I have long had the unusual gift of seeing through age — recreating the youthful splendor of the women I know.
We’ve all observed someone who looks vaguely familiar but unidentifiable. We either figure out their identity, or we don’t.
But something odd happens if it is a woman I spot but can’t name, especially someone out of my past. If I observe her long enough, my mind’s eye plays a trick. The decades drop away, and she becomes the young person she was. Her name returns along with her youthful bloom.
My male friends also remain young to me. It is not a failure to notice a receding hairline or changed hair color. Instead, their quality of personhood remains. Seeing them again recreates their essence, their encompassing and lasting nature.
I am not alone in this magic trick. Robert Heinlein, the great science fiction writer, described it before me.
He also understood it better than I, including that some of us experience it more readily in women. Heinlein used the artistry of the sculptor, Auguste Rodin as an example:
As I reflect on Heinlein and Rodin — both great artists as I am not — I will risk a few more words.
I see the grace, the spirit, the kindness, and the sparkle in such ladies. The special ones create an aura of enchantment, and I am taken in.
I am not simply a flatterer if I tell them they are beautiful. They remain lovely to me.
That is all that counts.
The top image is Gaze – 3, an oil painting by Rajeskharen Parameswaran. It was sourced from Wikimedia Commons.