The Passage of Time
I met this old man during my trek through the mountain town of Dazhai, China. My guide, Bart, and I were making our way back from the rice terraces when he recognized one of the old wooden houses build on the side of one of the mountains. He asked if I wanted to meet a very old man and I excitedly said yes. We knocked on the old weathered door and someone let us in. After a couple of minutes this old man came out wearing a wide toothless-smile and holding a tobacco pipe which he proceeded to light. He looked so frail but he moved about with a sense of purpose that beguiled his old age. I don’t speak Chinese so I did not even bother talking but sometimes you can understand so much by simply observing. I gave him the international sign for “Can I take your picture?” and he nodded yes, so I pretended to capture the essence of his life for a few moments.
Can you imagine what it must be like to live to be ninety years old? To go through a transition of boundless energy and relevance to becoming sedentary and potentially forgotten? You would have lived and loved, served and fought, and made innumerable impressions on other lives. It would afford you with the depth of experience and clarity of vision to look back and divine the things of real worth. From that vantage point you may caution those just starting the journey to be more diligent about their interactions and to take care for the relations they make along the way. I guess we can only hope that the passage of time be kind to us and leave us with the type of memories and experiences that enrich our existence.
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