One day, about 3 years ago, I saw the first traces of fine lines appearing on my forehead. They snaked across it insidiously, daring me to challenge them with expensive creams and plastic surgery. I examined them daily, frowning discontentedly at myself, and looking for the slightest signs of deepening or lessening. There were good days and bad days, but one thing remained constant. I hated these wrinkles with a vengeance, and soon, they became the only thing I could see on my face. I thought about injecting myself with Botox, and nearly gave in several times. I was only 29 years old.
One day, instead of frowning at myself in the mirror, I smiled. And lo and behold, the wrinkles disappeared. Slowly, over time, these lines had less power over me. I stopped caring about them. I stopped examining my forehead in the mirror. I stopped thinking about Botox and plastic surgery. I stopped evaluating my worth based on the lines on my face.
Now, I am 32. The fine lines are more obvious, but when I see them now, I see a map that connects me to my father. This tracing of lines on my forehead matches those of my father's exactly.
Now, when I think about erasing them with Botox or expensive creams, I feel horrified. Because it would erase my father. It would erase the indelible link that I have to my history. It would erase this magical compass that I have in me and on me. A compass that always points me in the right direction.
Towards my family.
Wise words from Utah Phillips
Time is an enormous long river and I'm standing in it, just as you're standing in it.
My elders were the tributaries and everything they thought and every struggle they went through and everything they gave their lives to and every song they created and every poem they laid down, flows down to me.
And if I take the time to ask, and if I take the time to seek, if I take the time to reach out, I can build that bridge between my world and theirs. I can reach out down into that river and take out what I need to get through this world.
Bridges from my time to your time, as my elders from their time to my time.
And we all put into the river and we let it go and it flows away from us and away from us until it no longer has our name, our identity.
It has its own utility and it's own use and people would take what they need and make it part of their lives.
The past didn't go anywhere, did it?