A beautiful forward set me thinking. It said – “Keep a green bough in your heart, and perhaps a songbird will come.” 

There are some days when I feel really old. Those are the days when I tiredly move through the day and don’t want to move much. And there are dark thoughts and a heavy heart.  And then there are those days, when I am full of energy and work through the day, quite happily.  Then I question myself – So, how should I feel at my age? And how do I determine my age? Is it measured in physical years, mental age, spiritual age…….oh I could go on. Physically, years are counted from birth (and I believe the Chinese add 9 months). Do we have any years from our previous births added on and thereby explain young deaths……and “old age” deaths could be similarly explained. The mind plays games and tricks all the time. Sometimes the mind thinks young, modern and so in the times; and then sometimes the mind throws up thoughts that are many decades old. We still use them. The mind says -” Think according to your age!” But the heart plays a different game. So there’s a young mind in an aging body…..and, again I wonder what exactly is “ageing”. Many many moons ago, when my younger son was all of 5 years old or so, he was playing with a group of his friends at one end of a lovely verandah. All us mothers sat at the other end, enjoying our coffee. One of the children piped out loud about how his father was the strongest, tallest, etc. and it went on to “My mother is the biggest she is —- years old”. Of course, all the other kids were comparing their mother’s ages too. Then my little one, who could only count till a certain number, not to be outdone, loudly pronounced – “My mother is 20 years old.” I can’t forget the expressions from my friends……but it made my day and makes me smile even today.

No matter what my body and mind say, regardless of creaking joints and aching back, I am determined to keep that green bough in my heart, forever green. 

Will end with this poem that I wrote some years ago:

“I do not remember

the Years that I have.

Perhaps they are too many,

or too few.

My smile, you tell me,

is young and charming.

And there are lines 

on my face –

here, here and here.

And my eyes

you tell me

are a hundred years old.

How then

can I remember

the years that I have?”

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Anila Bal

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