Saturday, 23 March 2013
Winter and Old Age
She may well have been a great beauty in her youth, the face is fascinating now.
Not all of us age well. Not all of us started well and that doesn't get better as time marches relentlessly on.
There is a different kind of beauty which comes with great age, the sort of beauty which compels us to look again and again at some faces.
On Thursday evening I spent a couple of hours in the company of a group of fellow volunteers, wining and dining and getting to know each other better.
The group consisted of about 10 women and 2 men, aged from about fiftyish (the youngest), to eightyish the oldest.
As the evening progressed we exchanged small tentative snippets of information about ourselves and, as we relaxed into each other's company, more personal and detailed stories were offered.
Every face, while reminiscing became animated and full of beauty, while the basic features remained the same.
It was a very cold night, with strong powerful gusts of Easterly wind lowering the temperatures, yet warm and comfortable in the pub we forgot this nastiest of winters and our combined considerable ages.
While television programmes are full of adverts for miracle youth-recapturing lotions and potions, some of which probably do work to some extent, not one single word is ever uttered on the natural ageing process
which has a beauty uniquely its own.
To my (admittedly prejudiced) eye, nothing looks worse than an artificially crease-free, smooth-skinned, dewy-eyed face surrounded by a halo of bright red, blonde or black nylon-looking hair on a woman in her sixties or seventies.
When a hand is raised to the face to push back the hair, the contrast between the wrinkled veiny hand and the plastic-looking face on its lined neck is incongruous, while the softly wrinkled face with hair that matches allows the onlooker 'see' the person.
We will all (some of us already have) acquire a winter face in the course of time, but it should be full of a lifetime's experiences of life lived and loved, not a mask which offers no insight to what a person has been.
It is snowing heavily here once again, and those unlucky enough to be out and about in it will doubtless have pinched white faces and red noses, but, that is as it should be, A face should reflect what its 'wearer' is feeling, not the face of the person looking at it.
Whether you age gracefully or disgracefully, at least age naturally.
PS Don't forget the birds. They suffer in this weather.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 10:11:00 am