a toll

20/04/2018

This has not been a year of easing into aging. With retirement ahead, the days and months have elicited unrelenting attention to events filled with details that hold little meaning any longer. If one is in the constant state of readjusting one’s natural rhythms to the artificial, a toll is taken on body and spirit. Both of mine are bearing this toll. Through illness. Through a sense of fragmentation – the stress that builds from constant interruptions.

I long to do nothing. To be no one. To just exist and absorb the beauty of the world I find in my own small one. The plethora of birdsongs. The sun, on a cool windy day, seeping into my bones. The comforting weight of a warm blanket caressing my body as I lie still and silent. No obligations. No required responses. No pleasantries.

For a time, albeit, a small one in the longevity of my brief life on earth, I need this to ease into aging.

For now, I need to survive until that time in the oh so far, near future.


In my youth, I was at ease.

calligrapher 002

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“The whole country about them abounded in beautiful walks. The high downs which invited them from almost every window of the cottage to seek the exquisite enjoyment of air on their summits, were a happy alternative when the dirt of the valleys beneath shut up their superior beauties…”

 reflection

My inner Austen emerged today from its deeply buried cavern. One submerged by the rocks of diligence, lo! these twenty years past. Yet, I am already “off-topic.” All this to say, I took a walk. A walk alongside a somewhat meandering path. Near this very path, there is a black-top, a two-lane road, which parallels the woodland. It is here, with the windshield before my eyes, my view is often filtered. I am one step removed from the visceral experience nature offers generously.

Today was a different day. I accepted the gift of a walk.

ranculus

I set out doggedly, à pied, and with a broad swath of time before me. A visit to a friend where she is in the midst of joyfully creating her new life – a new one, at another end of the path. Along my way to her, this is what I found: sounds of birds – a flicker; a frog  croaking somewhere – unseen –  from a muddy pond;  creek water running over rocks furiously, and then, gently. This is what I viewed: a virescent canopy towering above me, its permutations burgeoning upward, the sun breaking through all this to illuminate ranunculus ficaria in all her abundant joy, and others with their dogs and those tails meteoric metronomes tracking only the sounds of their smells.

creek

This interlude, this remarkably simple choice gave me “the exquisite enjoyment of air.” Now, to re-read Miss Austen.

 

Dedicated the Friends of Sligo Creek, and of course, to my friend.


Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. Project Gutenberg, 25 May 2008. Web. 4 June 2017. goo.gl/HrARBx.

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