And yet our culture often tells us that old age is something to run from rather than prepare for or discuss—until we get a jarring midnight call from a policeman, as Larry Forbish did in 2006: Your mom crashed her car, she says the street sign "jumped out" in front of her; please come and take her home.
I like to think that's the story Lynn meant for me to tell, the one that ends with each of us asking our own aging parents: What are your plans? How will we pay? What can we do?
As I write this, the smoke tree in my front yard back in Virginia is 15 feet tall, gorgeous enough that strangers sometimes stop to ask for cuttings. I think of Lynn and happily oblige.
It's high summer now, and the white plumes have just turned sepia. When a breeze kicks up, one by one they detach and drift into the ether, and before I know it the tree has transformed again, each rendering more beautiful than the last.
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