Crows Feet.

Could there be any less appealing name for what I see around my eyes in the mirror?

I first really noticed them yesterday as I was driving home. I’d been listening to the Showtime CD by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and when the song “Fill the World With Love” came on, I was overcome with emotion, and I wept. As I brushed away the tears, I glanced up at the mirror attached to the visor. I had bumped it that morning as I pushed the garage door opener, so it was hung at an odd angle. All I saw was the corner of my eye.

There they were – not just one or two, but ever so many lines, curving out from the corner of my eye. I adjusted the mirror and looked at both eyes at the same time, and sure enough, the lines had taken up permanent residence equally, evening out the effect.

Through my mind flew images from all the ads that come to my mailbox and which I see displayed on billboards lining the freeway: beautiful young women with flawless skin, next to the name of a treatment or potion that seems to promise it could make me look like she does.

I’ve seen the before and after photos of women near my age, having undergone various treatments, and how their ‘crows feet’ are diminished, and they do look younger.

I pondered, Where have the lines come from, anyway?

As I examined them, and then looked at the ones at the edges of my mouth that I found have become more pronounced, I realized most of them curve upward. That’s a good sign, I thought. At least they are a result of smiling!

I pondered all the things that had given me reason to smile over the past fifty or so years. The beauties of nature; the sweet fellowship of great friends; exquisite music; young love; holding newborns; thrilling achievements; kindnesses offered by others, both from people I’ve known and others given anonymously; deeply spiritual experiences; and budding rapport with my children as we move from a mentor-mentee relationship to fellow travelers on the pathway of life.

Were there other causes for those wrinkles?

Yes, as I thought about it, it became clear that I have had a habit of squinting to see things more clearly.  I did finally break down and buy glasses – but there was a lesson here for me, also. As I seek to see things more clearly, and as I continue on a lifelong quest for clarity and truth, my life gets better. My happiness expands; my outlook improves, and I am able to see the blessings and miracles all around me that I had been missing before.

I suppose I could pay to have those lines removed. Others have, and their skin does look smoother, and more youthful.

But maybe, at least for now, I could use the reminders they bring me, that I have so many reasons to smile, and that the strain to seek further truth is worth the effort – yes, even worth the crows feet.

I’ll keep them for now.

I love the scripture in Alma 5:19, where he asks, “Can ye look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?” I hope that someday, when I look in the mirror, in spite of everything else there is to notice, that is what I will see. 

Still smiling,


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