(Or: Seniors weather the weather)
By Patrick M. Kennedy
The senior’ battle with the weather takes on temperature and wind velocity proportions unknown to the younger generations. Hot tempers can quell any tornado that tries to knock down a seasoned, wind calloused galoot with one foot anchored firmly on mother earth and the other in heaven. Currents of air are fodder for the craggy thick-experienced human of many levels. Temperatures, hot and cold, are, to make a pun, water off a ducks back. Seniors repel heat by reflecting back to the sun, and utilizing ice cubes to mix with their lemonade. The wind is a push forward when traveling with it and a boost up when walking against it. It is a tool for stability.
Weather is the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness, happy or sad, serene or grumpy, smiling or frowning, indoors or outdoors, hot chocolate or lemonade, sandals or boots, umbrella or parasol, and long pants or shorts. It is the state or vicissitude of life or fortune affected by disagreeable or agreeable atmospheric conditions. Seniors know all this after years of experience and dealing first hand with this friend and foe. The definition of weather could almost be the definition of a senior.
Summer, with its golden glow and high energy atmosphere is a relief to old bones and sore muscles that have been lingering and demanding full attention all the previous year. Everything is brighter, including the future and prospects. “Summer time an' the livin' is easy, Fish are jumpin' an' the cotton is high, etc. etc.,” Croons the singer in this famous song we all know. It captures the mood and expectations of summer for seniors.
Fall (autumn) is the season between summer and winter, a buffer between the good and the worst of the year. But some saw the beauty in the fall, like Emily Bronte, “Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree”. The leaves of trees, tough yet dying, have the splendor of multiple colors and shapes. Or as the author Albert Camus said “autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower”: To each his own. But for many seniors it means aching bones from raking leaves or dragging the winter clothes from the garage or attic.
Winter is without hesitation the grayest season of the year, which runs in the northern hemisphere, especially the northern states, from around November or December to February, and sometimes March: A period in which something is declining, inactive, or ending. A mummy of cold, wet snow blankets most of the earth and we wait for it to come back to life. In many seniors the warmth comes from within in the comforting memories that linger. It should be a comfort to know that in the depth of winter, you finally learn than inside you are an invincible summers.
Spring springs and things grow again. Sure, there are April showers, but they bring the joy of May flowers. “Sit quiety, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself,” a Zen saying. Of course, seniors know the reality that flower beds must be churned up and weeded and fertilized, and maybe even replanted. Little buds are poking out on the trees, and winter’s aching bones are starting to relax.
“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each,” Henry David Thoreau. This should be the motto of all seniors.