I was in California last week visiting my dear, elderly Uncle B. and his family. I came home with copious pictures of mountains.
As a resident of flat Florida, I find mountains fascinating; layers upon layers of sediment, shaped by wind and water over hundreds of years.
Many have marveled at their impressive strength and beauty.
As my Uncle B. turns ninety this month, and my mom approaches ninety-two, it struck me that these two siblings are a bit like mountains themselves.
In their respective families, Mom and Uncle B. are both commanding figures, but in a quiet, resolute way. Neither are chatty, just for the sake of conversation. They observe and process privately, then remark, if necessary. Their Cherokee heritage is evidenced by their somewhat solemn and dignified nature.
They are both good story-tellers.
If mountains could speak, imagine the stories they could share.
Just as mountains reveal marks of distress, Mom and Uncle B. show the wear and tear of living nearly 100 years. They have surgery scars and laugh lines. They have bruising from blood thinners and bones that could snap as easily as brittle rocks could, with enough pressure, be sheared from their base.
But, also like mountains, Mom and Uncle B. have an inner core strength. And snow on top.
They are part of the Greatest Generation.
I didn't grow up in Uncle B.'s immediate family, but I suspect, as in my own family, he was, like Mom, the consistent, immovable force. There was a proper way to do things. There was a correct way to treat people. There was not much gray when it came to right and wrong. The important things were chiseled in rock.
Both Mom and Uncle B. are fragile now, and both are adjusting to degrees of dementia. But, they are still true to their nature; they are quietly reflective with a strong constitution that has sustained them for ninety-plus years.
They are still a commanding presence in their families.
They are cherished and loved for their years of guiding and protecting.
Like every mountain, they each have a rich history that includes rough waters, wind storms, green patches, and warm sunshine.
And, they both have children who are marvel at their impressive strength and beauty.