You might be thinking, “OLD skin?! How can she be grateful for old skin? Doesn’t she wish her skin were still young, supple, and firm?” Well of course it would be nice to have the kind of skin that I formerly had, but what would be the point of wishing for it now? Why would I want my skin to be other than it is? It is, after all, the skin that has carried me through a lifetime of adventures and still holds my body tenderly the best that it is able. I’m grateful for my old skin, because to be otherwise would cause unnecessary mental and emotional distress, and without it life would be unbearable. I’m grateful for my old skin, despite its increasing fragility, its wrinkles, its crépey quality, its inclination to bruise and tear with the slightest provocation. I’m grateful for my old skin because as long as I can be aware of it, and tend to its scrapes and bruises, its basal cell carcinomas, its dry itches, it means that I’m still living.
Don’t look down if you’re squeamish. While I was harvesting, an apricot twig poked a dog scratch that hadn’t healed yet, and it looks worse than it felt. I’m grateful for my poor old skin, and for the compassion it gives me for my dear departed father, who got lots of bruises on his hands, and for all the elders with fragile skin who bruise and bleed easily and get by with equanimity and plenty of bandaids.