Saturday, September 8, 2012

Vintage Beauty

I am old. And it's not only me. My husband is old, my house is old, my horses are old, and my kids are old (er). But the older I and everything else around me gets, the more I appreciate 'vintage.'

I rode for the first time since the summer heat killed my interest, and was glad to discover that Relish is too old to buck anymore. His half-hearted attempts to be bad didn't faze even my old muscles.  His buddy Belle is now twenty-two (It seems as if she just arrived for my then ten-year-old daughter.) and maturity has softened her anxiety (where is my friend going???) and mare-ishness. (is there such a word?)  Here she is sharing corn husks with Relish instead of pinning her ears and sending him off with a kick. She's even happy to follow him around the pasture instead of insisting on being lead bitc . . . I mean, mare.  Laura and others have commented on the joys of having aged horses, and I am glad that Belle, Relish and I have gotten older--and calmer--together.

Since I got old, looking in the mirror is not fun anymore. But the outside me with its sags, wrinkles and age spots doesn't match the inside me. I find incredible joy everywhere and still have great energy, almost more than when I was younger and juggling kids and a job. (I still don't know how I did it all.) I love puttering in the garden, which is a delight even if my back gets stiff  after too much bending and weeding.  I still teach with gusto even if it's only part-time, my latest novel is going (although slowly) well and I have added the richness of my new antiquing venture, which has challenged my brain with new things to learn. Life is full and brisk -- until age catches up with me around 10:00 when I have to be in bed or else.

As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate vintage beauty,  my husband's grey hair and weathered skin included. Perhaps that's why I have thrown myself totally into auctions, flea markets, and yard sales, and get so excited about finding old treasures.  Friday at a yard sale, I plucked filthy and unloved keys, bottles, and pitchers from crowded, moldy boxes. I brought them home and spent the afternoon cleaning them until they gleamed. Not Walmart new for sure, but I love every piece.

What is your take on old things? Are you ready to trade your aged mare in for a spunky filly? Does the clunky pick-up not cut it anymore? Do you pine for the latest technological gadgets?

And what about you? Don't torture yourself by looking in the mirror for an answer. A better test is to look at the photo of the enamel pitcher and quilt. Do you see rust and torn fabric? Or do you see vintage beauty?


Laura Crum said...

Alison--I'm with you on the looking in the mirror is no fun any more. And I love my solid older horses. Most of my stuff has been with me awhile. It has some history to it. And no, I don't pine for new gadgets--they have to be forced upon me. I think you and I are on the same page (!)

Francesca Prescott said...

I loved this post, Alison. I quite like looking in the mirror until I put my glasses on...and then I see the wrinkles and the way my eyelids sag, and especially the way the skin on my body isn't nice and tight like it used to be. Oh well! I enjoy my life, I enjoy my garden and spending time with my husband and family, and don't really pine for new gadgets at all. Although I'd like a new i-pod as mine can only carry about three songs! As for the car, well I had to trade it in a few weeks ago after it packed it in and nearly killed me on the motorway: I'm getting my new black shiny wheels on Tuesday evening, which will be really nice!
Your garden looks magnificent, by the way, really romantic. Vintage is romantic. I guess we're horsey, romantic vintage ladies :) Which is quite nice, don't you think?

Alison said...

Yes, we are well-lived and happy ladies, Laura and Cesca! And I am with you on the new car, Cesca. Your experience on the crowded highway gave me a gray hair just reading about it!

Long live vintage (as long as we stay away from those mirrors!

Linda Benson said...

Pretty pictures, Alison, and I love the graniteware pitcher! I like old things, too. Old horses. Old dogs, and old antiques, too. But as for me - I prefer the adjective "vintage." Has a nice ring to it, don't ya think?

Christine said...

A lovely post :) I appreciate my gelding as he gets older too - a bit more laid back now.

Alison said...

Oh yeah, Linda, I agree - vintage sounds classy while old sounds, um, olllldddd.

Christine--I love Relish, my 'maturing' gelding, too. He's still got a little devil in him but mostly he's a sweetheart.

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