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As we grow older our senses sometimes diminish, but not to the same extent for everyone, nor every sense. It can be a time of extreme frustration. A close friend lost his sense of taste after radiation; I had two old aunts who were blind (the reason which I never knew); my mother had macular degeneration and was unable to participate in her favourite pastimes of watching TV and reading romance novels; many men of our age start to experience hearing loss; as a result of diabetes, some people develop neuropathy and lose sense of feeling in their feet, legs, or fingers and hands. This poem is about using all of our senses as long as we possibly can before it is too late….. The most important thing we can do in life is to listen!

Listening

If it is true that from time to time,

We need to “Stop and smell the roses.”

So it is also true that we need to

“Stop and listen!”

As the five senses – smell, touch, taste, hearing and seeing

Each enriches our experience of life.

Hearing is not necessarily listening.

We hear a symphony. We hear a lawnmower.

We hear the cries and laughter of children.

We hear the roar of the waves,

Crashing on a Caribbean beach.

We hear the tropical birds in the rainforest.

We quite often take our senses for granted.

Listening requires learning –

Stopping to hear what is being said,

What is being played?

What is creating the sounds?

Stopping and truly listening to your spouse,

Your child, your neighbor, strangers on the street.

Really listening takes effort at times.

The rewards – endless.

 

This particular piece was written to commemorate the birth of a child in our family. I flashed back to the birth of my first daughter and then the second, and then the births of my five grandchildren. No one prepares us to be parents! We learn on our feet through trial and error. Sometimes we have to change the way we perceive things….. accepting a new reality. In fact that new reality has always been there, waiting to be discovered.

Unchanged Reality

The longer we live our human lives,

The more we come to realize

Nothing is ever constant

Or consistent.

Change is our reality!

Just as certain as times and seasons change,

So also do people, places and things.

Experience is the key to change.

The more we experience in life,

The more likely we are to change

Or be changed by those experiences – good and bad.

Newborn babies impact a relationship

More than could ever be imagined.

In the nine months leading up to birth,

Lives are forever changed

Beyond imagination…new realities?

Career changes, relocations,

New relationships, broken relationships,

Constancy and consistency

Are fleeting.

Our ‘raison d’etre’ fades

With each sunset.

What then are we to do?

In a single word, ‘change’ –

Failure to change or accept change

Can have disastrous consequences.

Those who change willingly

Are those who come to realize,

Failure to change may well be

Their ‘cause of premature death’

In an unchanged reality.

One of those things which is often heard, is that one needs one’s space! I believe that is a universal feeling. There are times, for whatever reasons, that in our day to day lives this is a necessity and not just a need. Some may use meditation for this purpose. Others…they go shopping…LOL. My daughter calls it “Me Time”. This poem was written on one of those days….

Two Solitudes

There are times in our lives

When we live in two solitudes;

One is the solitude of our

External environment –

The other is our inner self, our ego,

Which is the more complicated.

We can turn off, tune out

Those things we choose not

To see or hear  in our surroundings.

The inner solitude can at times,

Overpower us –

Creating havoc, unseen,

Except for those closest to us.

Some see it as ‘that time of the month’,

Others chalk it up to moodiness.

Nevertheless, we are alone with these

Thoughts and feelings,

And only we can process them,

As we must,

If we are to move forward

And leave the solitude behind!

This season has found many more snowbirds arriving from the north. Although many are friends of ours for some years, new ones are appearing. For many, the question in their minds is “So what now?” having recently retired. Those of us who have been in their shoes know that like us, they will find a purpose, whether it be assisting with animal clinics, supporting children’s education programs, serving up lunch at the local church or senior’s home, joining co-ops to support needy families, teaching English to children OR taking Spanish, or acting as a go-between with all of the above, spreading the news and being a part of it (Gee, I sound like Frank Sinatra…LOL) or finding a new hobby, like photography.

This poem is dedicated to all of the recently retired who have joined our community this year! Welcome to the best years of your life…..

The Purpose-Full Life

A purpose-full life

Is the goal of every man and woman

On Earth.

Many feel it has been achieved

Through our relationships

With family and friends

And work.

What of that life

Once one reaches that time known as

Retirement – forced or otherwise?

Sustaining a purpose-full life

Can be challenging and quite often-

Frustrating,

As one wrestles with one’s worth,

Vis-à-vis ‘purpose’ on a daily basis,

Far from the routines of career,

Often removed from children and grandchildren,

Often alone.

Getting up each day can be a real challenge,

As can maintaining one’s health

In these years.

What is the solution?

It lies in creating purposes,

Long before the sun rises –

One hour at a time; one day at a time,

Fulfilling these purposes

Before ‘our’ sun sets.

Let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year! I have never been one to do resolutions. I find NYE is a time to reflect on where I have been and where I might be headed, even though I know that spiritually speaking, there is only the present!  Having said that, this particular poem was written reflecting on my past journey and gazing into the waters while sitting on a distant shoreline last year…

Reflections

Sitting alone on the shoreline

Of a crystal, clear lake,

I gaze into the still waters

And catch a fleeting glimpse

Of an older man with white hair…

Can this really be me?

More than six and a half decades have passed

Since I entered this life.

How the reflections have changed

Over the years,

As the boy in the bathroom mirror

Evolved into manhood!

The transformation seems incredulous from boy to man.

The journey to this lake, at this moment,

Has not been without challenges,

Sacrifices, compromises,

Laughter, tears.

Each of those has undoubtedly contributed

To the graying, white hair,

The lines on the face, around the eyes,

The somber facial expression.

Is that a twinkle I see in the eyes still?

Or merely a reflection of the sun on the waters?