Friday, March 13, 2009

Dear Past Me, Dear Future Me

The Sunday Scribblings prompt is
"Dear Past Me, Dear Future Me."



Dear three-year-old Me,
You thought the world would last forever, didn’t you? You know that you yourself have lived forever, and in a way you are right. The true measure of objective time is your own lifetime. Santa Claus has visited you at least once (that you can remember), and he probably will come again sometime, you think. Now it is enough to sit on top of the woodpile in the warm sun, smelling green grass and creosote, listening to the buzz of bees.

Dear nine-year-old Me,
What a baby you were then! Santa Claus comes every year, now, about one-ninth of a lifetime apart. You have discovered books and reading, and you are torn between going down the street to play with Barbara and Warren or curling up with a volume of Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia which Mama ordered from the door-to-door salesman (on the installment plan). You have worn out the page that has a picture of the planet, Mars, where you intend to go someday. Nights full of stars fill you with a sense of mystery. You intend to be an astronomer or a patriot.
Since you skipped a grade in school, you are studying fifth-grade American history, and you intend to be Nathan Hale, saying, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” Maybe you will be a soldier. Intellectually you know that death is final, but your body still knows that it will live forever.

Dear twenty-year old Me,
Here you are on the way to marry Otto, packed with your brother in the back seat of Miles, the Chrysler, on the way to Stillwater, Oklahoma. You cross the Colorado River by moonlight, and you can’t believe the coincidence as you sing, “When there’s moonlight on the river Colorado, I’ll be coming back, sweetheart, to you.” You long ago gave up any idea of being a soldier. It was when you were told that soldiers didn’t just die for their country, they had to kill for it too.
Last year at Stanford you helped found the Palo Alto Peace Committee. Someday in the future you think you will be an artist - or a poet - or a psychologist.
Marrying Otto will prove to be the wisest thing you will ever do.

Dear future Me,
Now that I have almost reached the age of 88 years, and still sentenced to that objective sense of having lived forever, the years flip past at an accelerating rate, and I hardly put away the Christmas decorations from one year until it is time to take them out again. So I will extrapolate, dear future Me, and tell you that every year will be shorter than the one before. There will be an increasing dread hanging over every day of sparkling world and loving marriage. It will not be because you fear your own death (and you find nothing fearsome about it ) but that it is inevitable that Otto and you will be separated sometime soon by death. You can’t imagine a world without Otto. Maybe it is best expressed by one of my poems that I have posted before:

The Old Lovers
Asleep, their bodies rest as spoon to spoon
or else are pressed together spine to spine.
One of them dreams a night of summer moon
when firm young bodies meet and intertwine.

One dreams they climb a trail in blazing noon,
leap boulders, savor scent of fir or pine,
gaze down on unknown lands they’ll travel soon,
their years before them in an endless line.

They dream apart, but each dreams they’re together.
They drowse then turn and waken face to face,
illusion’s threads unravelling seam by seam.
They touch the dear soft flesh of one another
then almost desperately the two embrace
fearing that one might soon hold only dream.

39 comments:

Winifred said...

That is a really lovely posting, I always enjoy reading your writing. You have such a wonderful way of reminiscing on the past and reflecting about the future.

Rinkly Rimes said...

How lucky you've been to have had such a wonderfully fulfilling marriage for so long! So few ever experience such a relationship!

Betty said...

That was beautiful.

anthonynorth said...

A beautiful post. So poignant at the end.

A Girl Named Me said...

I am..breathless. Truly.

Thank you.
AGirlNamedMe

Lucy said...

you are a genuine gem granny. This was so moving.

2cats said...

I live to read your posts. They always are so vivid in description. Thank you for sharing parts of your life with all of us.

Granny on the Web said...

Beautiful scenario you paint in your poems.
I am so glad for you that your marriage has been so fulfilling. Otto is well blessed with such a wife, and you blessed with his love.

Love Granny

Maggie May said...

What wonderful writing. I agree with R Rimes..... you are SO lucky to be as much in love today, as you were when you married.
Lovely post altogether....

GreenishLady said...

Let me add my few words to those going before me - what a wonderful, beautiful post, Granny. You and Otto are a special pair indeed.

jinksy said...

