changing times, childhood, finding my way, growing old, life goes on, live and learn, memories, perseverance, photography

Marking time…

Lately I’ve been thinking about time, and how I’ve noticed the passing of time by different milestones over the years.  The first one that comes to mind was when we had vaccinations in school, I think in the third grade.  I remember telling myself that at least I didn’t have to have another one for three or four more years, I can’t remember which, but I told myself that it was okay because it was SUCH a long time away that the time would never pass.  That day would never come.  But of course it did.  And then there was the anticipation of being 16 and getting my drivers license.  By that time I did expect that the time really would pass, and the day would really come.  But really I hadn’t developed much more maturity because when it came to thinking about high school graduation I couldn’t imagine life after high school, so I wondered if it was a premonition that I would die young and wouldn’t have to face life after high school.  Fortunately I’m not psychic and that didn’t happen.

I think it was a quilted growth chart we saw at a recent quilt show that sent my mind down this path.  It was cute, the sort of thing you hang in a child’s room and note how much taller they are getting.  I never had one of those for my kids, but I remember being amused to realize that I could ‘see’ my son’s growth by how he no longer needed to stand on a stool to pee.  What an effective growth chart that was, while it lasted, until I was no longer needed in the bathroom.

I was 24 years old before I was legally old enough to vote, and I’m not sure I was ready before that age.  I anticipated my first opportunity to vote for President, voting for McGovern while living in CA but standing in solidarity with my home state of MA, and not much of anybody else.

I wished a lot of my life away in those young years.  Wishing the months away until the births of my kids, or my husband getting out of the Navy, and trying, and failing, to move back to New England.  I think I always had the feeling that life would be perfect if only the time would pass for these milestones to be reached.

Even now I’m not sure that I really appreciate each day that arrives with the sunrise every morning.  There are no more personal milestones to reach, that’s what grandchildren are for.  My own birthdays aren’t exactly a cause for celebration these days.  Now-a-days I’m marking time by refilling my weekly pill dispenser every five minutes, or so it seems. All the wishing time away in my youth may have caught up with me, finally, in these senior years.  I’m marking time one relentless week at a time, which I find annoying, but I suppose I should remind myself to be grateful each time I fill that darned thing back up.  One of these days it won’t be needed anymore, but for now please excuse me, because that’s exactly what I need to do next, or I’ll forget to take my medicine…

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Thanks to Norman Rockwell, by way of Pinterest…

a second look, changing times, childhood, connections, coping, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, growing old, healing, home, memories, perseverance, photography

Connections…

An uncle came to stay with me once, I’m not even going to try to think of how long ago that was.  He was an academic all his life, a college guidance department head, which is probably why he phrased it as wanting to see my ‘nest’.  That that thought came to mind seems like a natural progression during this nesting season here in Florida, when birds are on my mind a lot of the time.  And somehow that phrase further brought to mind something my closest friend’s husband said to me once after visiting with them.  While I had always felt the closeness between this friend and myself, communication was not so easy in the days when we both had little kids, businesses to run, and lived 3000 miles apart.  So I invited myself to visit them after many years, and when he drove me to the airport to leave he said that we were ‘two peas in a pod’, and that it was a crying shame that we hadn’t been able to be part of each other’s daily lives all along.  On my way to see them on that visit I had said to myself that knowing myself I ought to be nervous, after all I was going to see people that I honestly didn’t know, but I wasn’t at all worried.  And from that first moment that I stepped back into my friend’s life, and home, I felt completely at ease.  More than that though, I felt like myself.  My true self, the ‘real’ me.  Silly, huh?  Who’s life was I leading all those years, living all over the country and raising my kids with only occasional visits to the place I continued to think of as home?  Those were happy years that I treasure, but there was a little part of me that felt alone.  No, apart.  Disconnected.  But not any more, not since I’ve made connections to the past, connections that are mine alone.  Little children that we once were, and who have lived such different lives, are now knowing and cherishing each other in this last part of life.  How we got here hardly matters, it’s just so wonderful to be here.

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a second look, adventure, childhood, family, fun, memories, moments, perseverance, photography, road trip, second chances, technology, travel

I’m thankful for the memories…

I doubt that any amount of editing would have been able to improve the quality of these photos.  The movies they are taken from have been collecting dust for about 64 or so years.  The person behind the camera had his/her own thumb featured prominently in some shots, and each stop to record only lasted a second or two.  Trying to pause the film and take a picture with the phone at just the right moment was a challenge, and I would miss that split second opportunity time and time again.

