Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Calendar of Life

There is a quiet sort of fear that comes
when the calendar becomes thin-
when that last blank page
has nothing behind it-
like a dead end
that stops abruptly
with no further instructions.

There is a quiet knowledge
that Time
messes with our minds.
We think that surely those seasons
did not pass before us...
That no way we have aged
another year...

We can't go back.
That is the saddest part.

I know I cannot bring back the sweet smell
of new daffodils and spring rain-
Of watermelon and cotton candy
and the feel of sunburned shoulders.
Of dew covered grass
and warm full moons
and crickets that sang lullabies
far into the night.

I can't even bring back
those golden leaves-
those sassafras smells...
and bonfires burning
and marshmallows roasting.

I can't bring back the night
my husband and I sat on the porch
and held hands...
saying nothing...
just watching the summer sky
until the stars came out...
both knowing that the day
would not last...
our hearts knowing
that there is no escape from
the calendar
of life.

I should have hugged more,
smiled more and laughed more.
I should have taken walks
and played games
and watched the birds build their nests.

I should have stayed up late,
counted the stars
and memorized my husbands eyes.

I should have eaten that last piece of
chocolate cake,
tasted the calamari,
and savored the wine a bit longer.

I should have been able to
look at the year
and see that my calendar was full.
That I succeeded in filling
every day with joy.

That time
did not get the best of me...

They say that we can always
turn over a new leaf
come January.

Do they not know that turning
over a new leaf
is as difficult as turning
over a cruise ship?
It does not merely float
over quietly
and painlessly.

Turning over a new leaf
is like shutting a heavy door.
It is like admitting that we failed.
Like saying everything behind us
was second rate-
that our slates must be cleaned
and our memories made better.

I watch the final page of the calendar
curl up on the edges-
The numbers grow larger
and less.
And I am afraid.

But, I will not turn over a new leaf.
I will embrace all of those that
have fallen at my feet-
all those that have surrounded
my heart and danced in my hair.
I will bury myself
in the trials and mistakes
and lessons I have learned.
I will age with grace
and breathe deeper.
I will kiss more.
Love more.
And enjoy my blessings.

And every moment
be thankful
that I can tear a page
off the calendar of life
and another
will be waiting.