The days of our years are threescore years and ten;
and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,
yet is their strength labour and sorrow;
for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
* * *
Last Sunday evening Paula and I sat on a small balcony outside our third-story room at the Waterside Inn in Chincoteague watching the sun sink slowly over the bay and squeeze through a bank of shredded clouds, ablaze.
A bird flapped silently through the gloaming. A skiff puttered homeward. Water lapped softly against a wooden pier. A raft of ducks squawked. A red light swiveled on a distant tower. A bottle of red wine sat on a table between us.
We filled our glasses and raised them to the dimming of another day on planet earth. We spoke of our children, our grandchildren, and of friends now gone.
Out of the blue last week, my six-year-old grandson asked me, How old are you, Grandy?
Seventy-four, I told him.
Seventy-four?! SEVENTY-FOUR?! Are you sure?
Yes, I’m sure!
WOW. That means you’ve been around the sun 74 times!
(I’ll take that. Way better than: WOW. You’re almost dead! But I get his point: I am on the dimming side of life, puttering across the bay.)
Don’t look now but our bodies keep slowly sinking down. This old world keeps spinning round. Years come and go. I never used to count. But these days I do.
Time flaps silently by.
It seems that I was 60 only yesterday, and 16 the day before that. By tomorrow I’ll be 86, sitting on the balcony, watching the sun set, raising a glass of wine, thumbing my nose at six-year-olds.
Paula and I have sat on that balcony at least a dozen times over the past 25 years, always in October. Chincoteague is not the most spectacular place on earth. It’s no Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls, or Isle of Skye. But it’s nice.
It’s a fishing village nestled between the ocean and the bay and just a skip and a hop away from Assateague, a refuge for migrating birds.
It’s a nice place to rest your wings, catch your breath, and contemplate the journey ahead.
Over a glass of wine, of course.
A moving meditation that speaks for an 80-year old too. It’s hard to write unsentimentally but sensitively about old age. Thank you.
Sounds like your days are still full and rich. Ah the Eastern Shore in autumn. Enjoy
Perhaps taking a panoramic, long-range view of our time on this planet is wisdom enough. Lincoln said it best: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Let us be humble and grateful for our lives, not matter how old or young!
Once again, your sincere reflections prompt my mind’s eye of so many beautiful sunsets; my heart of moments shared; my body of life lived; my spirit of days & years progressing; & I am grateful to share it all with my beloved community… raise a glass to say YES! Aho 🙏🏼❤️
“That means you’ve been around the sun 74 times!”
I like that perspective, and yes, I’ll take it as well. My 67th time around the sun is rapidly approaching… I’m in a period of time is retrospective and introspective at the same time (I think that’s possible, isn’t it?)… To what end? I’m not sure, but hopefully God will reveal some rhyme or reason… sometime.
Continued Peace to you and Paula.
Like you, I find the simplest of places are the most meaningful for us! Thanks for reminding us this entire earth is part of the “Kingdom of God”, and should be taken care of to the very best of our abilities, certainly not as we have been 🙏🙏
Fall seems to be a good time to reflect, especially for those of us who have been around the sun more than a few times. Seems easier to remember things that happened 60 and 70 years ago than what I had for breakfast.
Thanks for the lesson in contemplation. Of course, it’s not just the fact that you and I are adding years and experiences. The Village of Chincoteague is also, probably gone in a few decades. But, like the proverb, the only constant in life is change.
Pat and I just celebrated our 65 wedding anniversary this summer. We do remember Chincoteague and I hope you
not only enjoyed the environment but happened to munch on a soft shell crab sandwich.
Peace and health,
Just so beautiful. Nothing else to say. I’m going to check out your hotel on Chincoteague; it’s time for Bernard and I to follow yours and Paula’s tradition, and sit on that balcony that time of year, that time of day reviewing our lives, friends, families and with the bottle of red wine on the table.