I am trying to take small bites of Terry Tempest Williams’ exquisite new book “When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice,” but I am failing. I am devouring it with unashamed gluttony. Fortunately her words, her voice, time and again, make me pause and become mindful of her eloquence and provocative wisdom. Often what resonates for me lies in a deep place where I can’t readily give it voice. But sometimes her words evoke an accessible, familiar refrain.
Terry writes “Age has given me arias.”
I remember that I have been saving classical music for my old age, like a small treasure I might hide from myself to be discovered later, a smooth river rock in the pocket of a seldom-worn jacket. Immersing myself in that music will be a treat in a time when other pleasures may be dimmed. Failing hearing can be amplified, especially by the outrageously expensive Bose headphones I plan to buy! The question is shall I continue to wait or is that time now? I am not guaranteed even one more birthday. But I like enjoying the anticipation, the knowing that something beautiful lies waiting for me when I’m older.
Is there anything you have saved for your elder years? What treasures have already shown up in your pocket?
One way that I have savored books is by not using a bookmark. This works via the same principle as purposefully getting lost in a new city to force exploration. I used it on Vonnegut’s final inter vivos offering and it made me miss him less.