As I am getting older, I find I more often experience "fading." I will be alert, talking with someone, or doing some task, perhaps in the afternoon, or in the evening, and suddenly I become aware that I am fading. The energy is just seeping out of me. I feel done with whatever I am doing.
Watching a lovely peony fading away one afternoon this summer brought this home to me.
I sat sketching it while I was on retreat. I was struck by the fragile and poignant beauty of its drooping petals. Yet, the stem, the leaves, the plant from which the flower had bloomed was still vibrantly alive and greening with life.
Yesterday I sat in the hospital room again with my aged mother, and she reminded me of the fading peony. Her life, her beauty, her strength, her vitality were like petals wilting and falling away. Yet, yet......her spirit, her essence, deeper than her ageing body, was still greening with life, like the stems and leaves of the peony. And like the peony, I believe my Mom to be a perennial. She will bloom again in another Garden when another Spring comes.
And so, I choose to believe, will you and I.