the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Name:
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.

5/09/2005

Age Parade

YESTERDAY MORNING, I felt a slight stiffness in the knee when genuflecting before taking my seat at church. Hey, let me tell you, it felt like a deadly premonition of things to come. And sure enough the heart-stopping moment came at the end of mass.

At the end of variously glowing, touching and comic tributes, three generations of mothers trooped up to the altar for their Mother’s Day Blessing.

It was an impressive aging process on parade.

The young (?) moms, the older mu qings and the aged amas. Young mother hens, (no more spring chicken!), mutton dressed as lamb and turkeys.

Aging, as this Mother’s Day parade plainly shows, is a very visible and public process. For totally different reasons, this parade compelled a pause for serious thought.

From infancy to childhood, to youth through adulthood, right to the decaying end of the life-span spectrum, growing old(er) is a process of either running out or filling up. [Funny how two alphabets (er) can make all the difference doesn’t it?]

When you are old, you are expected by the cruel clichés of society to give things up: desire and desirability, ambition, eagerness, passion, anger, beauty, selfishness, hope. In return for this, you are expected to attain a weary kind of wisdom and peace. 'When you are old and grey and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire...'

No wonder we fear this journey, which seems to be all about loss:

Stay near me
do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
To A Butterfly - WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

In our bathroom and bedtime rituals, we wage war upon our faces and bodies, but the skin we see is already dead. It flakes away, as if in life we are turning to dust. It does no good to rub rejuvenating cream into it (which I nevertheless do every evening). We may cover it with make-up, paint a face that we want on to the face that is starting to remind us where we are headed. But make-up can't hide the ravages of time. You have to do more than colour it in.

We (vainly, and in vain!) try and prevent it with anti-aging whatnots, we dress young, speak in the language of youth. For tomorrow is for the young. On magazine covers are young faces, glossy bodies, taut limbs, models who look like waifs and like children. Youth as a valuable commodity, age as a time of diminishing returns.

So, again, what’s the alternative to growing older?

The answer, of course, is Death.

wits0 says: “when there is life, there is death.”

So, next up… “But there is more life in death than there is death in life…”

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5 Comments:

Blogger 5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Yesterday, our parish priest called us all to the altar. After some words from him, almost every moms there got tears in their eyes. He said something like behind every great man, there is a great mom. Can't remember much, sniff, sniff, felt top of the world being serenade by the cantors with song from Michael Bolton - Tell me how am I gonna live without you.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Hi!

Thanks for linking my page.

One insight I'd like to share with you. The end point of existence is death, but the end point of life...is life itself. The journey is the destination. The purpose is the seeking of purpose.

God bless.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Lucia Lai said...

there used to be a riddle that asks "what goes up and never comes down again?". people used to crack their head thinking of it since anything that goes up will come down (newton's law).

the answer is AGE!

in our SFX church too there was a mother's celebration, where all mothers were given a carnation each as they entered church. then 4 generations of mothers went up to cut a cake and they together with other mothers were blessed and prayed over. there was a song too by a child and after mass there was fellowship.

many people seems to fear getting old. i don't. what i fear is old and useless and immobile. if i'm old but still strong, that's ok. but if i'm old and become an invalid, i'd rather not be old!

11:32 AM  
Blogger percolator said...

5xmom,

Wait till the kids grow up. No doubt, there'll be plenty of those moments in your golden age, then ...haha.

At least you have 4 boys who'll potentially give you 4 DILs to 'fook see' you then. Even just ONE good one will be enough eh?

I have a friend who has such great wisdom (or cunning!) and mothering skills, she practically has insured herself of being a treasure when she goes into the autumn years. In fact she's already reaping the fruits of her labour even though her son has only just started working.

Maybe someday, with her permission, I'll blog about those
tips.


hi anthony,

The bLinking pleasure is all mine :) Thanks for the insight.


lucia,

OMG!! 4 generations? mommy, mama, ama, la mao.... would have made for an impressive parade.

To grow old, wise and treasured is the dream. Old and senile, dependent, burden to the young... is unbearable to ourselves and our loved ones.

M'sia is not a good place to grow old if you don't want to burden your loved ones.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking good may be vanity driven but not necessarily entirely so all the time with everyone.

Percolator, take a look at your granny's old photo in samfu. Imagine yourself so atired. Then look at ourself in jeans Which image of yourself represents dynamism and more suggestive of hale and hearty health?

The defect in just looking good is in that sole and only focus and not attaining more depth beyond. If one is not hollow, looking good is not a liability but a part of the bountiful life. Not looking so good shouldn't then become a depressing reason either.

~wita0~

12:11 AM  

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