But I hope you’ll indulge me this trip down memory lane because these pictures represent a favorite memory, and the only real vacation trip my family ever took.  We drove in a caravan with several other families, and I remember it so fondly.  I remember rafting in Ausable Chasm, seeing the colors of the rock walls rising up on each side of the river.  I remember going to Fort Ticonderoga, and the ferry ride on Lake Champlain.  But the memory I remember most is the pony ride at Frontier Town, and how mad as a hatter I was that they didn’t let me just ride that pony by myself.  I was sure I knew all there was to know about horses.  No, not only did they not let me just take off on my own, but they had my sister leading the pony.  If a cowboy had been leading the horse I might have taken it better, or maybe not.  I’m happy to say that it looked like I was having fun so I must have kept my annoyance to myself.  Seeing a movie of exactly the memory I remember best was pretty amazing.  What also stood out as I watched the movie was that I was amazed to see the actors galloping into town during the re-enactment of a bank robbery.  The visitors were right there, milling around, and they just galloped those horses through the town.  I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t fly these days!  And apparently water boarding was a thing too. 11-25train11-25rafting11-25lake11-25cowboyscoming11-25galloping211-25ponyride11-25ponyride211-25waterboarding

I’ve talked quite a few times about how much I cherish the memories I have from exactly this age.  From the neighborhood I lived in then, and the people who made a lasting impression enough on me that I never actually let them go.  And I’ve been so lucky to reconnect with them and to have them in my life again.  And now to actually see that little kid that I was., the me before I let the world beat me into submission, so to speak.  I liked that me, I’m glad to have her back…11-25cowgirlme2Thanks for indulging me this trip down memory lane.

'scene' along the way, childhood, connections, family, finding my way, friends, healing, life goes on, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Rivers and circles…

A favorite author of mine is William Least Heat Moon, and my favorite book of his is Blue Highways.  What struck me when reading this book was his descriptions of the land and scenery as he drove the blue highways on the map, purposely avoiding the major roadways to better appreciate the country and the people who populate it.  He was describing what he saw in his travels, but his descriptions showed me a connection to nature and the land that was so different from my experience.  Was it his Indian heritage that connected him in that special way?  I thought so.

I’m currently reading his River Horse, and have been for months.  It’s in Kindle so I can resurrect it whenever I feel like it, and I’ve forgotten about it for weeks on end.  In it he is attempting to cross the country by river, which, it turns out, is a much more complicated undertaking than I ever would have imagined.  But just now I came across a passage that really spoke to me.  He was quoting the famous Lakota holy man who says in Black Elk Speaks:

Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.  In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished.  The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it.  The east gave us peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance.

I’m certainly not an Indian, and not a deep thinker, but those words struck me because I saw my own journey into the past as a completion of a circle.  And I don’t think that having made the connections that I made on my trip has closed that circle in any way.  The heart-warming whole that it created is still with me…

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'scene' along the way, a second look, Camping, childhood, connections, coping, courage, finding my way, friends, leap of faith, memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Thinking it over…

IMG_1545I have a lot of time to think these days.  Here in the camper with the sounds of the birds outside, even at 4 AM.  And something, pine cones maybe, falling on the roof with a surprising thunk.  And my coffee, brewed outside on the little shelf which has a convenient plug right next to it.  Features of this pop up that I’m just now noticing.

I’m thinking about how homesick I got last year.  How much I longed to be back home.  I wanted to see the familiar places where I had expected to live my life back then.  And I wanted to ‘find myself’ again.  I thought back to the little kid that I think I was, confident and sure of herself, and wondered how I lost her when I let myself fear that I wasn’t good enough as I was.  A familiar theme for all of us I suspect, as we grow older and judge ourselves through the prism of those junior high and high school insecurities.  Everyone else had all the answers, I thought.  Little did I know then that I wasn’t alone.

I thought though, that the homesickness was a longing for the lost places of my youth.  But what I have discovered, now that I’ve turned my life upside-down and become a snowbird, traveling the roads that I longed to travel, is an amazing appreciation for the people I left behind.  Just because I decided that at this moment in time I was yearning for something doesn’t mean that it was the perfect timing for me to turn up on everyone’s doorstep.  And yet here I am, and I’ve been embraced at every turn.  They were as busy living their lives as I was living mine I guess, so maybe they didn’t miss me, but we are all older now and reconnecting to the past seems to be a welcome thing to do.  And maybe I did have a touch of the spunk I thought I’d lost.  After all, I did take off for parts unknown way back then.  I haven’t considered that it took a certain amount of spunk to do that.  Or naivety.  And, all things considered, I really wouldn’t change anything about my life.  It’s just this amazing feeling of coming full circle that I truly love.  I’m so blessed in all ways to be enjoying this adventure.  I wonder where it’s heading…fourthparkway.jpg

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Ready or not…

Time marches on in spite of me.  Sometimes I just need to process things.  I want to stop and think, catch up mentally when things seem to be moving impossibly fast.  I first remember feeling this way when my kids were really little.  They grew and changed so quickly, and I remember thinking that I wanted to put them in deep freeze for a second, just to catch up.  When they first started making announcements that you knew weren’t just a repetition of what you had said to them, but were an original thought of their own.  They became people, right before your eyes.

I have two sets of grandkids, the ‘big kids’ and the ‘little kids’, with a very large gap between.  As the two oldest grew up I was just as astounded as when my own kids did the same, but I told myself at least I still have the little kids.  Now the little kids aren’t little anymore, and the oldest one graduated from high school the other night.  I have an amazing set of grandkids, as I know we all do.  They are my greatest blessing, that and the fact that my kids are the people who raised these amazing kids.  But I’m scratching my head over the whole thing.  And the bug bites, but mostly I’m scratching in amazement because I tend to get lost in my own thoughts now and then, but then I resurface and come face to face with life’s milestones, ready or not…grad12