Although they most commonly evoke images of wizards or rabbis, a grey beard is not something to trivialize or to discount. Much to the contrary, while any young man with time on his hands (which is one thing that young men tend to have in spades) can grow himself a brown, black, blonde or even red beard in a matter of months, no amount of will or patience can help that youngster grow a grey beard. No, a grey beard is something that can only come with time, and a great deal of it. It requires more than just the patience to wait a few months for a tediously long, thick or wild beard, but it requires the patience to have gotten out of bed in the morning more times than most young people today can even fathom. For all those grey beards (barring the prematurely grey, sorry), your facial hair represents more than just a rugged unwillingness to shave each morning. It denotes your experience, wisdom and knowledge of, well, of probably something, we’re sure.
Just as a beard was once held as a symbol reserved for the philosophers – most all of whom we presume to have been so rich in old-age wisdom that their beards must have been no other color than nearly-blinding white – so, too, are the elders of our contemporary society recognized and honored on sight, by virtue solely of their majestic grey beards. While one might assume that a brown, black, blonde or red beard is merely a passing fancy or an experiment of fashion, there is no questioning the validity, and the obvious permanence, of a grey beard. There is something authoritarian and academic about a beard of grey or white, something paternal and, at the same time, something ethereal, heavenly, nearly divine. When we picture Zeus, Moses, Plato or Jerry Garcia, we know in our heart of hearts that they’re sitting back somewhere, pensively stroking their full, grey beards. There’s just no more instantaneously apparent or physically imposing demonstration of the kind of special knowledge that can only be acquired through experiencing all of the richness of life, and that is why, today, we pay homage to the grey beards of past, present and look forward to gleaning wisdom from those yet to go grey.