“It’s been a full day,” is a comment of norm as fall’s setting colors settles into the evening sky. We’ve joked that this has been a season of maintenance as one farm implement after the other begs attention before returning to the mettle of its work. There’s been as much time on the stick welder as there’s been irrigating, baling, moving cattle, and harvesting the foodbank garden. Then when pasture work backs into pastor work, “It’s been a full day” falls into the air as easily as boots fall to floor.
Yet, when it comes to balancing a backyard supper plate of garden vegetables and beef cooked over wood coals and watching the West’s evening color show, there is an ease to the day. The anxious grandson takes as-little-as-possible time to eat and runs off with the dog. As they head toward the western lightshow it seems their romp leads them to heaven. Maybe it does.
I wonder, does the wellbeing of those “It’s been a full day” evenings last? I like to think so. Those elders who do not cling to societies claim of forever young and seventy is the new fifty, regularly have a good word alongside one of ache. They claim those full day sunsets as a gift. A type of gift that cannot be claimed by the youthful. Fullness of age lead them to stories of yesteryear, running with the dog, the pleasantries of love and wonder, and for the sly of heart, sex. Like grandchildren, the forever young often miss simple evening colors while the elders speak of distinctions between subtle smells of the orange sunset and its burgundy kin.
Hours after dog running the grandson will lie flat on his back and dream with the imagination that comes with three years of life. Soon afterward I follow with a more aged imagination. I like to think these full days will last until the end of days, whenever that might be. There is not great necessity that either body or mind be in the best of working order as those days role in, as much as having the fullness of imagination blending yesterday’s work—running with the dog or welding a broken shaft—to the dreams of this full day.
Perhaps the mettle of an elder’s grace is no more than that: to have the imagination to dream. Whether our age is 3 or 103, whether we run with the dog or sit and watch the dog run, whether we balance our plate on our knees or have someone feed us, as long as we dream of sunsets and full days we know pleasant stories of love, wonder, and—surely for the sly 103-year-old, sex.