Alone, a frail old woman slowly undresses in front of a cloudy, black speckled ancient looking mirror that belonged to her great grandmother. She contemplates the age of the mirror as she reaches up with her old fingers that are no longer the nimble fingers of her of her youth and she fumbles with the tiny buttons on the traditional high collared blouse that all the old women in her village tend to wear.
Staring back at her from behind the black speckles is the reflection of a woman she barely recognizes as herself. Her thin lips tremor as she silently counts. She figures that the mirror must be well over 200 years old now, and she sighs heavily and whispers to her reflection “I look like I am over two hundred years old”. She leans in closer towards the mirror to get a better look and notices that her white hair is so thin that it barely covers her pinkish scalp. Her eyes are sunken and a teary looking faded grey and her face is deeply lined. Large brown spots are scattered about her forehead, cheeks and chin, blotting out what was once a creamy completion. Once upon a time she was considered to be a real beauty. She Reaches up and lightly touches a sharply protruding cheek bone with gnarled bluish tinted fingers. She gently slides the tips of her fingers across her face causing loose, paper then skin to bunch up under them. She notes that the skin on her face looks as if it was haphazardly draped over facial bones much like an old thread bare dish towel that's been carelessly tossed over a pile of rocks and She thinks to herself: 'so this how old age decorates a face' and she sighs again, only this time her sigh is much deeper and longer.
With a shuffling movement She turns away from the mirror and looks around the room. It's a cozy, welcoming room that's furnished in the style of a bygone era. Her gaze floats across the room like a feather riding a slow breeze, floating downwards, gently bouncing off of treasured mementos . With faded ,watery eyes her gaze rest on one knickknack after another, just long enough to coax free a memory. Some of the memories are sweet and precious while other are riddled with grief and regrets.
In a dream-like state she is whisked away, carried to a mystical place of long ago where old familiar sounds and smells still dwell, locked in little bubbles like snow globes. Her senses come alive as a lifetime of memories burst free, twisting and swirling in her head. Lost in the echoes of her past she watches as a million events spin a unique tapestry, each golden thread is intricately woven into the lives of others. Each person is connected to another until the circle of purpose and reason slowly tightens into a million knots and before her face all of those knots morph into what was her life.
Just outside her tiny cottage the bright, cheery warmth of a golden sun belies the impending shorter days and longer nights as autumn quietly surrenders to winter. Seagulls fly over head, each mournful cry mingles with the others into a magnificent symphony, a symphony like no other .
Off in the distance, behind her cottage is a gnarled old tree that was once a lush green and filled with abundant life. It now surrenders her magnificent canopy. Her Brightly colored leaves drop off. In a silent dance they twist and swirl as they float to the ground. The earth below, now decorated with the old tree's sacrifice of multicolored opulence in commemoration of autumn’s last days.
Still standing by the ancient mirror the weary old woman struggles to pulls herself out of a trance like state. With quiet resolution she accepts that she, like autumn has come to the end of days. She removes her precious pearl earrings one at a time, absently minded she caresses their satiny smoothness with her gnarled old fingers and with great tenderness she sets them on her dressing table and shuffles over to her bed and crawls into it.
From her bed she can hear the sea's continual low, rumbling sound as frothy waves roll over each other in a frantic race to reach the beach, gliding over the sand making it look like satin. As the spent waves tumble back into the sea they leave behind little jewels. Beautiful stones embellished with intricate colours and patterns, sea glass and empty shells that were once filled with life.
The old woman closes her eyes. Clutched tightly to her breast is they tapestry that holds the of memories of her long life and she slowly drifts off, silently releasing all of her sweet memories. So many memories. Like a beautiful waltz that is danced to the symphony of the seagulls and the sea they twist and swirl until they fade into nothingness as she surrenders her final breath .
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