At the top of a morning, I notice the energy of possibility. Hope, wide awake and willing, greets the day face-forward. Counting on roadside petals, life loves me and I love it right back. How fairy-taled the deep green velvet of a moss-covered path. How gladly sunlight dances with daisies and trumpets daylilies. How fun to chick-a-dee-dee-dee with chickadees and honk with geese flying over the lake. How gently the fog lifts as the day warms. How delicate a thread of web stretches from flower to flower to flower, a tell-tale trail of one spider’s travels. I marvel at the intricacy of a gravel road, two miles into my day. And returning, notice now how I feel right this very minute, tip-tapping on keys. Happy.
one hopeful year
An unusual activity for me, but I did a little math this morning.
In one year, time passes accordingly:
- 31,536,000 seconds
- 525,600 minutes
- 8.760 hours
- 365 days
- 52 weeks
- 12 months
- 4 seasons
From one season, month, day, hour, or minute to the next, there are so many opportunities to learn. To explore. Experiment. Create. Build. Design. Discover.
Imagine all there is to see, do, conceive, or dream up in the time it takes the earth to travel its 92.96 million mile orbit around the sun.
Think about all I can learn from new moon to full moon. From Fall to Winter and Winter to Spring. What new challenges can I meet from sun up to down? Who will I become from this one hopeful year of my life to the next?
Let’s find out!
Having just turned 60, I’m aiming for 60 new experiences. Recipes. Destinations. Classes. Books. New friendships, new challenges, and goals. New knowledge. Questions answered. Dreams fulfilled.
Maybe 60 is my once upon a time. My someday when. One thing’s sure and certain, it’s my next hopeful year.
As of today, it’s been 604,800 seconds, 10,080 minutes, 168 hours, and 7 days since my birthday, so it’s time to get started. I’ll share along the way … and feel free to offer suggestions and ideas for me to try.
New experience number one: Lemon Blueberry Scones.
Growing is growing – especially if it’s growing older.
Turning sixty wasn’t as bad as the anticipation of turning sixty. Or maybe now that it finally came and went – my biggest birthday ever, I mean – maybe being sixty is not as bad as the anticipation of being sixty. A mere flip of the page on the calendar. Sunday to Monday. July 10th to the 11th. Fifty-nine to sixty.
Still the same me.
All those years, one added to the next, equal a living sum of who I am right now. Shy. Curious. Loyal. Sensitive. Sometimes weepy or worried. Strong, but anxious. Always hopeful.
Devoted to love in just about any form I find it.
Six decades of learning.
I suppose I thought I’d be wiser in the whys of the world. After all this time. All of my experiences. Relationships. Mistakes. Do-overs and never-agains. After mothering and daughtering. Sistering. Friending. I was a teacher. Still a wife, full to the tippity-top with love for my husband. Role after role, day in and year out.
Turns out, what I know best – now – is me.
It sounds strange to say, “I like me.” But I do. And I guess it took adding up all of those years to be able to say those words and mean them.
Sixty and growing. A great gift, being sixty.
Even better than I anticipated.
circle in peace
circle in unity, in solidarity
hands and hearts
circle in times of challenge
in sorrow, in grief
circle in faith, in belief
in the frailty of being human
circle in meditation, in prayer, in promise
circle in the divinity of morning’s soft light
or the deepening grace of evening
circle n celebration of summer
and sun and warmth and flowers
circle in peace
Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Laze. Window gaze.
Stretch. Smile. Be.
Here. Now. And nowhere else.
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
Walking. Talking. Seeking. Finding.
The first wild daisies. My favorite.
“There’s only a handful of days like this in the whole year,” I say.
“Could the sky be any more blue?” you answer.
Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy
Hello lamppost, what’cha knowing
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Ain’t you got no rhymes for me?
Hello peace and peonies. Peaches and berries.
Hello to the what’s possibles and the always predictables.
Hello to the maybe I wills and the probablys I won’t.
Good morning sun, I see your shine for me.
Hello Monday, make some hope for me.
Doot-in doo-doo, feelin’ groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy
Thanks to the breeze. The green, the growing.
Coming to be the me I’m knowing.
I’m humbled and happy and couldn’t want more.
Life I love you, I’m ready to soar.
I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you, all is groovy
*The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) by Paul Simon
the sound of silence
Sometimes I feel words gathered right there on the tip of my tongue, ripe and ready to roll off the second I open my mouth. And then, in a singular moment of awareness, I choose to leave my mouth closed. I don’t swallow the words so much as allow them to slowly dissolve. I can feel the unspoken weight of them and for a moment, the grateful recognition I did the right thing by leaving them there.
In the company of others, both home and away, I feel best and most at peace with what I didn’t say over what I did. The criticisms I didn’t express. The gossip I heard and didn’t forward. The sarcastic retort I didn’t let fly. Maybe even the personal regrets I forgave myself for rather than divulge.
Speaking or not is a choice. I know my heart never swells with pride when I’m unkind – no matter how privately or how far out of earshot. I can add or subtract. Escalate or encourage. My words can increase the almost universal angst we’re all feeling — or abate it — even for just a minute and ever so slightly. Offer hope, or join the melee. So much travels by word of mouth.
