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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Silver Threads

By Lyn Burnstine of The Lynamber Times

I like having silver hair.
I like to look through the sparkling sunlit strands blown across my eyes by the wind.
I may not like what it signifies,
That I’m well down the slope of my remaining years.
But I like that it heralds maturity, wisdom and acceptance -
in me, of myself, of my age.

My eighty-something friend’s children don’t recognize how fragile and tired she is.
They expect her to cook for them and chauffeur them around as she once did.
Big-mouth me says “Stop dyeing your hair, then -
if you’re gonna’ look sixty,
they’ll treat you like you’re sixty.”

Another neighbor, hair newly-grown in after her chemo–
a cap of beautiful silver hair,
tells me her kids want her to dye it.
I restrain myself from saying,
“But it was ugly and fake-looking before; now it’s beautiful.”
I only said the last part.

I never even knew when my hair turned gray.
It was every color of the Nice n’ Easy box for twenty years.
But when the silver began to blend in with the dark blond,
Suddenly I began to hear, for the first time in my life,
“Your hair is beautiful!”
“Did you get it frosted?”
“What color is it, anyway?”

I never dyed it again.
Now it has become “Chlorine Champagne.”
I bought a wig for the days it looks green and windblown after swimming.
But I chose silver.
I want my hair and face to match.
I want people to say, “She’s aging gracefully, don’t you think?”

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Your poem takes me right into the swimming locker room where the topic of dyeing one’s hair has been, at times, discussed at length, especially considering the effects of chlorine. One such locker room friend wrote a lengthy feature article for the local newspaper. She had been dying her hair for years and for whatever reason stopped. The article was well written and made sense. Like everything else it’s our choice, and, for better or worse, I choose to dye mine. When my children expect more than I can handle, I remind them of my age telling them that I need advanced notice or just plain cannot do what they ask. Something tells me that no matter the age or color of hair, if you continue to do, they’ll continue to ask.

Amen, sister, amen! I love my white hair. And since I feel like I'm an accomplished woman, I also feel like I'm a model for how/what older women can be. How can younger people be expected to know that older people are still vibrant if we disguise our age with hair dye, plastic surgery, and the like?

You may just inspire me to forsake the Clairol. but not just yet.

Maybe next year when I am eighty.:)

Your hair is beautiful and you've earned each and every one of the silver threads. Beautifully written - as always.

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