We have placed a high value on youth. Yet many of those that I have served through the decades are at the opposite end of the life cycle. What I love about working with people that are older is the history that lives within them.
Born in 1928, Bonnie is a patient of mine I see for home visits because of difficulties with balance. While having her in a modified Ardha Chandrasana, half moon pose against the wall (she had no idea this is what she was doing) she said to me, “This reminds me of the tricks I used to do on my skates.”
Being in New Mexico I asked, “Where did you grow up where there was ice for skating?”
“Oh I didn’t skate on ice. I used wheels. There were two things I wanted to do in my life. One was skating, the other was flying planes.”
She wanted to show me some pictures. Here is Bonnie at 20 years old, a timeless beauty. I never would have recognized the frail woman in front of me wearing a wig and housecoat as this young woman in the picture.
“Just stunning!” I told her.
“I was a local beauty queen winner”, she went on to tell me. Her parents never let her leave her little town in Texas to pursue her beauty career however she did go on to learn how to fly planes.
I couldn’t imagine how a woman sixty years ago would learn to fly.
“Who taught you how to fly a plane?”
“My husband bought a plane and I just taught myself.”
After buying a second plane from the El Paso Times, she and her husband delivered newspapaers to ranchers in southern New Mexico and Texas by dropping bundles out of planes.
Today you would pass Bonnie on the street and never know the pioneer who lives inside.
Our youth passes. Our looks fade.
Beauty is eternal.