After three busy days, I finally have a free morning. There is a stack of items on my cedar chest waiting for mending. I retrieve my sewing kit and pull out the collection of threads. Threading the tiny needle is a challenge. I switch to a bigger one. As I make each stitch, I am struck by the quietness of this activity and how antiquated it seems. I was taught this by a generation that has passed. Most would simply throw away these ripped items. Perhaps, I should be doing that myself. Instead, I am enjoying the motion of the needle through the material, how it pushes through and then loops around, closing the gaps. Everything seems so different than the way it was when I grew up. When I told my students about riding my bike through a narrow path in the pine woods, or imagining things as I played outside in my backyard, creating my own inner world, they looked at me with wistful faces and said, “We want to have that, too.”
I have embarked on a major de-cluttering project in the basement. When I left home, my mom told me to keep a shoe box of receipts for each year. I have done this religiously and am now shredding “a box a day.” Right now, I am processing 1986 and it is fascinating to see a number of things: my checking account interest was 5.25%; many of the retail stores I did business with are now gone, i.e. The Denver Dry Goods; even names of former hair salons and dentists bring back vivid images. My intention is to shred all but the last ten years. This will clear a huge amount of space and allow me to look at all the things that were behind the boxes, like jigsaw puzzles that I can also sort through, deciding which ones to donate. It feels good! On Sunday, we amassed a huge donation for ARC and filled the dumpster in our alley.
As I walk to Whole Foods to pick up a few more ingredients for Christmas dinner, I pass by a tall hedge that spans half a block. A raucous chatter emerges, all from tiny birds which have made this their habitat. Hearing them sing brings a smile–and a reminder that gifts are all around us each day!
There are epic lines at the Starbucks, unlike any I’ve ever seen.
I reach for something to hold while on crowded buses and trains that have no empty seats. This is what it is like when 9 million people share a small island.
Restlessness builds inside me.
My feet ache to feel dirt beneath them, a trail stretching out in front of me, through a meadow filled with tall, yellow grass.
Climbing higher, until I am in a snow filled cirque, the outline of mountain ridges circling me,
bringing me home.
The emptiness of wilderness, where I can breathe and truly be alive.
It hit me on August 18, when my former co-workers returned to school, that I really had retired from classroom teaching! While I do miss being part of a team, I am experiencing a light-headed happiness that comes from this new freedom. The later afternoon is often reserved for novel reading. I tend to work all morning, juggling my various projects. There are still many things to put into action, yet I remind myself that I don’t need to do it all in one day. I exercise every morning and look forward to brewing coffee upon my return. I am enjoying the little things in daily life that used to rush by according to the clock. I feel alive.