Friday, August 21, 2020

Late Years

Peggy is regaining her stamina in accord with her own clock. About the pace in which a melon ripens or paint dries. In football terms it would be a ten yard gain followed by a nine yard loss. I count that as a one yard pick up. I push but not too hard. She needs to reinvigorate after being deconditioned by eleven days in the hospital. At ninety-nine this is no easy task. She carries each of those years in her step; a century of freight.

Her spirit and her body are not yet on the same page. The vitality in her voice and voltage of her imagination must wait for her bones and blood flow to get the charge. She is not spent. Her best poem is the one she hasn’t written yet.

Aging is an adventure if you don’t let the inflammations, irritations and occasional lapses of memory get you down. We get to laugh at ourselves. It may be the gun lap but that can take years. In fact there is no clock; we swallow it along the way.

My dear friend, Roger, is in his final days. He chose not to have his brain tumor treated. He is leaving us on his own terms just as he has led his most remarkable life. Born in France in 1937 he was sheltered by a farm family just outside Paris during the war and came to this country ten years later to live with the family of his half-brother. Abused by the disturbed woman in that household he ended up at Vista del Mar where he spent his teenage years. He had a steep climb ahead.

He found his calling as a landscape architect where his burgeoning imagination blossomed designing parks and public space. Roger carried with him an enormous solitude out of which his creativity soared. He lived his movie; the storm and the wound, the insistent drive, fierce integrity, bold vision, robust aesthetic issuing from his indomitable core.

Organizing a garden is like writing a poem as it domesticates the wild but not altogether. It reenacts the cycle of life as Roger reinvented himself. Plants assert themselves bending toward the light. The poetry of bringing together disparate elemental life became Roger’s legacy finding expression in his watercolors, ceramics and glass work…and most of all in his loving nature. He had the gift of renewal and was rewarded in his final years with Adele, the love of his life.

Peggy, even in these dark times, continues to write affirmations. She has earned it. If they are love letters to her circumscribed world it is because she has found the joy, even eroticism in language as words seek new couplings. She has an affinity toward the light part of which is her own incandescence. As the photographer, Paul Strand, said, All light is available light. She bends toward the source.


  1. Beautiful Norm. You love for Peggy and your friend is palpable. You are great fun as a punster and so tender as a lover of people.

  2. Thank you for this, and for Peggy and for Roger!

  3. Thanks, the way I see it caregiving is another dimension of love. It allows us all to tap into those feelings.