my mother still treating me like a child at forty,
I can't help but imagine my daughters
rolling their eyes in frustration when
I resort to similar behaviors.

I can still see my father's face
as he bemoaned the fact that
in his head he still felt like thirty
even though his eighty year old body
was telling another story.
I think of this sometimes
as I go up and down the stairs
I've climbed for more than forty years,
taking them a little slower,
holding the railing,
watching my footing,
(it can be tricky with eyeglasses,
especially as darkness falls).
I fell down those stairs
when I was a young woman
and broke both of my wrists,
and really don't want to do that again.

I know I'm getting older,
but surely I am not old;
still I can't help thinking
sometimes, that I am
because the world has changed
so dramatically since I was young.
Sometimes I hardly recognize it.
Then I remember some of the stories
my parents and grandparents
told me when I was a child,
which seemed like history lessons
even then, and think
it would blow their minds
to see what we've become.

An old person wouldn't say
“blow their minds,” would she?
An old person wouldn't like rock and roll,
or think about driving a red convertible
with the top down and
her hair blowing in the wind, right?
No, I can't be old,
unless you're pedantic
and go by the numbers.

My mind wanders a lot these days,
but eventually it all comes around.
The breeze is blowing in the trees
and I sway with the newly green branches.

~Elise Skidmore ©2020

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