contemplations on aging

Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” 
― Yoko Ono

I never thought much about aging until my 49th birthday two days ago.  I suddenly felt like I got hit by a Mack truck.   One day my mother will die.  One day I will die.   What will my kids do?  What do I do if my mother becomes incapacitated?   If I do not find companionship, I need to make a plan so that if something happens to me, someone would find me before I turn to dust in my own home.  (Hey, it happens).     The big questions about death of course, are perhaps unanswerable–where do we go when we die?  (I think we go to someplace good, with so much love that it is almost too much). Do we get to come back?  (Maybe, if we want).

The aging, though–that comes with its own set of adventures.   You’re exercising as you always do.  Suddenly, some ankle bone you’ve never heard of before starts mysteriously hurting.   You bend over to pick up something and suddenly you can’t get back up.  Knees go out.   It hits you like a ton of bricks you aren’t 29 any longer.

Some of us go through a mourning period.  Perhaps this is what the midlife crisis we all joke about is.   We buy things thinking it will make us more cool, more relevant.  Less old.  Kids start asking us what life was like in the 80’s.    Maybe, for some of us, enjoying the companionship that mellows after years of being together.  Maybe some fears about your spouse going before you do.

Maybe you’ve got your ducks in a row now.  Maybe, you no longer care what people think of you.  Maybe like the woman in the poem, you now wear purple and you spend your pension on brandy and the dime slots in the casino.   Maybe you’re no longer insecure.

I’ll leave you with this poem and perhaps now you’ve found your niche, maybe you’ve found your home or maybe you never needed to leave it.   Don’t let your mind age.  Walk often, even run.   Resist the marching onward of time as best you can.  Love yourself.

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen” 
― Margot Benary-Isbert

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A rainstorm, a cleansing

I have written a lot about grieving and how ive carried it for years, deep down in a dark and quiet place because it was not possible to share such a thing openly. I had a husband. I had children. Nobody knew him. I was alone. I buried it and went on.

Until I came home. I have written so much about this. You have patiently gone along with me as I rebuild my camper and my life. This blog is as sacred as the confessional. I start from the bottom and work upwards.

Today it rained. It rained as it needed to rain and the water cleansed the smoke from the wildfires in California and some say Canada. Lightning strikes hitting the ground were impressive. I sat in the vehicle I was driving and waited for the deluge to stop because I couldn’t see. I listened to the pounding rain on the roof of my car and watched the rivulets of water streaming down the windows. Rivers of water. All I had cried through the years and now since I’d come back.

In the aftermath of the storm there is peace. The world is different for the change but it finds peace.

So will I.

I am not dead. I am still here. Still blessed with good health and children I love and a home and a job and the ability to do work I love through writing or Tarot reading . My life is not over. It is filled with possibility.

O Canada

Ever the predator

you hunt me still in the solo silence of Canadian nights where the tall trees circle you and the stars are

cut off

cut off from everything

you are

Cut off from humanity

your humanity shapeshifter wolf shedding

sheepskin

whether you like it or not you pad slowly in darkness knowing that you are condemned to the life of the lone wolf you are

condemned and condemning ever the

creator of your own prison how many have been your prey

death follows you for everything you touch dies

everything

I remember the hawk who flew into your window and the callous dead way he flew one last time as you flung his body over the fence into the woods

how houseplants died and how you tried to murder my soul how you slaughtered the truth

God knows you.

Predator.

I think of you in passing then life turns my head to other things like my lake and how I would not be home if I had stayed with you not know such complete happiness had I stayed with you and your sharp sabre like tongueteeth which kills tender souls

no

I belong in the here and the now on the driftwood log on Wisconsin Point at one with wind, water and Spirit

while you

lurk in the shadows knowing nothing but deadness and lethargy and the emptiness of the house at night where all of what I had lingers waiting for a return that will never come

if you were not so calculating

I could almost pity you

Alone

Wolf

but I know your kind

devouring tender souls

I see you in the tree line shadow man-child

the breeze shakes the leaves of the trees and you melt into the brush only

to return

predator

Feeling a little verklempt

I just got done doing my taxes and after feeling as if I have been pulled through a knothole backwards (I owe) now I turn to my writing to see what I can make of it.