Gather. Meditate. Center. Breathe.
Circles and cycles. Bud and bloom. Belief and doubt. Celebration and grief.
Move inward, out. Outward, in.
Still. Sacred. Spiritual.
A revolution, a resolution, a plan, a path, a prayer.
Start here. Or there.
No destination in mind or notice of arrival. Back where I began, here I am returned. Again. Both renewed and changed by the experience of the walk itself, a guarantee that no matter how familiar the path, I am in fact a different person than I was the last time I walked it.
Spring too, here again. Another spin around for both of us. So familiar, but so new and ever hopeful. Both transformed and transforming.
From the one to the many. From the many to the one.
Here, at last.
The daily news hangs heavier and heavier in my heart. Day after day. After day. Each notification, each headline, tweet, and post adds to me feeling powerless. There’s an ache in deep parts of me that never quite recedes. Honestly, I’ve been feeling more hopeless these days than hopeful. There’s no recourse in the short-term. No way to help or stop or become part of the solution. Because the problems – and there are so many – feel too big. Too insurmountable. Too often entirely out of my control.
Still, there’s no giving up is there? No giving up for the people who minute by minute struggle far more than I do. No giving up for the planet and the people far younger than I who’ll need to live on it longer than I will. The list is long, the worries are many, the fear, ever-present.
It’s imperative to stay informed. The need-to-know has never been more crucial. Reliable information helps inform my vote, my financial support, and my prayer.
But I need some good news too.
Have you any? Good news, I mean. Have you any good news to share?
Flowers blooming? Gone for a bike ride? Found a friend? What made you laugh? Who did you spend time with? See something new? Different? Unusual? Did your daughter make the team? Your mom come to visit?
What moved your heart? Please. Share.
I wouldn’t want you to think any of this good news sharing neutralizes or diminishes the serious state of our country and world.
But it may help keep us sane. Or more open to possibility, ideas, action … and hope.
I just saw my son for the first time in almost three years. Mother’s Day was magical. Our electric bill went down this month. The peonies and lilacs are just about to burst.
And yesterday afternoon … I saw an owl. Up close. Its head on the swivel as it’s known to do. Eyes alert. Focused. Full circle aware of the world all around. Ready and on the hunt for some sustenance.
If you’re in want of a miracle, you need only visit New England in spring. You’ll find the glory you’re looking for in the unfurling of daffodils, the birth of wild violets, and the promise of lilacs. The splendor you seek will be discovered in a burst of forsythia alongside granite rock walls, and there’s something undeniably magical about the magnificence of a magnolia tree in bloom. We’re a ways past sugaring season – one of spring’s first miracles, and impatient as we are to plant in the garden, we welcome the soft purple velvet of pansies in a pot on the porch.
I’ve yet to see Canada geese, though I’ve heard a few honks. The turkey toms are all strut and nonsense out back by the chicken coop where the girls are laying regularly again. So many birds are back, and on my walk I hear a towhee whistle, a repetition I’ve gone so long without. There’s a persistent drill of a woodpecker somewhere off in the distance, and I feel almost dizzy with gratitude to be outside and warm again.
There’s a particular patch of peach daffodils out front of a favorite old farmhouse I walk past. I wait all year for their bloom. No blooms yet, but I know there’s a measured pace and pattern to growing. Just as I know the apple trees blossom sometime around Mother’s Day and the peonies a week or so after that, I know nature takes its own sweet time with no regard for human opinion or hope. Those peach daffydowndillies are late bloomers is all, and if pleasures like these awoke all at once, they’d be done and over, there and gone before I knew it. Too much, too soon is never a good thing.
Beyond the old farmhouse I can hear the rush and tumble of a usually slow and humble creek all proud and boisterous after this week’s Nor’easter. I’m on the watch for baby ducks paddling single file in the quieter water below the falls, or if we’re lucky, maybe some goslings too. Just to smell fresh water and first-mown grass feels almost impossible somehow. Wasn’t it snowing and cold only yesterday?
My silly watch measures my walk and my much slower-than-normal pace, once in awhile messaging: Are you done with your workout? I’m sure it wonders why on earth I’m walking so slowly.
As if that requires explanation.
I’m witness to the greening of grass, the golding of weeping willows, and the arrival of a New England spring. A privilege. A blessing. A miracle.
I have so many writing ideas when there’s no time to write.
Truly, I have ever so much more to say once upon a work day, and despite my whenever I have day off intentions, I hardly ever follow through. I’ve netted many a willow wisp of an idea in the hour or so before my shift starts, but I live onward in the day and in the days after that without looking back to whatever thought I captured.
I have to believe if I had something important to say, I couldn’t help myself but say it.
Still, ideas I’ve left unexplored feel like hopes neglected and a voice – my voice – ignored.
I’ll need to meet myself face-to-face at this intersection of what I say I want and walking what I talk.
I wonder why the commitments to myself are those I’m least likely to honor?
Hope is hardy though, especially and always in spring. If ever there was a time for new growth, this is it.
So look for me nestled … and writing … among the branches of the forsythia, anticipating the bloom of the lilac, my words, and me.