Monday, November 19, 2007


P9013809, originally uploaded by diahn.

There are so many textures to life. Some are rugged- weather and time-beaten, others are polished - made smooth by water or wind. It's the material that determines the outcome of weathering, not the weathering itself. Softer materials, like the barn wood in the picture, tend to show all the imperfections inherent in it over time, while hard materials, like river pebbles or sandstone outcroppings are polished smooth by water and wind. Their imperfections tend to be hidden over time.

People are kind of the same way, don't you think? I look at people like my grandparents who are resilient and strong, even well into their late 80s. They've been through The Depression, and World War II. They've lost parents and brothers and sisters, cousins and friends and a grandson. Their children have had their moments, too. They've lived and prospered and wept and celebrated. Their faces show their age to a degree, but their spirits have been polished by time. Their imperfections, at least to an admiring granddaughter, are smoothed away. They have seen so much loss and change and I've never once heard them complain about it or show any bitterness toward anyone or anything.

Others, much younger and made of much less hardy stock are so different. I won't call out names, but they've seen losses, too. They've been betrayed by friends and lost loved ones, but instead of being polished by those experiences, the experiences have gouged out great furrows in them. They may look young and impressive on the outside, but their souls are pitted and hollow. Their bitterness spills out onto everyone they come into contact with.

Is it just a generational thing? I don't think so - I've met people my grandparent's age that are just as bitter and resentful as some of the younger people I know, and I've met a few younger people who have been polished by life's wind and water and come out shiny and smooth. I'm not exactly sure what the right set of circumstances are that produce the different textures, but I do know this...

I want to be polished, not pitted. And I want my children to be polished, too. I want to be 90 years old and have my grandchildren look at me and see nothing but beauty inside my wrinkled exterior.

I'd rather be a river pebble than a barn board.