I am every age: Slice of Life

I am every age: Slice of Life

It is April. Spring. My birthday month.

My students ask “How old are you really?” as if I might not tell them the truth.

The truth it seems no longer has a number. Not a really number. The years now get mixed up with memories and dreams and visions.

Really, I am every age.

I see a small child in the arms of her mother at school. She grabs my finger and smiles. For a moment, it is twelve years ago and I am weaving through the baby days. Park. Sidewalks. Nap time. Snuggles. Snack. Sidewalks. Park. Dinner. Then, I am a grandmother with my granddaughter in my future arms, being aware of the solid body, the sweet smell, the joy of the giggle.

Standing under fragrant lilac trees, I am twenty-five. I walk around various city neighbourhoods inhaling spring and wondering if one day, one neighbourhood will be mine. I am thirty-seven sitting in the afternoon sun under my own lilac tree, with pale lavender blooms. I watch my children drive toy trucks through the garden beds. I am seventy-two with time to collect and arrange blossoms in a vase placing it where I will notice it often as I move through my house in my daily routines.

I hang the laundry on the line on the first warm enough day I find. I am fourteen clipping my father’s work shirts to the line in the early morning air. Soon, I will collect them and iron them in the cool of the basement away from the summer sun that makes afternoons unbearable. I am forty hanging out still tiny socks wondering how my children are possibly old enough for school. I am old. Quiet and alert. I hang out tea towels in the early morning sun and listen for the cries from the hawks hoping they have nested again this year.

On my morning walk I smell the nearness of rain. I am eight running towards home, wondering if there will be a storm with lightening flashes to watch out the front windows. I am the mother of seven-year olds that I dropped to school without rain jackets. I watch the sky wondering if this rain will pass. I am forty-two sipping coffee in the beach house we rented, up before everyone, watching the water. I am seventy-one, sitting at the table noticing how the rain pulls the branches of our old pine tree further and further down. Everything looks so green in the rain.

How old am I really?

Old.

Young.

Wise.

Ignorant.

Worried.

Brave.

I am every age.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

34 thoughts on “I am every age: Slice of Life

  1. Magnificent piece! It reminded me of “Eleven” too, but I like the way you not only looked back, but also forward. I also love the interweaving of the natural world with your memories, dreams, and visions.

  2. Yes, this is it exactly! I wonder, how can I be old when I still haven’t figured out what I will be when I grow up? Happy birthday! I love how you have captured that sense of wonder in the ordinary.

  3. Carrie, you are one of the most gorgeous writers I have ever read. I hope at one of your ages you will publish a book because it would be a treasure.

  4. I agree with Kathleen- with every slice you blow me away. You are a writer who can really bring the reader (me) into your world and I love the way you slid back and forth in time in this post. Beautiful images, beautiful words!

  5. You bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for taking the time to write and share, I enjoyed it immensely and relate so well to your descriptions.

  6. This is beautiful and I think like this often. I am still the same young child I once was but I have also glimpsed the lazy, slower days of my olden age.

    This reminded me, too, of “Eleven” like others have commented – but much more poetic.

  7. I felt like a time traveler while reading this wonderful, layered piece! Writing does that for us…makes us every age always, remembering and envisioning moments that have happened, are happening, and will happen. Thank you for capturing this truth.

  8. Such a beautiful slice. I love how you seamlessly weaved through various ages, some imagined and some lived. Happy birthday month! My birthday is exactly one month away! 🙂

  9. Oh, this was so beautiful! Such a wonderful way to look at our lives – as a collection of the many experiences we’ve had and shared with others to make us who we are today. Beautiful.

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