|"Maine Estuary", oil, by Candy Barr|
-- Walt Whitman, “To Old Age”
I am pleased to say that I am now sailing in the splendid estuary of the senior years, moving ever so slowly and easily toward “the great sea”. Living as we do on a scenic estuary, my wife and I have often observed the peaceful flow of water toward the ocean just a mile or so away, and it sometimes seems to me that my life is moving with a similar serenity. I started on my 71-year journey as a small trickle of baby-life, and the trickle, over the years, has slowly increased in strength and depth, and, in a leisurely and mostly pleasant way, has spread out to become, now, a still spirited but easy-going stream of elderly life. My days are not all filled with joyfulness, of course, but they are definitely filled with the reliable waters of an old life lived with a fair amount of steadfastness and fulfillment. I’ve usually, as we say, “tried my best”, and now the best years lie just ahead, where the flow of life lingers and loiters as it streams toward the measureless sea which some call death, but which Whitman and I call “the great sea”. Like estuary waters that don’t end when they finally flow into the sea, but just change and adjust and start fresh as a new kind of force, so will I transform at some time in the future and fold my way back into this immense and curious universe from where I came crying into my mother’s arms in 1941.