Home Tomagrams Who Is the Old Guy in the Selfie?

Who Is the Old Guy in the Selfie?

Who Is the Old Guy in the Selfie?
He looks familiar, but I don't have an older brother.
old guy in the mirror
He certainly looks familiar, but I don’t have an older brother.

Each new season can be a quirky, moody little affair, that at times falls out of synch with my resident disposition, though I venture to say most seasons would argue it’s the other way around. Whatever the case, certainly spring has done its part to awaken nature, feverishly showing off with record-breaking temperatures, burgeoning boughs and halcyon days once reserved for August, but its emergence has also heralded a reflective time for me regarding the place I call home and the face the stares back at me in the selfie or mirror, as the case may be.

greenhouse tulips
I hear the greenhouse calling, “water me, Tom, water me!”

I’ve found myself doing less talking and just plain doing less, not sure what that’s about, though I suspect some would welcome the change in my first lament. And dare I say in the mojo department, my “mo” is not speaking to my “jo” as of late. Perhaps spring is the wake-up call that the next six months will be very busy, that my time will be filled from sun-up to sundown. I like that projection, but for now I have to gather my thoughts about how to approach it. In my head, I’m 26, but in my ankles, feet, hips, knees and back, I’m entering the unfamiliar territory of aches and pains. I never thought a few more years around the sun would ever play a limiting role in my life (said the man standing on the precipice of geezerdom).

bluebells, honesty, and maple
My favorite garden space, because it’s pretty and very self sufficient.

Now please don’t worry; I’m fine, my health is fine, but now it just takes some serious conversations with myself to convince my lazy-boy-lounging tuckus that weeding is worthwhile; coop cleaning, necessary; orchard pruning, mandatory; and watering,  a therapeutic gift. The beginning of the farming season is always overwhelming. There are seeds to plant, fields to prepare and winter cleanup to tackle, oh yes, and bulldog butt rubs to administer. Blackberry brambles grow at breakneck speed, while Scotch broom and thistles stake claims wherever their seeds come to rest. Moss prefers my roof as a place to roost, and winter’s winds have downed a few trees teasing me with the possibility of some serious BTUs, should I ever restart my chainsaw. My greenhouse needs a thorough cleaning and some of its contents need pitching and composting.  The inside of the house cries, “Remember me, and that time-saving tool called a vacuum?” (I answer, “Vaguely.”)

Not sure how many times a day I say, “Oh, Buddy.” This is his hint to me, that it’s dinner time, which is also the reminder that it’s time to play or get a belly rub.

So do I have a point here? Oh, I don’t know. I don’t want to complain, nor do I wish to whine, but when did the guy with the white hair and bald spot move into my house? He’s gets distracted easily and sure takes a lot of breaks. Just sayin’…

If only it could cut, split and stack itself
If only it could cut, split and stack itself.


  1. Yup…and planter boxes to be built, meadow to be mowed, the banes of my existence – weeds and gophers, and then everything flourishes and the avalanche of bounty overflows … What I have worked hard for in the spring now covers every table, box, basket…staring balefully at me to make sauce, pickles, jam, chutney, pies, and to dry bunches of. My complaint and my joy and satisfaction all combined. I am also 26 in spirit and imagination, but my body and mirror say otherwise. They say, “You are almost three 26 year olds…Get out of that tree ! And for goodness sake, stop planting fruit trees.” They also say, “Keep moving for as long as you are able, it is a grand thing to be alive in nature.”

    • Sal, Great words to live by, and I say plant as many fruit trees as you have room and time for. I just got three in the mail. Will I ever stop planting fruit trees? Highly unlikely.

  2. Oh Tom, age does have a way of sneaking up on us. I like to think I can do it all by myself but reality is “oh my aching joints”.

  3. I stopped looking into the mirror–just too depressing! The young(er) don’t realize that in our minds we ARE still that amazing younger person we used to be. How about borrowing some goats to take care of the blackberries? After they pick them and place them in bowls for you of course.

  4. This time of year can really be overwhelming, can’t it!?
    We sit all winter, reading, enjoying the house, taking it easy……and then WHAM.
    Too much to do, too few hours to do it in. Yep. A lot on the plate.
    And you know darn well you wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Happy Spring

  5. Tom your writings always brighten my day … so glad when I find them … Reading here as I sit on my new found reclining lawn chair listening to the newly hatched starlings that found a nook in my eves … thought I had fixed that.

    • Thank you Holly, I hope to do more writing in the days to come, since I get up so early and need at three cups of coffee before exiting the house. Buddy snores and I log on. 😉

  6. Yes, but I try to remember what William Sloane Coffin had to say when I think of my own advancing decrepitude and your lovely post:
    “I’ve noticed that the older, the more gnarled the cherry tree, the greater profusions of blossoms. And sometimes the oldest and dustiest bottles hold the most sparkling wine. I’m drawn by faces lined with crow’s feet, those ‘credentials of humanity’ lit from within.”

