On June 22, Elizabeth Gilbert shared a brilliant post on her Facebook page entitled “WISDOM & AGE & WOMEN.” Like so many, I was blown away by it. It also reminded me of something my younger self had written 13 years ago (not nearly so brilliantly as Ms. Gilbert), inspired by some tulips:
I shot these tulips when they were perfect. I’m still waiting for the film. But now that they are faded, they’ve acquired a very different, and still very attractive quality. The dried petals and leaves seem to dance. They are filled with a different kind of grace, one filled with much more character and distinction. Perhaps this can be a metaphor for ourselves. We assume we are “better,” more “attractive,” more “perfect” when we are young and show no signs of our living, but maybe the forms we take as we age are at least as interesting as our more nubile selves. The flower ages gracefully; we fight our own fading, and twist ourselves into unnatural forms.—from my sketchbook, 7 February 2001
Interestingly enough at the time, I took a quick snapshot of the more “perfect” tulips, but felt compelled to draw the faded ones (above).