Gero-Punk Practice: Impermanence


Until I see it with my own eyes I don’t believe it.

It might be a rumor sent around to mess with those of us who suffer from this particular kind of yearning. (This yearning is life-long and it is incurable.)

Even once I see it with my own eyes, I still can’t easily get past my disbelief that something so wonderful is happening on a Thursday afternoon (or a Monday morning!).

The remedy for this disbelief is: Bundle up and go outside, just to be certain it is true.

Snow offers a perfect opportunity to contemplate impermanence.

When it is snowing, it is easy to believe that this is now and forever the quality of the world: strangely glowing, no edges, filled with almost inaudible sounds, still and chill.

The intensity of a life-long and incurable yearning for snow is strongly positively correlated with an attachment to the desire to live in a snowy world forever.

Snow offers a perfect opportunity to contemplate impermanence (and attachment, but that’s a topic for another time).

Sometimes when you wake up in the morning, the snow is gone. It is as if the snow was never here. You are disconcerted and forlorn and maybe slightly heart broken. 

Sometimes you watch over the course of a day as the snow slowly changes in structure and substance. You watch the snow transform back into liquid minute by minute. You can tell by the new sounds you hear that the snow is leaving soon.

Snow offers the perfect opportunity to contemplate impermanence.

My advice, if you want it, is that when you’ve verified with your own eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet that in fact the rumors are true, that snow is visiting your world, you must without haste bundle up and go outside.

It doesn’t matter what you hear about how long snow will be around. There’s a more crucial imperative: Play in this snow now. Bathe in this snow now. Consume this snow now.

Know this snow. Now.

Snow offers the perfect opportunity to contemplate impermanence.

About Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.

I am a freelance educational gerontologist, writer, community activist and facilitator. I am former Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University. I joined the faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and since that time, I've been involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners, including in Gerontology. As an undergraduate I attended Willamette University, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; my interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. My dissertation became part of a book published in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee--Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society. Over the past twenty (or more!) years I have been involved in inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; older women's embodiment; sexuality and aging; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and inter-generational friendships and cross-generational collaborative inquiry. I am co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (now in its 10th edition!) and first author, also with Moody, of the recently published Gerontology: The Basics, as well as author/co-author of several book chapters, articles and essays. I am on the Portland Community College Gerontology Program faculty.
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2 Responses to Gero-Punk Practice: Impermanence

  1. Helen says:

    What a fabulous post Jenny – I had never thoughts about snow and it’s lesson in being present – thanks! This is so very true!

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