Parker Palmer writes about “withering into the truth” as he ages. That phrase captures both a hope and hopelessness for me. I have never felt so depleted before. Childbirth was a breeze compared to this new age and stage. At seventy-five, and recently recovering both from a bout with the flu and a bad fall, I am experiencing a kind of weariness and dysphoria that is new to me. I can’t seem to get my legs under me to move back into my life.
That's a question I get asked when I go grocery shopping and have more than a couple of items, but not one I was asked very often when I was younger. Maybe it's a new trend -- people trying to help one another. That would be great.
My reponse is always "No, I can manage thank you." But today the shopping was a particularly big one, with a box of bottles -- wine, and sparkling water. So I decided to opt for some assistance.
We certainly had them, didn't we? So many great and grand expectations..so much hope..
We knew the gift we had been longing for, working for, was really, really within our reach and we just had to wait patiently until we could open it. Until we could own it.
I'm sitting at the Farmers Market enjoying a tamale and a latte. The air is warm, but not too warm. In fact it is beginning to feel a tiny bit like fall. There are a few yellow leaves on the liquidambar (or redgum) trees. Since those are usually the first to turn, it may be some time before there is evidence elsewhere. I don't count the Halloween decorations already appearing at Michael's.
"What are you, some kind of a poet?!"
I was eighteen and out on a blind date. My roommate had asked me to double date with her because her brother was in town and she didn't want him to feel like the odd man out. We were sitting on the Santa Barbara pier having dessert. I looked out the window at the shoreline and said "Wow -- the lights on the water look like a snow cone!"
"What are you, some kind of a poet?!" was my date's response.
It is Friday night and we have just come home from a pleasant evening at our not-so-local-but-friendly pub. I admit I have had a little more than two glasses of wine, and I won't tell on my husband who does love his Old Fashioneds. But we did our traditional end of week date and enjoyed every minute.
Our writing assignment this week was to use the words apprehend, apprehension, and apprehending as prompts.
Eight-thirty on a Sunday morning and the air is softly warm after yesterday's punishing heat. Farmers' Market. Picnic tables under the trees and there is shade even though the morning sun is still slanting in from the east.
Guitarist properly amped and the play list is every song I love and new ones I haven't heard but fall for immediately. Is it something in the coffee? It's only a decaf latte.
Of all the definitions of “engage,” the one that most attracts me is the intransitive verb “to come together and interlock .” Sounds a little sexy, doesn’t it?
So many things out there in the world that I am longing to be engaged to, and with. One of them is writing. Too often I push it off into a corner to wait.
ONE AT A TIME
What will you do with this bright day that glares through the south window and makes you open your sleep-sanded eyes?
(You only get one at a time.)
Karen had been planning her escape for two weeks, sneaking small packages of supplies and hiding them in grocery bags in the trunk of her car. Clothes for herself and baby Charlie, disposable diapers, drinking water, and food that needed no refrigeration were the last things in since those were the things she would need to access constantly. She was pretty sure she had plenty for three days of travel, and that would be more than enough to get her to the cabin. Thankfully she didn’t need food for the baby, since she was nursing him and he wasn’t old enough to need anything else.
It was a chilly afternoon in the fall. I was about seven years old, and my grandmother had invited me and some of my church friends to her house to start a group for girls of m age that would meet once a month. We were to have some fun, some snacks, and do a little project as a contribution to the community. The one I remember was using old Christmas cards to make gift cards. We cut pictures from cards with pinking shears and used them for covers on small folded pieces of construction paper. We then punched a hole in the corner and put a bit of ribbon through the hole so that the gift card could be tied to a package. I'm not sure what happened next with those little cards, but I do remember that the creative process was very satisfying to all of us. We were somehow now drawn into an adult world where what we contributed would make a difference.
Some people finish their holiday shopping in August, or even on December 26 for the next year! It works well for them. It would not work well for me because I have to confess that I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and yes, even the chaos.
I don't mind the last-minute wrapping, or even the hunt for that present I know I bought but can't find because I put it somewhere "safe."
If you research the phrase "old chestnut" you will see that there is a literary explanation that an "old chestnut" is a tale that has been told so many times that it is no longer funny or interesting. If you research how long chestnuts stay fresh, you will find that they must be stored under very precise temperatures, and even then will not keep long.
Sometimes I feel like climbing into my linen closet and curling up by the ironed pillow cases and the bar of scented soap. It is probably the only place in all of my living spaces that is, at the moment, quiet and serene.