Archive for 2015

It looks like rain. No, it feels like rain – the sort of day when I return to the window again and again to look for the telltale spots on the flagstones and wonder when the air will finally be relieved of its burden. My eyes follow the sudden arrival of a titmouse to the near-empty apple tree where only the squirrels and birds now enjoy an occasional bite to eat. Reminded that there are chores to be done before the rain comes, I grab my work gloves and rake and follow his singing to the backyard. It is time to rake the last apples and clear them away.

A soft burst of breeze interrupts the still air; and from all around, leaves come fluttering to the ground. On a still day in Autumn, if you listen closely, you can hear them whisper as they float by. I heard them today, as I raked in the leftovers of another year. I thought of how Autumn reminds us of the changes of our lives. As I pulled them together, I heard the leaves whisper. Ending. Over. Fulfilled. Abundant. All the words that described my life and the year that we now must lay to rest. Again, they spoke. Thankful. Cherished. Mysterious. Colorful. All the words that described the loved ones whose faces appeared in my mind and whose legacy lives in my heart.

My raking done, I carried the last bits of another year to the now-barren garden whose work is done. I spread them carefully on the soil of Autumn and know with certainty that they will be reborn in the first shoots of Spring.  I pull off my gloves and park my rake for another day. Yes, it looks like rain. As I turn toward the warmth of my home, I hear the final whisper of Autumn. Eternal.

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life…feeling good.”

  — Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse

It’s been a very long time since I’ve visited my blog; and I come here on the first day of 2015 with no promises of daily wisdom or meanderings – only a need to write that hasn’t surfaced for a very long time.  It’s 2015.  The government has declared me a senior citizen and insisted that I carry a card which attests to that fact, even though my sweetheart who is two years my junior still has my back  (and the rest of my body) insured against medical disaster.  After forty-four years of active mothering, I find my nest nearly empty.  The granddaughter who spent her first eighteen years with us is a working adult, and her place of employment is around the corner from her mom’s house.  She has moved, along with the clutter, the laundry, the noise, and the happy chaos of her friends’ visits.  Our youngest daughter, the favorite child, still roosts in the upper branches of the third floor; but her retail job has her busy at variable hours and her boyfriend manages to make his own retail schedule dovetail with hers so that most of their time off is spent together.  Talk of apartments is in the air, and I wonder what it will be like not to find the bathroom light on after she leaves for work each day. I will definitely need to find something to fill the thirty seconds needed to climb the stairs and flip that switch!

I would like to lie and say that I’ve been totally Zen about all the changes that landed in 2014, but I think it’s probably criminal in some way to lie about these things in print.

The thought has crossed my mind lately about the way we are born – again and again – into each new age and stage of our lives on planet Earth. My own entrance, back in 1950, was not without its drama and fanfare.  Because I was not born to conform or do things in any traditional manner, I decided to come down the birth canal face first.  This caused a good deal of trouble for my mom, who nearly didn’t survive my arrival; and it meant some pretty dire predictions for my future due to oxygen deprivation and the trauma of being yanked, feet first, through a cesarean incision and pulled back from my already-begun trip toward the outside world.  But mom did survive to have two more babies and still lives on at 92.  I was not impaired by irreversible brain damage (my siblings like to snicker at this part of the story), and I’ve managed to lead a pretty interesting life so far.

Once again, I find myself in the womb I have built over the last forty years or so, comfortable with my roles as mother, as wife, as friend, as worker, as – I hope – light bringer.  It’s been a great place to be, and the bonus of having a grandchild to raise has kept me involved with a much-younger peer group who have challenged me to quicken my pace and keep up. And now it is done.

Last summer, after a graduation ceremony brought our kid years to an end, I resolved not to be sad.  I would not mourn the wonderful years that had brought me to this point.  I would not struggle to stay in a time that truly did not exist any longer.  I would move on, wide-eyed and ready to see what lay ahead, committing to memory all the fun and laughter and sorrow and pain that had brought me to a new place.

Then it happened. On one of our first dates as only a couple, I twisted my knee while dancing with my honey and later discovered that I had torn my meniscus.  Surgery followed and shed light on the severity of my knee arthritis. SCREECH!!! Life skidded to a painful halt, and instead of beginning the Era of Pam as a time of freedom and wide-open options, I found myself doing physical therapy and taking pain medications and doing a whole lot of sitting that felt nothing like adventure. To be honest, there was a period of about a month when I felt kind of depressed.  My mind began to go to dark places. Was this the way the rest of my life would be?  Had I devoted ALL of my good years to taking care of everyone else and deprived myself of the chance to experience taking care of myself first? These were serious and heavy thoughts that had me feeling reluctant to leave the womb of my own creation and move on toward the birth of the next reality.

I braced myself with both arms and both legs extended and resisted the inevitable journey from the womb and into the real world.

Maybe a knee injury is a lucky thing when you’re trying to stay stuck in the past.  Sooner or later, you just can’t hold on.  Sooner or later, the forces of nature and time prevail. I realized that the best I could do was to be dedicated to strengthening my leg muscles so they would be prepared for a soft landing.

2014 is behind me.  Its memories are tucked away in my mental photo album, and I can visit them whenever I care to.  Today I close that book, tuck it on a shelf, and strain my eyes to see what lies on the horizon. Try as I might, I can’t see the future; so the best I can do is to learn from my first entrance to reality and simply lower my head, let go of my grasp on the walls of the womb, and trust that the Universe is friendly and will propel me toward something new and wonderful.

Hello, 2015!  Glad to meet you!