Today is my birthday. I’m quickly slipping past my half century. Boomers still tell me I am young — because they are a decade or two older than me and they will not be old. (Boomers are so absolutely terrified of their impending nonexistence.) But I am happy to be old. I hope for a day when age once again has its privilege, when elders are respected, when wizened skin is an indication of accumulated wisdom. I am proud of my years. That there are more behind than ahead is no cause for alarm. My birthday wish for you is that you feel the same pride in the time behind you and never fear the time ahead.
I wrote this some years ago. I don’t think I quite understood it at the time, didn’t quite feel it. But now… I am beyond summer.
i am beyond summer now but not yet in winter’s grasp yes, beyond summer i am beyond casual fecundity and lazy green opulescence under a wandering equatorial sun i have no need of daisy chains of glorious pink ribbons because beyond the summerlands am i oh yes, i remember those days of heat remembrance and honour accordingly given for within time one can only go through and days stacked upon days lead to beyond and i am beyond now i am beyond beyond summer into the world of gold yes, silver, pink, green and gold and back again to silver is the wheel but i am beyond green, just gilded in all the joys of autumn and the sorrows for do we not bedeck bowers in bittersweet beyond summer and such sweetness such are the dulcet days beyond summer all golden afternoon and horn of plenty and the breathless merriment of gathering such luscious days of saffron and mead but even such as these, keenly edged in pale regret for summer is blind in its verdant lethargy spring is innocent and ignorant but autumn yes, autumn knows winter only too well i am beyond summer this day but not this day in winter’s grip just beyond summer and with the fall of leaves i am no longer blind all the riotous golden pageant of these days is buttressed by a silver silence so complete it breeds fierce desire i know for i am beyond summer now these autumn days these glowing golden autumn days, i know are a vain pursuit gaily gathering dry leaves from the wind still i cannot but smile even amidst these strident tears for these golden days beyond summer these golden days of fruited dreams the days of harvestland are the consummation of being i am beyond summer now and so all this i know this day yes, you may believe in spring live to yearn for lost youth you my lie complacent in the summerland not agitating green thoughts beyond bouquets but i i live for the golden days i know silver follows soon still i am beyond summer now and my desires are ripe and golden
© Elizabeth Anker 2021