Peggy says it's her 89th birthday on Sunday. Anyone who has met her knows otherwise. My theory is that we may be the same age our whole lives; or at least get stuck at one or two places and live our lives "as if."
I was probably 37 during my teen years; too earnest, too politicized, too inner for my own good. I skipped puberty and went straight into early onset senility where I am now.Peggy, on the other hand, stopped in her late thirties and never left. So this will be her 50th year at 39.
If she likes announcing her age to friends it's because she can't quite get over it herself. She gives the finger to the calendar. There must be another way to measure the spirit of a person, the vivacity, creative impulse and embrace of the wonderment. Or maybe such a life force is beyond measure.
The disparity in our ages is in her youth that runs me ragged. The best I can do is get out of her way as her imaginative energy pokes and prowls across a broad terrain. Peggy possesses a remarkable enthusiasm for life. Let me stop at that word, enthusiasm....... originally, a rapturous inspiration by the gods. Inspiration literally means, the breath of. She breathes a rarefied air.
Even as the body takes its winter insults her creative reach remains in its ripe summer juice. Her poetry, now, is at the height of its astonishing power.
There is nothing weary in the way she receives people. Even strangers are fully met. I watch in awe as she connects with the soup-maker at the Soup Plantation. He barely speaks English but Peggy writes a poem for him and has it translated into Spanish.
She struck a similar relationship with a checker at the market. When the woman suddenly died Peggy was the only white person at her memorial service.
As witness to all this.... an elongation of youth, an ageless presence, a life fully lived, irrepressible, I look ahead to many more May 2nds at her side, amazed.