  7. Yeah. I’m wondering who that old lady is in the basement who forgot what she went down there for. Or the one flying out of the house in her bathrobe chasing a cat out of her garden with a broom.

  8. SO glad you’re back – amid some introspection. As you see from the comments, you’re not alone! Over time, you’ll learn to ignore the pains and aches, and just carry on. Get someone to help with the most tedious chores – offer them one of those great pies of yours and you’ll have made a friend for life. That’s how I pay the fellow who helps me – with food! I’ll be turning seventy-five this June, and I’m still out there gardening, and you can see by the picture I sent you that I’m serious about it. Sure, I can’t do eight-hour shifts as I could when I was forty, but I still love it. Slow down a bit and continue to enjoy the paradise you’ve created. And for an “old” guy, you still look great!

    • Ah Sandra, words to make me beam! Thank you, and may I say you have a seriously beautiful garden. You’ve inspired me to get out there and resurrect the neglected garden beds. And I like you barter idea, very smart indeed!

  9. I think Sandra just said it best, but here is my go. How many amazing people have you written about over the years who are elderly? You admire them, you laud them, you love them. Change, as age, are both inevitable but neither come easy. I think you may still be grieving your first spring without your B and G but Buddy is doing a great job of reminding you of how needed and loved you are (by him and many others). Keep that handsome chin up. I, for one, check for your blog every day. Isn’t that something? I’d be happy to come help you weed. And please, keep us posted. Heart you. I just think you need to put some oyster shells on your wall…

    • Karen, thank you. I’m so feeling the love, and think you may have something with the oyster shells. I may have to put an ABP out to find some on the island. Oddly, they’re a little scarce around here. Thanks again for the kind words and keen perspective, and your presence here.

      • I have an overabundance of oyster shells just waiting for you. Already seasoned (non-stinky). Can bring them to you any time you’re ready. You can also smash them up for your chickens. Very good for digestion:) I have 7 girls going into their forever coop tomorrow!

  10. You know Tom, that picture of you looks just like this smilie! 😊
    I think it’s the rosy cheeks.

    Thank for your honesty in this post. this is why it is so important not to identify with the physical body, to find the ageless and deathless dimension that is who you really are. I remember reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” and learning that each soul goes through 8 million animal incarnations (from lesser to more evolved) before being born as a human, and then another 15,000-25,000 human lifetimes before being ready for enlightenment and free from the cycle of birth and death.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not super keen on any more lifetimes on this planet, even if they do have pie involved 😄😄😄

  11. Oh, what a lovely club most of us now belong to! I use to make a list every day of chores to complete. Now, with my extremely brittle bones, I dust a little then sit for a bit, repeat as necessary to complete said chore “huge sigh” but it surely beats the alternative😊 Love the intern idea!

  12. Hello Tom,
    Years ago, I discovered from a friend that was telling this delightful story about her mother and her friends having their annual lunch date. They where reminiscent of days gone by. During their conversation they all concluded that they still continued to mentally and spiritually remained between the ages of 18 to 28. Due to this, I often will ask senior how old do they feel. Very rarely do I hear an age above 30.

    I love the knowledge that one acquires with age. I know who I am and realize that it is great to not have to worry about life and “push the panic button”. I am free to give any opinion “I” want. I give gratitude for my health and all the wonders of the world. (sometimes I need to whisper in my ear to remember this).

    I love and enjoy all the rebellious “agers” who are all out in the world creating a wonderful life. Wrinkles and all! Just look at the light that sparkle in you eyes.

    From V and the delightful Furry Gang xo

    PS Could have written more but the gang wants their breakfast. Pronto!

  13. Oh my goodness, Tom! I can relate to every thing you said except the bald spot! I look in the mirror and think, “Who is this old lady?” When did this happen? I still feel young in my head, but my body tells me otherwise. Ah, but I relish each day and am thankful to be alive and well.

  14. Hey Tom, were it not for trees, I’d have a view of Vashon from my neighborhood, high on the hill above Des Moines. I first visited Vashon around 1967, when I was a young lad making my way in the world for the first time. I went specifically to visit the Beall Greenhouses, which supplied roses (and orchids, I believe) to the florist industry, wherein I was briefly employed. Like a muted siren’s call, Vashon has held an interest for me for a long time, yet I somehow never seem to get there. Now retired, I’m feeling the temptation to explore the isle with an eye to somewhere I want to while away my days. Like you, my years are limiting my ability to garden to the extent I’d like, so were I to relocate there, I’d want to have less outdoor space and enjoy others’ gardening efforts vicariously. Should I go exploring and happen to see a peach colored farm house, I might just call out, “Hey, Tom…is that you?!”

    BTW, I was super pleased to just read about the good rating you gave Fourth of July tomatoes! I’ve grown them the past few years and I love them. It took me some searching, but I found seeds yesterday in Puyallup and I just planted some under my plant lights.

    Patrick F.

    • Hey Patrick, so nice to meet you. Vashon has its way with folks, siren indeed. Well if you are headed this way someday, just let me know, and I’d be happy to introduce you to that peach colored farmhouse. Cheers! Tom


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