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As spring creeps up the mountainside to greet us at Vanaprastha, I think about the various ways we say hello and goodbye. A handshake or clasp, palms together as in prayer, a salute or touch, asking, “How are you?” or “Have you eaten?” or in parting, “Until next time” and “Stay well.” The Vernal Equinox, a time for renewal, resurrection and growth, also marks the passage of time. How did I greet each “spring” decade of my adult life, or how did I say goodbye?

To childhood’s endless summers and energy, I blew air kisses in my 20’s. My 30’s delivered long days of rewarding work and delightful children, but occasionally a tried face looked at me in the mirror, shoulder taps of the older woman I would become. A failed marriage introduced my 40’s; first with “do-over” grasps then, eschewing reenactment, welcomed reexamination. Celebrating my 50th birthday in Italy, I a matronly lady needed not to have worried about being pinched. But soon thereafter with winks, hugs and kisses, love and eventually remarriage surprised me.

Now at age 60, I nod when I recognize those whose “spring” experiences have guided them well, and smile.

Has spring ever greeted you with kisses that blossomed?

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