If you plan to grow old in Lake Oswego plan to endure the winter months, or enjoy them. We have incredible autumns here — red and gold, and glorious springs — pink, red and blue. But the winters are dreary beyond belief — never a moon, a sun or a star. Never a sunset, a sunrise or a rainbow, not even lightning and thunder and wind that could stir up the blood and show us what it is to live.

Winter here is closed, smothered, blotted out with fog and rain, and weighted down by air that is not a joy to breathe.

I was carrying on about this fog-smothered sky to my four-year-old great-granddaughter, “I haven’t seen a single star for months!” She thought long about it and timidly said, “Grammy, I saw a single star.”

It is true. The Eastern Star does shine through some slit in the sky outside my bedroom window every time I lay there grieving for one more death of my life-loves. The very heaviness of the cloud cover makes the star seem like a comforting miracle to me.

Through my cage-like windows I see only endless, oppressive gray, a prison of atmospheric grayness.

My 96-year-old sister and I brighten our days by talking every morning on the phone, reciting snatches of poetry we can barely remember. For instance, “In the prison of his days, teach the free man how to praise.” And I say to myself, “In the prison of my gray days, keep this old woman joyfully creating.”

And I do.

Phyl Kerns is a member of The Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

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