Old lady sitting in the grass

January 25th, 2008

Last summer I saw an old woman sitting alone in the tall grass and looking out over the lake. It was hot, cloudless, bright. I wondered what she was thinking and why she was alone. Was she remembering a happy life? She seemed content now, but does that say anything about the life she’s spent? She was sitting near the path so maybe though she wanted to be alone and reflect, she also wanted people to see her and wonder. She looked happy, so I think I’ll choose to believe she lived a happy life. I’ll choose to believe that also about her recently deceased husband of 40 years, even though I have no idea if she has one—deceased or not. Oblivion. I don’t know if it exists. I thought about how one day either I or my wife will be sitting alone like this, maybe at this same lake, and remembering the other. I want those memories to make her content. I once wrote that “Death is the punchline of life” implying that life is a joke. Maybe. Probably. But hopefully it’s a good-natured joke that all of us can laugh at.