It has been said that getting old beats the alternative, and for some getting old is simply a time for resting and watching the sunsets after a busy life. Some time ago I stood on a dock, looking across the bay as a slowly setting sun turned the sky a brilliant rose and gold. A frail, elderly man appeared a short distance away, so silently I hadn’t heard him come up. After a short silence he said softly, “You know, some folks look at a sunset like it’s tearing pages from a calendar, counting off the days, but when you think about it it just means we’re getting close to the next day, and next day there’s always a surprise for you.” I said I never thought of it that way, and he said most folks don’t, especially those getting on in years. He looked across the bay at the last of the sun, tapped his cane on the wooden dock, and said, as he turned to go,

The sunsets seem to come now so darn fast
And morning sun just never seems to last
The memories are of the distant past
A movie with a once remembered cast
He smiled and said you find that you’re now slow
The aches you never had begin to show
The high is now less often than the low
And some of what you knew no longer know
He looked across the bay and seemed to tense
Then said for me time’s passage fair relents
And sunsets are for me mere incidents
I tell the man with scythe to take thee hence
He smiled and said I’m here a few more years
Though even now there’s much sand in the gears
For now though I choose laughter over tears
And face the coming sunset with no fears
I watched him walk away, so bent and slow
As all around the shadows seemed to grow
A youngster gently took his hand in tow
Lit by the fading sunset’s afterglow

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