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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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…

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Thoughts of winter…

Something caught my eye and I looked up to see a brilliant sunset going on just outside the window.  It caught me by surprise, it seemed too early in the day for the sunset, I thought, and yet there it was.  And as quickly as I noticed and hurried to take a picture, it was gone.  Used up, faded, and forgotten, aside from photos.

Much as I found myself feeling during my recent visit with my daughter and grandchildren.  Oh it was an enjoyable time, there were no problems.  Almost anyhow.  All was fun and games the whole visit, until I happened to glance into a mirror and found my mother looking back at me.  I never think of my age, I pretty much feel as good as ever so it hasn’t demanded attention.  But there it was.  Undeniable.  I’m old. I’m as my mother was during the last years she visited with us.  I remember how distant it felt to me to notice the signs of aging etching themselves into my mother’s face.  I saw that it was happening to her, but somehow I never considered that I would also age in the same way.  There is a lot of life written on my face, now that I look at it.  I earned the wrinkles and the gray hair.  So while I notice the changes in myself, I will try to remember that each sunset seems to reach it’s most glorious just as it slips below the horizon.  It’s a good thought, it’s a reason to keep going.  So yes I’m old, but my light is still burning, and I don’t think it’s even close to burning itself out, not yet…12-06wintersunset

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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???