A long lazy September look
in the mirror
say it’s true.
and my nose is growing old….’
There are some obvious outcomes of aging. Noses are one among them. I don’t know how they really age, but I guess they become bigger, or, longer. My attention was drawn to this fact much before I read Brautigan. An acquaintance met me in my thirty-sixth year and pointed out how the bulbous outgrowth on my face then reminded her of my grandmother, who was blessed with a rather prominent nose. I had had a button nose most of my life.
That evening I spent good time in front of the mirror. Contrary to what the acquaintance had politely told me, I didn’t think I resembled my lovely grandmother at all. In fact, I had begun to look like a twisted version of Pinocchio. A hurried internet search revealed how ears and noses are intimidated by gravity as years roll by. This was worrisome. It is particularly difficult to keep long noses away from the businesses of other people. And, of course, they are obvious.
So is the changing colour of my shoulder length hair. Leaves turn green, yellow, red, brown. They fall off. Life slices one shade into another. I like changing colours. The eyes take a while to adjust to their brazenness and the stranger in the mirror leaves me stupefied. But finally, I am ready to give life’s slipping quality a tight embrace. En route, I fall into several holes and emerge with a litany of complaints. Long noses being one. All part of the game.
And then, there are other variations that come along. A tug-of-war between noticing the subtle inner modifications and being the same grain of sand that I was in times of yore. The distance travelled is in miles with zero displacement. I still think I can open doors of razed buildings and share bites in forgotten cafes. I still see myself in a grey and blue uniform running down old stairs of the inaccessible portion of my school. Or, standing at the bus terminal to receive my camouflaged lover. I can touch all that I was and all that existed, and yet they are no more than mere phantoms that haunt the lonely alleys of my mind. Only a friend who has been there, recognizes that part of me when she says, ‘You haven’t changed a bit!’ Because ‘you haven’t changed a bit’ isn’t about unchanging contours. It is about the moment that decided to procrastinate even when you moved on.
Long nose is the perceptible change age has brought to life. It helps me to visualize how far I’ve come, both literally and figuratively. Deep down I am still a fledgling. That cozy corner in my heart, the one I return to when I tell myself it’s all the same, believe me I need that corner. To be able to skip without breaking my bones, to be able to laugh without my teeth falling off, to twirl around and be simple and to shake off all the dust from years of living.
As Maya Angelou says (On Aging),
‘I’m the same person I was back then, a little
less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind…’
What’s your journey of adding years like? How do you feel about it?
Image source : Edward Lear Sketches Pixabay