Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tumbling (into the Vale of Years)

Forty years ago this year I was a senior in high school, with my whole life ahead of me. As I look back on those days, the events seem almost like a play. There were times I played the part my way, and times I simply followed the "director", but never knowing how the story might end. It was such an exciting time, filled with endless possibilities. Mostly, I had no idea what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, let alone who I was.

One would think, though, I might have learned those things through the years.Today at 58 years olda senior yet againI like to believe (when my darker side is hibernating) that I still have my whole life ahead of me. But I still do not know what I want to do, where I want to go; and, sometimes, I'm not so sure of who I am. There are the obvious descriptions of course: sister, wife, mother, grandmother. But those are just labels. Memories are flooding back these days, and I look back over all the experiences in my life and wonder if they are simply disjointed occurrences, or if they are connected in some way. People tend to believe that with age comes wisdom, that everything is clearer and more understood. Not me. It seems I have more questions now than I did when I was in high school.

These days, everything seems to spark a memory. This year, especially, I have experienced births, reunions, marriage, the passing of people I seem to have known for a lifetime
—new life beginning, all. The stories are familiar, but I remember playing a different part in the original. And that's kind of bittersweet. We all enjoy being the "star" now and then, don't we? But there is something to be said for character actors. There would be no story without them. They give the story a sense of reality and familiarity (and, perhaps, a bit of spice!) without distracting from it. That takes experience. And as we get older, that is one thing we certainly have.

I think, for the most part, memories are, perhaps, the gifts of a life well-lived, even though they can be painful at times. If so, then I have lived a good life (so far), because the memories just seem to come tumbling back without end, casting their recollections, their tears, their smiles. And I'm definitely ready to make more. Quiet on the set...and, ACTION!


They come tumbling


on a beggars night


like the thunder in my head


jumbling my thoughts

into confusion


But they will not hear

they cast their recollections


(and leave me

with a borrowed tear)


for their intrusion


* "Tumbling" from Days of Fine Gray Ash

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