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Thursday, 13 January 2011


By Joanne Zimmermann

We all drag around a long tale of history and as we age, it seems that is where we spend most of our time, regretting, analyzing, reliving, feeling guilty, etc.

But the only thing we really have left is the future. And no matter how old we are, until we draw our last breath, we have a future.

I like to think of us a seeds and we can be any kind of plant we wish. Lately I have been doing a little research and asked many people what kind of plant they are.

The results have been quite amazing. Some answer immediately, and others need to think that over for awhile.

At a recent meeting of new volunteers, each person introduced themselves in this manner. Morning glory was the chair as she liked to be up early. Willow really was like a willow, graceful and beautiful, charming us all.

There was a bird of paradise, three sunflowers, a rose and a shrinking violet, and a “bloomin idiot.” The maple tree read a poem about maples and later realized that there was another reason for his choice; he was a pilot and maple trees have those marvelous propellers raining down.

And we became a lovely Garden of Eden.

The insight and thought was marvelous and many became reflective and asked if they could choose another plant, realizing that what we choose to plant, we can become.

My hygienist said she was a snapdragon, a strong woman I know immediately said she was a baobab tree because of its very deep roots.

Two people chose bamboo, for different reasons. One man who was homebound due to pain at first said he didn’t know. But later he told his wife he was a clinging vine.

The beanstalk was not tall at all, so perhaps wishful thinking? The “dandy lion” was a funny, resilient man who sprouted up with not much care but brought a lot of sunny joy to us all. He remarked that all his hair had turned white and flown away.

Another creative lady later wrote to all the volunteers, "Hoe, hoe, hoe!" When asked what I was, I had to reply some kind of nut and on reflection, I chose a walnut tree. It has many obvious qualities and when I die, my bones can make some beautiful furniture.

All I know is suddenly all the complaining and sadness seemed to disappear in the marvel of creating ourselves anew. We are never too old to do that, to shed old stalks and old thinking. And just as with plants, the more tender loving care we give ourselves and our friends, the more we will flourish.

But please, go easy on the fertilizer.

Ms. Walnut

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


How delightful. And thought provoking. I will probably spend the day thinking about what I might be. Nuts will certainly come to mind altho, as my coffee cup proclaims, I'm eccentric not crazy.

Wonderful. I love it. The whole idea, the enthusiasm and creativity made me smile and start thinking. Thank you for starting my day off with energy.

Joanne, this was a great post and it made me think of Mary's Weeds story.

Ms. Walnut, I have a particular fondness for black walnut trees, from the days long ago when I would sit with my grandmother under her majestic (one and only one) walnut tree and eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Now I live in a grove of black walnut trees that feed well our many feisty squirrels.

Wonderful story and a great way to get people thinking. I'd want to be a hollyhock for they grow so straight and strong. I feel after all my experiences I am a little like them.

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