David meets Emilia
As I emerged from my thoughts and looked ahead walking down the street, there appeared before me a small bent form shrouded in a long coat and hat. I thought this is the endgame, this is where we end up, our eventual demise, decrepit old age.
But as I began to pass her by, a whisper passed through me; “This is not just a bag of bones for you to illustrate old age. There is a being in there, a soul with a unique story to tell.” I turned around and it was then I met Emilia, a vital radiating intelligence; she had a sense of humor and joy coming through the life lines written on her face. When I asked her age, she retorted, “How old are you?” When I told her, she said, “you’re still young; things have changed. Only after 75 do you reach the old zone.” Actually she never told me how old she is. Emilia described New York as a great melting pot, speaking of the immigration history of many groups, the Scotts, the Irish, Italians, Poles; she being from Ukraine, etc.
As we parted some lines from a WB Yates poem flashed in my head:
“An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,”
(From: Sailing to Byzantium BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS)
Photos © David M. Grossman