Yesterday, writing about my green eyes stopping traffic in China, I had to get a photo of said eyes. The thing is, along with the eyes, came my face. I’m nearly seventy years old, and I can’t expect to look like I’m not and the forecast is older, not younger. Still, I’m always shocked by the image.
My best friends here in Monte Vista are around my age. Without many heart-to-heart conversations, we know a lot about each other. Actions are revelatory. Last year, during the worst part of my disability from my hip arthritis, the three of us went to a flea market where I saw skis just like my old back-country skis. They seemed to reach for me. I reached back and cradled them in my arms, not totally aware that I had just discovered something important about myself. It was more than nostalgia; it was identity.
“You’re going to ski, Martha?” asked E, astonished at what I was doing.
She saw into my heart at that moment. The old lady carapace fell from me momentarily, and E saw another Martha. Since that moment, she’s been the staunch champion of my geriatric ski dreams.
One of my best friends, Lilliana Braico, is 93. She’s amazing, brave, inspiring, strong, beautiful. She’s an artist, still producing art. Her life has been like a film — and that includes tragedy. I love her very much and I’m so lucky to have her in my life, a beacon in the road ahead.
So, I’m an old lady. My “red Ferrari” is a pair of new skis that come out when the weather and snow are right and my bum knee is doing well. The trails were groomed again yesterday and I plan to head out this afternoon when it “warms” up.
I still crank up the radio when the classics’ station in Denver I occasionally listen to plays Steppenwolf even though in the interval (interval!) since 1967 I’ve loved a lot of other music.
My first husband said to me, after throwing my Steppenwolf albums into the dumpster, “There’s more to life than a 20 minute drum solo.”
Actually, that’s pretty much what life is. Play it loud.