The Vale Trilogy

- Joseph Uysetuan () - February 10, 2007 - 12:00am
Part 1: The Vale of years
WHEN we begin to have difficulty in going down the stairs, in alighting from a car, in getting off the bed, or in stepping down from a wheelchair, that means we are in the twilight of our lives. We are over the hill and descending into the vale of years - old age.

In our lifetime, there are two other vales that we have to traverse. Whether we like it or not, we have to set foot on both of them. One is the vale of tears, meaning, this tearful world of ours. Our world is a woeful one in the sense that it is viewed as a place of life's hardships, throes and troubles, etc. We experience this while walking along the path leading to the vale of years - old age.

The other is the "valley of the shadow of death." This is the vale coming after the vale of years. It pertains to the fear, torment, grimness and foreboding of death. We cross the bar. I lampoon it as "the vale of fears" to sync with the other two vales. Thus, this "The Vale Trilogy."

Meantime, this reflects on the "arctic regions of our live," as Longfellow puts it. All of us have to make this journey. When we reach a point, we still have some more stretch to go. It is the river of age that is a point of no return. There is the flow, but it is bound to end somewhere. That place, in this concern, is the ocean of Great Divide.

The vale of years may sound frightening, but it is also a time of life that is a premium, impressionistic and defining. We are crowned with the glory of longevity. We are gifted with the exclusivity to live to a ripe old age. We are propelled to the heights of wisdom, reverence and distinction.

The scary part is that we are going the downward slope. Our health declines. Our years become antiquated. We are shelved up. We totter with one foot on the grave. Everything is sinking, ravaged, debilitated. When you see a rickety jalopy, a drooping barren tree, or an old, eerie, dreary house - that's us, the fossilized stock.

Life is a progression of the stages of our years. We begin and end it through a series of evolution. It's in the order of - the weaning age, the teenybopper age, the age of consent, the age of responsibility, the meridian years, and finally, the vale of years.

Everyone of us has to go through this process of gradual development. No one can stay at his prime of life forever. No one can switch, jump or dodge stages. One has to conform to this natural growth.

As we go about the business of getting old, we must wake up to the call of life's purposes. We must make up for the misses and losses we let slip. We must shore up our identity with creditable footprints of life. We do this - in whatever stages we are in - the earlier, the better.

Consider this. It is in this aging that we are having a hard time in climbing up the stairs, in getting on to a car, the bed or a wheelchair. It is at this juncture that we are now descending into the vale of years. It is at this stage that we are fast becoming the vanishing breed.

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