While visiting an old schoolfriend in New England this past June, I found myself in a space ship with her and her three-year-old great-grandson. There were chair legs and a blanket involved, and a script being created minute by minute by the film’s director. Silas knew exactly what was happening and what we, the cast, were doing. Scene changes were swift. One moment we were approaching galaxy Z (don’t expect me to remember the plot) under the chairs; the next moment, we were firing missiles from the woodpile in the garden. Diny and I in our late seventies kept up as best we could, despite shortness of breath induced not just by age but by our gamely-withheld laughter. We were absolutely part of the story and in tune with its tension.
This morning, in an email to Diny, I wondered if and when I’ll cross the Atlantic again to have another wonderful play. But by that time Silas may be too grown-up for such games, and we – and our limbs -too grown-down.
Have I coined a new expression? First, we grow up. Then – let’s say after middle-age – we begin to grow down, some of us more quickly than others. Old age is a process of growing down, eventually and literally into the ground. Let’s play while we can.