As I stand at this woman’s grave, I cannot forget the words she spoke to me the first time I saw her:
"Wait until you are my age, sonny, you’ll see that the ground is closer but much harder, and you’ll see that it’s much farther from here to there."
It was a Spring day. I was in my early twenties, visiting my boyhood park. It had been so long since I had been there last. I remembered jumping up to get on a swing. I remember running from one end of the bark to the other was like taking a trip halfway across the world! But now…. as I look at the swing, I notice the swingset has sunken in about 2 feet into the ground. Also, the park has been squished down on all sides. Somehow the whole place shrank at a perfect scale!
"What happened here!?" I asked bewildered.
"What’s wrong?" an old frail woman walking by asked me.
"Oh, it’s nothing, I just remember everything being bigger here when I was here last, at the age of 7. It’s like I’m the same size I was then, but the whole thing just shrank."
"Wait until you are my age, sonny, you’ll see that the ground is closer but much harder, and you’ll see that it’s much farther from here to there. Some day, the world is going to grow so much, it will grow right over my head! I’ll be 6 feet under ground!"
How right this old lady had been.
In my thirties, I had gone back to the park. Another strange thing happened. I notice the swingset had not fallen into the ground any more than it had before, but rather, distances forward and backward were longer than they had been when I was 20. Also, I had a harder time walking between spaces I thought were narrow back when I was 20. I could not fit through anymore! Everything had squished more on the sides, but forward and backward directions were longer! If I were to turn 90 degrees, then forward and backward would stretch out and side to side would shrink!
In my eighties, I came back to the park again. I noticed that the swingset had come out of the ground a couple inches. Even so, the ground was definitely farther from my hips than it had been. I knew it was also more solid, so i had better be careful not to fall on it. Forward and backward, side to side, were much more like they were when I was a kid.
Now, here, at the age of 93, I am standing in front of this old woman’s grave. The stone says she was only 80 when she died. For some reason, the ground came up around her much sooner than it has for me. I wonder how much longer it will be until I am old enough to shrink so far that I will be in a box six feet underground……..