The Daylily


You live in glory

for but a day, then leave us,

through courage or fear?

Daylilies bloom for just one day then curl up and die in their prime. They bypass the stage when petals shrivel and brown and linger until life’s end. Their short lifespan, and their exit while looking their best, reminds me of the saying “live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse” which actor James Dean has been known to quote. Dean’s life mirrored this sentiment, he loved fast cars and died at age twenty-four in an auto accident while speeding in his Porsche.

Daylilies got me to thinking about whether I would prefer to die in my prime or age gracefully. It would take courage for one to choose an early death, or abject fear of being old, or perhaps vanity can be a factor that wields such power in some. Since I am sixty-five, prime might have come and gone but I can still consider if I would prefer to continue living with a few more wrinkles and blemishes and aches and pains, or not.

For me this is a no-brainer. I am not afraid to embrace the changes that aging brings. I would take whatever old age offers and continue to live. I believe that I can still be of use on this Earth, and I know that I still have a lot to do and see and learn. I would gladly accept some discomfort and rolls and wrinkles to continue to enjoy the gifts of this world before I proceed to the next. The big pasture in the sky can wait if I have any say in it.