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By 11:15 PM , , , , , ,

Originally uploaded by looseid

"Do you want any rosemary?"

Out of the blue, the stylish older woman with silver hair asked me at the dog park. She had cropped hair a la Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby (how weird!). Moments before our encounter, I saw her climb out of her red pickup truck with a pair of Airedale Terriers in tow. She was wearing a taffeta dress that matched her hair and cheetah print patent leather slingbacks with bright pink lips. Not many people come to the park dressed in cocktail attire. And even fewer people can pull off this look, but she did with seasoned ease.

I've been coming to this park for years, but never have I seen her. I was taken by surprise, mostly because she didn't have a sprig of rosemary on her.

"Um." I said, trying quickly to come up with the correct response.
"I actually have a hearty rosemary bush at home already."

When in doubt, it's always best to present a fact. And that was a fact. I had an abundance of rosemary in my life, no matter how random her offer.

"Yes, they are hearty plants, aren't they."
Realizing that I was a bit confused, she introduced herself, "I'm the gardener across the street."

"Oh." But that still left me with the question, shouldn't you be wearing Carhartt overalls and plastic clogs instead of looking like a socialite in your kitten heels?

Intrigued by the mystery gardener I expressed my regret, "I wish that it was something that I didn't have growing in my garden."



"I'm Topher, follow me,"

Bootsie and I stepped out of the park and onto the road where her truck was parked. She reached into her truck to get her garden secateurs from behind the driver's seat and she clicked her way across the street. She grabbed a generous bunch of vibrant chive stalks from a flowerbed and handed it to me. The sweet onion-y scent swept across my face.

"This is gorgeous."

I told her that I've been admiring the garden ever since it appeared in the neighborhood. And that I wished that I could afford a landscape architecht to help me get my garden in shape, without missing a beat she offered to come take a look at it.

"You know, not everything needs to be about money." I kept asking myself, who is this woman?

Over the course of the next few minutes, we both learned that we're from New York City with an Ivy League education. She was interested in my textile background and I was envious of her horticultural profession. We agreed to meet at a later date to discuss both topics in detail. In parting, I mentioned that in my next life, I wish to be a farmer or a gardener.

"You may not have to wait till then." She said, in only the way a wise soul can utter profundities with such an easy-breezy Cover Girl way. Topher was refined but casual, direct but warm, and truthful without judgment. She would most definitely qualify a post on my favorite blog, Advanced Style, which features seniors with the utmost flair and ownership of personal style.

While it may seem random and out of the blue that I would meet Topher this way, it is also absolutely on point. I had lost control of my daily life in May. Stopped steering altogether. This usually happens around my birthday. It's not an uncommon phenomenon for people to feel like they need to be further along in life, once a year. But this year in particular, the shit hit the fan in May. Without going into details today (it's way too tedious), I had completely lost my way and was feeling quite sorry for myself. A lot of things happened last month, some of it even good, but I could no longer see the forest for the trees. So I stopped communicating, spoken and written, not being able to grab onto or let go of anything as this Project recalled.

Well, just this week, first week of June, I decided to crawl out from underneath the rubble of my self-pity. And it's utterly fitting that this silver-haired lady would be at the gateway to give me a gentle but swift kick in the ass. How dare I feel old and hapless when this straight-backed senior is so gracefully productive without yielding to her biological age. I've got a lot to learn still.

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