So I’ve been thinking about old age and dying, especially after the dream I had last night where I was trying to get off of a bridge littered with bodies and it was imperative (like dreams can be) that I not stop and help anyone (maybe they were infected with a ghastly disease, or something) and I kept dodging people and not slowing down and only woke up when I got to the other side, leaving behind, in a rainstorm (! but it was a dream) that site of sadness and death and human suffering. It took me a long time to come awake, and I watched the sun’s color paint our backyard trees, including the olive that has died slowly from an airborne illness, killing it from the leaves downward, and which needs to be removed.
So from there I began wondering about how many productive years I have ahead of me. It’s a fool’s quest, this kind of thing, because I could get wiped out on my way to school tomorrow (two major freeway interchanges, one bout of commute traffic). Or full-blown arthritis could arrive tomorrow and sewing would be out of the question. Or maybe those poor souls on the bridge in my dream are only a harbinger of some invasive cancer that I’ll have to navigate somehow. (Does the ending mean that I get to live?)
When you are thirty, these thoughts are considered morbid and completely unnecessary. When you are post-forty, they are a part of your life, especially as a friend or a grandmother or a close relative dies.
But yesterday, I did something life-affirming. I added the tag of “200 Quilts” to the post I wrote. I don’t know if I’ll reach 200 before my quilting thimble gets left in the drawer for the last time. But I took the ambitious step — a blindly ambitious step considering we can’t ever know the future but pin all our hopes on it — and declared my Portuguese Tile Quilt to be number 101 of 200, a lovely, big, ambitious, and history-laden bi-centennial sort of number. We’ll just see how it goes.