We Blossom and Flourish
By mark p
It was during the Pandemic that Gary began to be aware of his mortality.
He was 57, not really that old, late middle age possibly, not yet elderly , but then again, not exactly in the first flush of youth.
Approaching the 'Twilight Zone ' of life, and the realisation that he was no longer one of the generation who drove the world, not in his workplace anyway, there he tended just to do what was asked of him, and occasionally a wee bit more, his days of putting his work first were long gone.
He just kept quiet and got on with it, just like his folks and their folks before him, and folk of his background had done for years before.
His ability to become invisible in the workplace was amazing, he just got on with his work below the radar, and never bothered anyone, and mostly nobody bothered him.
During the time of the first lockdown in 2020, he had gone walking as many people had, and become more aware of what was around him, the shoots of nascent plants sprouting from the earth, the birds singing in the summer mornings , the smiles of people who politely let him pass and practise social distancing.
Walking in the park , he realised that he remembered when the trees at the edge of the place were planted, way back in the '70s , about the time that punk rock was at its height and when Elvis died, bloody hell, that was ages ago!. He and his pals had used the sapling trees as goalposts when they played football, and hung their jackets on the chicken wire that encased those saplings, it just seemed like yesterday.
People were like plants and trees really , just like the words of the hymn he recalled from his youth as a choirboy, ‘We blossom and flourish, as leaves on the tree , And wither and perish, but naught changeth Thee’.
His blossoming and flourishing had come and gone, a good few years back.
He could see himself getting older when he looked in the mirror each morning, the greying at the temples, the receding hairline, and his salt and pepper beard made him look increasingly like his late Dad. Nobody could turn back time, could they?. He laughed to himself when thinking of the song from the ‘80s by Cher, ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, even she couldn’t do that , though cosmetic surgery may have assisted her!
He walked past the park every afternoon, and each day noticed something new, the snowdrops were coming through the soil, and crocuses were starting to spring from the earth, then daffodils would follow , new life in a new year, or he supposed, a new season, as winter moved into spring, after the long winter months had finally dissolved into March, which this year came in like a lamb.
Gary was aware of the saying that March ‘comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion’ or vice versa, from his Granda talking about that back in the ‘70s.
Gary had remembered all these sayings Granda had told him, about the weather and the seasons, he would weave them into a short story or a poem one of these days, he recalled the one about St Swithin’s Day, the 15th July. He recalled sitting with his grandparents beside the River Dee on a beautiful sunny summer day, (were the summers really brighter in the '70s, or was that just a sign of getting older?) and Granda had told him ‘St Swithin’s Day , if thou be fair, for forty days t’will rain nae mair, Gary couldn’t remember the rest of it, so thought he would Google it later. These sayings all harked back to a time when old folk could tell what the weather was going to be by looking at the sky, having an awareness of what was going on around them, or at least that was how it seemed. Folk didn’t depend on checking these things on I-Phones or the like, in very different times. In the ‘old days’, folk were more reliant on knowledge, on experience, rather than a simple clicking on a link to a website as they did in the 21st Century.
This was how it was , being human in the ever changing world in which we live. Gary recalled his Grandma say the same things his Mum now said, the same catchphrases resounding down the decades, maybe Gary himself sounded like his Dad with inherited catchphrases and character traits, he had no children , so wasn’t aware if he did or didn’t sound like his Dad had. If he did , did it really matter, that was part of getting older wasn't it, becoming to look or sound like your father?