I am undecided as to what kind of a writer I want to be. Short story writer? Poet? Essay/social commentary? My social commentary essays get the most reads on here, and while that would seem to be a possible indicator that I’m good at social commentary, I am not certain that is who I really am. One can do social commentary through story writing too, after all.

Figuring out who I am as a writer fits in with this transition period I am undergoing anyway as I try to find my niche in life. Going home is definitely one niche.

  • Home ✔️
  • Type of writer ??
  • Who do I belong with (TBD–this is falling into place)

I don’t know if any of you have got it all together. I don’t know that anybody does. Perhaps we all do the best we can daily. I hope I do my best. I make time for me now regularly to exercise or read or write or sometimes to sit in nature doing nothing at all. We need to do nothing at all daily for a little while because this world is way too busy and jumpy and anxious.

Anyway. I do a little of everything to see what I am. I am narrowing it down now, definitively.

Dear past me…

 I see you now.  You are young, and shy, and earnest, and you hide your shyness behind an outgoing personality that often comes across as brash and loud.   You are such an innocent.  You know well the power of people to hurt.  You’ve been watching people hurt each other at home most  of your life.    You’ve retreated to books and writing for safety, and you love school because you’re smart, and because there, you get positive affirmation for being who you are.

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I wish I could tell you all the amazing places you’re going to go, and the people around the world that you will meet.  I wish I could tell you that you travel because you love new places, yes, but also because you ran from love because it scared you, and you ran to get away from home.  You’re a runner.   When things get too hard in one place, you run to another.  You’ve started over more times than I can count, but the trick is, you can’t run away from yourself.   I wish I could tell you to be yourself sooner and not try to be what everyone else wants you to be, especially men.    I wish I could tell you not all men are bad, there are good ones out there, but until you think better of yourself, you won’t meet those good ones and be ready for them.   You’ll meet men who are emotionally unavailable like your dad was, but you won’t figure this out for thirty years.  You will believe that the failure of your relationships is all your fault.  But one day, you will understand that while yes, it does take two, you’ve been picking what you’re used to.  You’ve chosen what you believe you deserve and what you believe about yourself–that you are unlovable, invisible, and unimportant.  Your dad did a number on you.

You will meet a man who will turn a light on in a dark room for you.   He will be the light that shines on a whole new world for you.   He will be interested in what you think and who you are, and will like you for yourself.  He will give you Blake, and Dylan, and  Billie Holiday and Nanci Griffith, and you and he will spend hours talking about all the places he’s gone in the world and listening to this, and to all he knows of literature and poetry and culture will light a fire in your heart to see the places he speaks of, and  know more of the world he does, because you’d like to be able to keep up with him in conversation.  He will call you his girl with the gypsy feet.   He will be  the most confusing, wonderful , tenderhearted man you have ever known, and he will break your heart, not because he was callous, or heartless, or mean, but because he was good, and kind, and he taught you how a real man acts towards a smart woman he considers his equal. He will die, and you will want to, but you will live–first for him, then later, you will learn to live for yourself.

You will be broke most of your life.  You will  go to Ireland and write in your journal in Bewley’s Cafe. You will visit Shetland Islands and sit on the docks and write by the sea, with the sharp smell of fish, and the briny smell of sea water, next to battered old fishing boats that have stories of their own.   You will go to Belfast and look at the murals and wonder why people can’t get along. You will wonder why people can’t get along all of your life.   You will go to Russia, and see the Hermitage and the Bolshoi Ballet, and Moscow and ride a train across Russia with cockroaches for bedmates and cheap Georgian champagne while  listening to the life story of one of the coach matrons who tells you how her parents were collective farmers and she grew up wanting to go to college and become a teacher, but instead, works on the trains.  You will visit Moscow University. You will meet many Russian people who are emotional and passionate and good, and kind, and beaten down. You will wonder again, as this is the end of the Cold War, if Russia can learn to be a democracy.  You will find out they have trouble holding on to freedom.

