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A year ago in Lowe’s garden shop I was lured by an orchid. I didn’t know much about orchids, but this one looked like a sturdy lady that might endure my ineptitude. I couldn’t resist her charms.

She proved to be a real survivor, providing me with a few more blooms over the course of several months. After we’d had a relationship for about a month I decided to begin documenting our time together and I was amazed at the beauty of her blooms at every stage of their development, from youthful exuberance

and innocent fortitude, an excruciatingly beautiful trait possessed by the young,

to the refined and delicate grandeur achieved only in old age.

In January of 2010, the blooms, perched atop a long stalk, made a beautiful fan, boldly colored, smooth, sexy, serene.

Like a woman in full bloom.

By May the last orchid bud had stepped out to dance—saucey, complex, a woman in her prime.

In early June, the petals were drying, becoming translucent. There were fine lines, tiny ridges on the petals, muted colors at the core. The lady was still making a show, her strength and fragility merging to form an understated elegance.

At the end of June, the petals circled inward, the center becoming inscrutable, contained.

When held against the light it was as if the beauty of this solitary bloom were unbound,

like a woman in her garden, at every stage of her life.

The girl, the young woman, the elder pictured above are all Jeanne Hamilton, my mother.

even old things bloom

by Ellen Hamilton

I am looking for the beauty in wrinkles, those maligned signs of aging. Peering into the mirror at my own fears and prejudices, I hope to write some new songs about living in the land of the wrinkled, the wobbly, and brave. I welcome your comments and input about your own experience with aging and your struggles and successes in finding beauty in your wrinkles.

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