Expressed beautifully...

Jeeves said...

Just love this post. Lovely, lovely.

Linda Jacobs said...

This is prose poetry at its best! All the images you create with your words are so satisfying!

And the actual poetry at the end leaves me in awe! I love the way you used repeating words at the ends of lines!

Jay said...

Oh, how nice that was!

I already know how the years are growing shorter - and OH has said for the last two years that it was only 'five minutes ago' that he put away the Christmas decorations!

TJ said...

"Nights full of stars fill you with a sense of mystery." that is so much a part of childhood we can all relate to.
You made me cry!
Beautiful and so very close to my heart.
Thank you for sharing..TJ

SmallWorld at Home said...

Could this be any more of a beautiful post? Lovely.

Tumblewords: said...

A beautiful post. Your writing is always a joy to read - the imagery is vivid and the life is vibrantly told. Wonderful. Thank you!

Robin said...

Oh Phyllis, this was so beautiful. I have tears in my eyes.

totomai said...

oh this is an inspiring read. the sincerity is reflected in every words.

Tanya Gwen Minnick said...

Very nice post, i liked how you too spoke to yourself at different stages and ages of life- very nice.
:)

Kikit said...

I haven't read your other blogs yet but I think you became a great poet. :)

Megha said...

Wow ! perfect prompt, perfect post!

Captain Molecule said...

beautiful and insightful.

Jay said...

Just popping back in to say I'm joining in with Sunday Scribblings this week. I've opened up a sub-domain for my bits of writing, and you can find it by following the Mr Linky on Sunday Scribblings or going through Dogs and Depp. :)

Amy said...

You're always an inspiration when you write about Otto! I think you've got what I'm working so hard to build.

danni said...

"the old lovers" just resonates as loudly as a church bell in the backyard - just a year since i've been separated from my life's love by death, and it it something to be dreaded

They touch the dear soft flesh of one another
then almost desperately the two embrace
fearing that one might soon hold only dream.

holding only a dream is the most painful and difficult task there can be --- i'm enrapt by the way you capture that feeling with your words!!!

keith hillman said...

Oh Phyllis, that was most beautiful piece. What a joy it is to read about your blessed life.

alister said...

How unabashedly cute, your three-year-old self! How blessed you were to know infinity at nine! And how miraculous, at only twenty, to be embarking on the voyage of true love! You are living the best dream a human can hope to dream. Not only a dream, the best dream. I guess maybe danni knows the best dream is ultimately the hardest dream. But I don’t know that, and maybe you don’t know that for sure either. I hope it’s different for each person and I hope it’s all lovely either way for Otto and you.
missalister

Jennifer Hicks said...

love is touching and beyond the physical body....thanks for a beautiful post!

Tammy said...

This was so moving Granny. I understand that poem so well my eye's filled with tears. Simply beautiful. XXOO

Rena said...

A beautiful, moving post.
Have you read A Severe Mercy by Sheldon VanAuken?

KB said...

I love the way you have written to yourself at different ages. LOvely job.

The Things We Carried said...

Stunning. I am in tears. Such wirdom and love wrapped into a simple post of beauty. Found you at Jay's.

Beth said...

Dear Phyllis, Thank for another lovely post, endearing and heartwarming, full of wisdom and insights about long-term love. I'm glad you're back to writing and sharing your thoughts. I too don't fear death but those words you wrote about losing your life-partner resonate for me. May each day be full of love for you and yours.

dormouse74 said...

Im only three months into my marraige, but your words to yourself are both beautiful to read and inspiring to me
thank you

daria said...

Dear Gigi,
That was such a beautiful and moving post. It's always been so inspiring that you have lived life to the fullest!! Thanks for sharing.
xoxo Daria

linda may said...

Just two words here...
Beautiful
Blessed.

JonsterMom said...

Wow.

Elisa1 said...

What a beautiful post, I read it to my three daughter's ages 21, 17 and 10. They all thought it was "so cool" especially when you speak of Otto and your marriage to him (the wisest decision of your life). Your poem was very touching, I will have to share it with my husband. We have recently celebrated 25 years of marriage and it is so refreshing to read about two people who are still in love even after so many years. Thanks for your beautiful words.