It’s really funny what little things in life make us aware of the passage of time. There are the big life milestones, like births and graduations and retirement. Moments which are designed to remind us the years are flying and that we are all marching onward into whatever the future holds.
But sometimes it is a very little thing that grabs us by the heart and squeezes. Sometimes it is almost nothing, but it feels like everything.
Time is moving. Life is passing. The only constant in life is change.
Today was one of those days for me.
I went for a haircut, as I do every 5 weeks. I got in the car and drove to my local hair salon. I’ve been coming to this same salon for my cut for about 25 years. When the place was sold by its original owner, I stayed. When it moved down the street, I stayed.
I’ve met my neighbors there. I’ve set up appointments at the same time as my friends on summer days, so that we could go out to lunch after our cuts and colors. The woman who cuts my hair was in elementary school when I started coming; she was a girl scout friend of my daughter back then.
They are both Mommies now.
For twenty five years, I’ve heard the town gossip while sitting in this chair. I’ve seen the flyers for fundraisers, for hockey games, for PTO events.
Years ago, when I was a girl scout helper, I met other moms and talked about upcoming scouting events. When I taught in town, I saw my students and their parents here. When I served for a few years on our local School Committee, I got more than one earful of unsolicited advice.
Long after my children graduated from our local schools, when the band concerts and hockey games were over, the salon was my one remaining connection to life in this small New England town.
The local grocery store on our Central Street closed long ago. The library is wonderful, but there is another one closer to my house. Most of my old town friends have moved away or have drifted from my life as the connection of our children has gone.
The salon was the one thing that drew me back into town, once a month, to catch up on the news and renew old ties.
But time marches on. The salon is closing.
Today I had my last haircut in the familiar, homey place. My last look at the photographs on the wall, done by a local photographer who I knew as I little girl. My last time checking out with the friendly young women who were babies when I started to come here.
Many years ago, when I looked in these mirrors, I saw a smiling young mother with thick, dark brown hair. Her brown eyes were clear and her jawline was smooth and slim.
Today I looked into that familiar mirror, from that so familiar chair. I looked into my tired eyes, framed now by glasses. I saw the white of my hair and roundness of my face.
I shared stories and laughs with my sweet hairdresser (who I will follow to her new salon). I paid for my cut, made my next appointment for the new place, and sadly closed the door behind me.
All that is constant is change.
It may be a while before I head back into my little town again.