a second look, dogs, finding my way, grief, healing, life goes on, loneliness, memories, perseverance, pets, photography, simple things, solitude

It’s not about the bees…

It’s not about the flowers either.  It’s about the dogs.  About how living alone, but with dogs, isn’t really living alone alone at all.  You talk to them, or I did anyhow.  And because of them you go out for a walk and find things like a cactus covered in gorgeous white flowers.  And you wonder how it is that you only just noticed them now that you are interested in photography, because you also walked the same route with the dogs for years before that was true.  Walking them also led to fun exchanges with people on the street, like the guy in the convertible who stopped to say, “I didn’t think you were allowed to have livestock in Spring Hill.”  He was referring to the fact that these dogs weren’t the daintiest of God’s creatures, all 250 pounds of them.  And then there’s the breathing.  They were out of the house for a month after my husband died, my son having taken them over while Charley was in the hospital.  I kept the house dark and quiet during that time.  It wasn’t a choice, I needed the solitude.  I don’t know how long that would have lasted if not for the dogs.  When I did bring them home to my quiet house I found myself listening to them breathe.  It was as if the house had come back to life, the house was breathing, and maybe I also took a breath.

I probably wasn’t trying to hold two leashes while I took these pictures with my iPhone 7+.  I used to drop the leashes and step on them if I could, but if not I’d let them go because they waited patiently for me to finish.  Nope, I wasn’t ever alone when they were part of my life.  I miss them.

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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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coping, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, healing, life, life goes on, loneliness, marriage, memories, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Time…

It was a gloomy morning, which matched my gloomy mood.  Today we were saying goodbye to yet another friend.  Yet again I would see a dear friend taking her first steps down the slippery slope of widowhood.  I’m five years in at this point, and I now know just how long this process is, this adjusting to life on your own.  At first I found myself astounded that a week had passed, then two weeks, and then a month.  Time, it seemed was relentless.  Impossible as it seemed the days kept passing, and it all became a blur.  Something I recently heard on TV struck me, it made me look online for a quote so I could repeat it correctly.

 

Time is free, but it’s priceless.

You can’t own it, but you can use it.

You can spend it, but you can’t keep it.

Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.

by Harvey MacKay

A silly poem from a friend warmed my heart and brightened this gloomy day for me.  I hope everyone takes time to let the people they care about know that they are loved.  Don’t waste your time, it’s precious…

connections, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, growing old, home, life, life goes on, loneliness, making memories, perseverance, photography

Traveling…

I didn’t drive for 11 days straight.  That has to be a record for me.  For 11 days I was surrounded, literally, by family, and friends close enough to be family.  I was hardly ever alone, and for the last few years I have been telling myself that being alone is just the greatest thing.  No witnesses is what I told myself was the best part, for my own silliness. And for the most part that’s still true.  But it’s so quiet in here now that the coffee pot has finished its morning duties.  The traffic noises haven’t begun.  It’s too quiet.  Turning on the TV might provide noise, if noise is all I wanted to hear.  This has been my home for a year now, but I’ve been traveling for half that time at least.  And now I’m here, surrounded by all my things.  Sentimental reminders of other times, of the people I have cared about my whole life.  But sitting in the dark and quiet I realize that I can’t hear the sound of breathing.  Of life.  That’s the sound that’s missing…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, connections, coping, death, grief, growing old, loneliness, marriage, memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunset

Bob…

His SUV was pulled over at a scenic overlook on Skyline Drive.  The back hatch was open and he was sitting in one of the two chairs he had placed just outside, angled toward the view.  His old=fashioned boom box was playing lovely, soft music, and I thought he was reading, but it turned out he was writing in a journal.  I had also pulled over at the overlook and got out of my car with my camera in my hands.  “You look comfortable,” I said.  “It’s our 50th anniversary,” he said, and I looked  but I didn’t see another person.  “We liked to come here”, he said, and he gestured to the empty chair and said, “She’s right there.”

She had died 7 months before, it was a blessing, he said.  He said that he didn’t want to brag, but his wife was very talented.  She baked and sewed, and she taught him to do those things too.  He said that he has her sewing machine and he is finishing all her projects for her.  They never let the sun set on an argument, he was proud of that.  He said he would always apologize and she would always say that it was okay, and then she would always let it go.  And they had had 10 children, it took him a while to mention that.  He showed me their wedding picture. They were so young.  And I thought of all that still lay ahead of them that day.  He said that he was writing it all down, their whole story, from the day that they met.  He was teary-eyed as he said these things, but he said that he knew that I would understand, and I did.

Skyline Drive was on my agenda from the day I left Florida in the first place.  I wanted to see color, but this color wasn’t the colorful trip that I intended.  I was going to try to be there for the fall scenery and I came close.  And I had just complained about the twists and turns of the roads in PA, and there I was purposely choosing to travel on a 100+ mile road of nothing but twists, and turns, and mountains.  But I was glad I was there today.  It was the perfect day to be there, because it was the day I met Bob…

a second look, faith, finding my way, friends, grief, growing old, healing, life goes on, memories, moments, perseverance, photography, road trip, Uncategorized

Gazing ball…

Her husband said we were two peas in a pod.  He said it was a shame we haven’t lived close enough to be part of each other’s day-to-day life all along.  And now we are both alone, and I’ve come to visit for a while, but I’ve been a little too comfy with my oldest, dearest friend.  And too well-then-care-of, what with the toasted tomato sandwiches with just-picked tomatoes.  It would be so much easier to stay here and enjoy the conversation over coffee, and the cribbage by candlelight out on the porch, with a glass of wine.

But change is in the air, it’s time to move on, for both of us.  I will move along tomorrow, heading for coastline and lighthouses. And that’s as far as my plan goes.  Her plan is still writing itself.  I looked into this gazing ball in her garden today, and wondered if it were a crystal ball would I want to know the future?  Would she? Or would we rather keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust that we are heading down just the right path for ourselves?   Okay, maybe just a little peek???