You will become discouraged at the selfish, self centered nature of people.  Of the rich people who work the system to get what they want, while depriving others of what they need.  Greedy pepole who believe freedom is only for them while taking others’ freedoms away.  People who believe that violence is the only answer and power is everything.

But there will be moments, when the world reveals itself to be a miraculous, beautiful place. When you see deer.  When you see random acts of kindness by strangers.  When you see selflessness. When you see a tiny flower growing out of concrete, or see a sunset on a prairie in Nebraska, or the  Northern Lights in northern Minnesota. At those moments, you will believe in God.

Keep going, be strong, and have faith.  It gets better, girlie.   You will be much more yourself, more self-confident and you will know what you want when you are almost fifty, but….better late than never.   Your whole life will be a sacred pilgrimage to your sense of spirituality, God, and yourself. You get to help people, and love, and be loved.

You get to go home again, and be happy in the end.

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Love

It was a bridge across the forevers of time and whatever space we souls live in when we are not

here.

we recognize one another even when we are strangers.

You know the feeling, don’t you when you feel like you’ve known someone forever when you’ve only just met and most often we

were two ships passing in the night

we touched briefly and knew what forever was encased in long looks and conversations where each word we chewed and tasted and savored time

flew like sparrows dispersing upwards life the hourglass running out without

our knowledge until one day you were not

I just wander really. I’ve been lost since the ether swallowed you and wings drooping I’ve forgotten what flying was compass broken brokenness defined me

I spent years mending the tear in my soul until one day

I saw

love is the bridge connecting souls yours to mine never alone the deer show me you walk this earth still

love the

silver cord you on one side I on the other touching invisibly feeling the wind and the waves of that dreamscape where you

live now

death a middle passage from life to life

the birds know this as do the deer

severed

There will be no new memories. That is how it is when a life ends the seasons push inexorably on train tracks stretching to the horizon

somehow we go on despite the emptiness that defines our new condition

the hole never fills

There is this place you crossed over that looks like home only moreso and there I saw you looking like yourself only happier

through a glass darkly images

brighten then

fade

somehow we wake up in this

world and the next

half in half out

half here

half gone

half darkness

half

light

A quick thought in a grey/blue day in a cemetery

I thought the greyness of today’s sky shot with blue was an apt metaphor for life. There is always a blue patch in our bad days. We just have to look for it. Greyness soon passes and we do not have to hold on to the memory of our grey days otherwise we miss the clear blue days.

I am snatching quietness at a cemetery which is full of life. There is a deer and a flock of turkeys rooting amongst the graves for whatever turkeys eat. Maybe grass or seed. I wrap myself in peacefulness after the busyness of the day. The wind blows strongly around me and I see the life thriving in a place of endings and this too, is life. Endings are also beginnings if we only change our thinking.

Easter

The sun shining

this

morning while I drove down 90 West to Erie, Pennsylvania.

The greyness of the past two weeks suddenly forgotten as a red tailed hawk flew out of the clear blue sky in front of the car landing gracefully on a signpost at the side of the road gaze triumphant

hope rose in me as I remembered you and how you died the same day Christ rose from the tomb so that you, we, could have

life eternal

Like spring, cyclical . green grass sprouts overtaking the dead brown of winter with aggressive life insistent life will

Out

Death where

is your sting

Reimagining my life

At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

  • I will go back home to my lake.
  • I will not dwell on the failures of the past.
  • I forgive all those who hurt me and I pray I am forgiven by those I hurt.
  • I will earn an apartment. With wood floors and a lake view and bookshelves built into the walls. A nice old house.
  • I will play classical music in the evenings and have a nice wine rack with a good selection of wines.
  • I will hang art I love
  • I will have oriental rugs for the floors.
  • I will not allow the failed loves of the past to dictate failure in love in the future. I will love another and be loved truly by someone before I die.
  • I will have a good job and earn plenty of money.
  • I will collect used books for my used bookstore that I will have lakeside.
  • I will keep running and walking and do it beside the lake daily and live in hope, not despair or disappointment.