Old Can Be Beautiful

Ever since she was a puppy she has loved to swim.  Of course, she’s a lab.  For thirteen summers we have gone to a gorgeously beautiful New England lake where she tirelessly retrieves sticks.  Just mentioning the lake launches her into a dancing barking frenzy of delight.  That has not changed.  But something has changed.  That old gray muzzle holding a stick has a hard time getting out of the water and up onto the bank.  I used to throw the stick out as far as I could but now just enough distance to get her back wet is far enough.  The strength in her back legs is going and they tremble now as she waits for the next toss.  She won’t give up.  She begs for one more time over my protests that enough is enough.  As I look into her not so clear eyes I see her say, “Please, please, just one more time.  This might be my last time to come here.”  And so I toss it in the water close enough for me to jump in if I have to.  When we got home she got an aspirin wrapped in a slice of American cheese.

Getting up in the morning will be difficult.  She is beautiful in her old age. It is difficult to see old friends age. When I see them I remember what they were.  But we must never fail to see beauty in every age.  Young is usually just pretty.  Old can be beautiful.

I said “can be” because beauty is the fruit of what’s inside.  Old is not necessarily wise or lovely, it all depends on what has been growing through the years.

Written by Roger Bothwell on July 30, 2008