The introspective humdrum life of an eccentric hexagenarian.

Visit my other blogs: "Elderberry Bike Rides of Delaware
," organized bicycle rides for families, senior citizens, and anyone interested in getting back into biking; and "Cloister Voices," the collected thoughts of modern and ancient hermits, eccentrics, solitaires, wanderers, mystics, and others who inhabit the monastery within.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weekday Evenings at the Kirkwood Spa

The Jacuzzi is littered
with amorphous female bodies
too old for mating.
Like beached sea lions,
half-submerged and languid,
we rock against each,
gazing through papyrus eyelids
into effervescent water.

Only our diamonds still sparkle
and have kept their shape.

Displaced by bantering bulls
and the liquid iridescence
of adolescent females,
we ancient ones retire,
single file and silent
to the Desert Room
for a touching ritual
where postulants,
terry-turbaned kneel,
offering a cup of spring water
to the rocky gods of gravity and guilt.

Steaming rising, we are anointed
into the Chrism of Oil of Olay
while twenty feet away
in chlorinated deep waters
a rising, diving youth
arches her back
and breaks the surface.

~Pardes 2006 -

I went back to work after a nine day Christmas Holiday vacation and was greeted by multiple expressions of "my my my but you look rested." It was so frequent a phrase that I wondered how bad I must have appeared before I left. I know that I felt exhausted and wore the dilapidated musculature of a 63 year old in the body of an 83 year old.

However, the other actions of touching my shoulders, or gazing at my form with the other multiple comments of "you have to have lost 10 pounds!" intrigued me. Weight is weight and it never concerned me other than as a curious wonderment how gravity and gluttony can ravage a body on the outside while inside you still feel lithe and young. But this statement puzzled me. For the nine days of my vacation I did nothing but sit in a zazen position on my bed and watch movies, write blogs, answer emails from fellow bloggers, or sleep (not in zazen position). How is it possible that I could lose 8 pounds (verified on the morgue scales) in a mere 9 days of physical inactivity.

It's a mystery.

I used to belong to the Kirkwood Spa and would religiously swim every day and walk for miles around the track littered with other male and female bodies exuding a mixture of testosterone, estrogen, and that astringent odor of fresh sweat. All to no avail in terms of losing weight. I would shrug it off since in the old days when I looked like Twiggy, I felt like me and despite my growth sideways, I still feel like me. Feeling like me is a good thing and I wasn't about to make the chlorinated waters murky with the media's version of what "me" should look like.

Life got complicated with an advancement of work that left only complete exhaustion at the end of the day, certainly no time for a two hour trip to swim and surrepitiously observe the drama, not to mention the lovely forms of others. Then I discovered the joy of riding a bicycle which wasn't experienced as "exercise" but as a joy of remembering the wind in your hair innocence of childhood.

I rode for miles and miles and was transported to another realm of the sheer delight of how a body can perform when left alone, when not picked at with circuit repetitions on sweaty stainless steel machines, but just left alone to ride the wind.

I'm still me. I'm still the shape of a fireplug, just a smaller fireplug these days. I don't swim anymore but if you notice an older lady wearing a gold helmet on a silver bicycle adorned with panniers and flashing lights, that will be me. The real me. The one that will always be me. The one that never ages.


  1. What a wonderful blog to discover on New Year's Day! I will turn 59 this year, and yes, I too have discovered that somehow my body gets healthier when I don't work at it, and just enjoy it.

  2. Welcome Beth. And yes, you are right. Appreciation makes everything better all by itself.


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