I attended a Bite of Science tonight at Valencia Community College, East Campus. During a break between speakers, I wandered outside to warm up. Some of the coldest places on Earth are conference rooms in Florida! An old and glorious live oak greeted me from across the walkway. This tree has seen years of life, reaching toward the sky, bending toward the earth, spreading its limbs and leaves gracefully like a beautiful skirt all around itself.
The tree drew me in. I couldn’t help myself. Its old and gnarly bark hinted at mysteries of histories of years and years gone by. I gently touched its bark and marveled at the colorful lichen splotched across the deep, woody grooves. Never once did I think, “Wow, I bet this tree was beautiful when it was young.” This tree is perfectly beautiful now, with its bumps, its scars, and its meanderings. I just kept thinking, “I wonder what stories this tree has to tell?”
The tree reminded me of my grandmother and my mother. I didn’t look at them and think they must have been beautiful when they were younger. They were incredibly beautiful just as they were, with all their laugh lines and swollen knuckles. They lived lovely lives and told fascinating stories of memories of people, places, and experiences.
Growing old creates opportunities to share a wealth of wisdom of lives well-lived. It’s all a matter of perspective.
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