Mariah, telling of her life, recounts the loss of power that comes with aging, the losing of beauty, loved ones, independence and the keys to the car, friends, memory, health. A friend of mine, Eloise George, may her name be blessed, spoke of aging as living in ever smaller circles.We are living longer which makes going back up the steps, reclaiming power, possible. Maybe not the same way.
Mariah has a garbageman who passes on wisdom about step climbing. Calls it a kind of knowing. It's also paying attention and listening. I listened to a clerk, a small woman in a baby store, tell me she was old enough for early retirement. "Its such a little bit of money, isn't it, but all I've ever done is work and raise children. Seems like I should have time to enjoy..." She didn't finish the sentence but what she was imagining was shining on her face. And she said, "Yes!" and I nodded.
The redwoods are part of my going up the steps. I've been wanting to see the Great Trees for years. This summer, my family got me on a plane to San Francisco to stand in Muir Woods in the cathedral of living beings that touch the sky and to ride up into Sequioa National Park to do the yoga pose Standing Tree at the big toe of General Sherman, over two thousand years of age and the biggest living being in the world. Sequioas grow straight up then they broaden. And broaden. And broaden. A beautiful knowing comes from them. It turns the air into a reverent silence. And you say, "Yes!"