Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.
At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it moving
Beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.
And deep in mirrors
The face of the boy as he practises tying
His father's tie there in secret
And the face of the father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something
That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.
I recently found this poem by Donald Justice. Although I am 16 years older than the specified age I can say it is still like that - only more so. You are no longer on the landing but a few more steps up.
Every time when I get up in the morning I look in the mirror and I see my fathers face. He was only eight years older than my current age when he died and my last memories of his face mean the similarity is quite close. Every time when I get up in the morning.
My father was an active man but he never allowed himself to spend that activity in pure recreation. He was always landscaping the garden or refurbishing the house - building and improving. That was until he retired when he felt he had the time to play golf as well.
Me I spend my activity in running or cycling, with no objective beyond the sensation of the moment. I look round at all the jobs that need doing and how I could have made the house better, if only I had been more like my dad. But that is not the way it is - I have made different choices.
I run and for me that gently puts a foot in one of those closing doors and keeps it ajar.