Saturday, March 08, 2014

Bardic Perspective: Awen Charted: Old Age

To reflect on Old Age, I went to a swampy area where three streams converge. On two sides of this area are woods, several houses on one side, and a road on another side. Crossing over the swamp was a bridge spanning the road and the houses on the hill. This is a liminal place for me for several reasons, such as the swamp is neither earth nor water. Moreover, the wild area lies between a road and houses, with the bridge connecting the two.

For me, noon represents mid-life followed by old age. After the noon hour comes the afternoon, the decline of the day. Since noon, for me, is a liminal time, I chose this time to start my meditation on Old Age.  

The day I went was a blustery winter day. The strong wind blew the dried leaves, which swirled around me, in small eddies. Meanwhile, the sparkling stream water, as it rippled over the tangled roots, reflected the weak winter sun. Seeing the dead leaves strewn about the bottoms of bare trees, I was reminded of Old Age. As the sharp wind knifed through me, it called to mind my own mortality. Moreover, I was off the beaten path, in a place of ancient decay, symbolic of Old Age. The active life, represented by the road and houses, was separated from me by this swamp.

 As I stared out at the swampy overgrown area, an ancient being of hoary old age popped out of the bog. This male being had an unkempt appearance with unruly white hair sticking out of his brows and ears. Sailing about on the wind, he played with the whirling leaves. Laughing, the being said to me, “Never be neat, clean, or civilized. Always be wild and unruly. Never be staid or docile.” As I listened, the being twinkled at me and danced off.

 As I was leaving, I felt the wildness of the swamp bubble up inside of me. Being old was a time to not to live up to anyone’s expectations, instead it was a time to be content with myself. The being’s advice had resided inside of me, and made me rethink growing old. I think I should go and play in the gusting wind with wild abandonment.

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