(The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso)
Pablo Picasso has become one of my favorite artists. He was especially good at depicting street people and the poor in a way which brings to life their sufferings as they matriculate through this world. Today, I thought of his “Old Guitarist” from the blue period. The period name comes, obviously, from the coloration of the pictures. Blue is so appropriate in this case as this old man who had been such a wonderful artist in his day has suffered that malady from which we all do, or will suffer, someday – old age. His fingers are not as agile or quick, his tempos may be slowed or erratic but the rich sonorous sound he creates is textured by generations of experience.
Old age what is it good for? Today’s prophets of health and fitness would say Old Age – Ha! Your just as young, or old, as you feel so get out there and stretch, do yoga, walk, stretch some more and, oh yes, don’t forget the vitamins, the Co Q 10, the omega 3 etc. etc. Saint Paul, on the other hand, would admonish us not to be worried about the gradual deterioration of our bodies . He contends that as the body withers the spirit grows and the old body which held us in check and portended us toward sin will be shed and a new more radiant perfect body will grow in its place.
Today man met mortality as I attempted to walk about downtown Columbia in the Spring heat. Given it was after a meal and I hadn’t been walking as much as I should have recently, my legs felt like concrete posts. My feet were buckling under the strain. But, despite those handicaps I was able to make three and a half blocks walking to the restaurant and six and a half more on a round about course back to the office. The going was tough and the aftershock was debilitating but I survived and as they say if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger. Really?
But, today I couldn’t get the picture of the “Old Guitarist” out of my mind. Despite, weight training , walking and stretching and bolstering up with loads of health food vittles the legs just wouldn’t move. Agility we were not. I certainly hope Saint Paul knew what he was talking about. I suppose there is some proof in my own experience as my ability to rationalize and interpret the world has grown sharper while my motor skills have begun to fall by the wayside. I sense that there is much more “unseen” than there is “seen” and I find myself fascinated by the prospect of being able to experience it directly someday.
The Old Guitarist, I am afraid, I have become. The music may come out a bit slower but it is richer in texture and depth . And, don’t tell anyone, but many parts of the Bible are starting to make crystal clear sense.
So “Old Age” come on in; we’ve been waitin for ya, and we promise to give you a run for your money until our new bodies are quite ready. Until then we will play our guitar with its richest sonorous sounds until we can’t play any more. PN