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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And time keeps moving...

And time keeps moving…

It is no small thing to grow old.  That’s my take on the aging process.  One day you add up the number of years of your life and that number is no longer as small as it should be.  You begin to compare your days with all that has gone on around you and the effect can be daunting.  So can things that once appeared easy to do, like getting out of bed all in one motion.  I’m reminded of the scene in The Electric Horseman where Robert Redford comments that some parts wake up faster than others.  All of mine seem inclined to sleep in.

Time’s passage makes you aware of the hidden cost of the neglect you didn’t worry about in your twenties.  Every time you went “oh, it’ll be okay” will come back to haunt you.  Muscles remember and your bones know how to get even.  And they can do it without your cooperation.  Your brain is on their side when it comes to this revenge.  Actually your brain is taking its own holiday so it really doesn’t know or care what the rest of the outfit is doing.

All is not despair, though.  What is left is a purer form of desire than I had as a younger woman, and a greater longing for the things that occupy my heart.  Though my body may resist the physical impulses I try and connect it to, my soul flies higher than it ever has before.  And it complains less about the trip.  Age has enabled my soul to dream and to believe with a power that doesn’t depend on my physical state and time has allowed it a vision that sees further than the known world. When I was young and I watched my older family members sit in the sun with their eyes closed I assumed they were only sleeping.  Now I know they were flying free in their own minds, released from the physical limitations their bodies were forcing on them.  All of the places and people who filled their memories gathered round them on that mental journey and they could see and understand all those things that eluded them before.

But I know where all that physical energy has gone.  I’m watching it right now as it jumps around the living room to the music on the Mickey Mouse show.  It has been reformed into the younger bodies of my grandchildren and I can’t say I regret that.  I hope it serves them as well as it did me so when their time comes they have as much to remember and to dream about as I do. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

A river runs through it...

One of the impulses that led me to visualize this journey was the constant thought of life flowing past me and calling me to jump in and find out what the journey could bring.  I’ve been hearing the rushing water and smelling the river for almost a year now. The pictures in my head have brought back memories of water, and what those bodies of it have meant in my life.  I remember the creek where all the kids swam that I was too afraid to go into, and the joy of sitting on the banks of the Mississippi, watching the fireworks going off on the boat in the center of the great river.  I thought of weekends at Lake Ponchartrain and those spontaneous stops my folks would make at little sandbars off the highway that gave us all a break from long drives.  We played in the sand and walked in the water to cool us off from the beating Louisiana heat. 

          After my children were born, summers most often meant Fort Pickens, the national seashore outside of Gulf Breeze, Florida.  Alan and the girls would swim all day while I read, sheltered from the sun, with the sound of the waves providing a magical backdrop for my literary adventures.  In the evenings we walked the beach, watching dolphins play and ships move far out in the water of the Atlantic.  I had sat by these same waters as a kid, watching my grandmother fish off the pier and collecting sand dollars and seashells from the shallow pools nearby.  Then we went one day to the Gulf of Mexico side of the park, the girls and I along with a few special friends, to scatter Alan’s ashes in his favorite diving place.  It helps to know he’s guarding the waters he loved so much.

           I’ve stepped into more waters since that day and they have marked my soul with their mysteries.  I got elected one day to help a woman survey a flood plain for the Animas River.  She handed me a pair of waders that came up to my neck and a tall stick and told me to walk across the river from bank to bank.  Okay, so it sounded like more fun than it turned out to be.  I spent a lot of the day worrying about what might be swimming into the loose waders and my legs were jelly by late afternoon.  But I feel an intimacy with the Animas now that I didn’t before.  My water adventures these days consist mostly of watching my grandson as he hunts “crawdads” out of the stream that runs through Brookside Park.  I sit under a shade tree and watch the way his face lights up when he finds a big one and I know the water’s calling him too.  May the journey it takes him on be amazing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm sitting here, all my worldly, and some not so worldly, possessions packed away in a 10x20 shed, wondering what the next step in my life will be. I'm an unemployed writer/historian/filmmaker and a mother/grandmother whose children have been supportive enough not to force me into a home when I told them what I planned. I own a car that is virtually theft-proof because it looks like one the Beverly Hillbillies would have turned their nose up at, and a dog that likes to throw things. So what's the obvious next step for a woman like me? Clearly it's to start blogging. I figure everyone should be interested to read it, even if only to find out how a reasonably intelligent woman who actually has some usable job skills ended up in this spot. As I said above, this won't be Under the Tuscan Sun. More like Fried in the New Mexico Desert. But I'm on a quest and though it may not be enlightening, it will definitely be fun. So join me if you dare as I reacquaint myself with America.