Today I went to Piggly Wiggly in Sheboygan. There is a Subway next door and I had a veggie sandwich, and was happy to pay extra for avocado. I remember when the Piggy Wiggly store was new, but can’t remember the year anymore. There used to be a KMart nearby, and I bought things for my mother and others there. She grew up during the Depression and I so loved shopping for her; groceries and flowers too.
I still remember learning the streets and country roads, and the day when I drove from Sheboygan back to Oostburg on these roads. Not the freeway. Now the only time I’m on the freeways is when Karl is driving.
When I was young, I was a classic over-achiever. Valued in my family, but only doing what everyone else was doing. Then my health changed and I had to learn a new way of life. I was already writing poetry, but can’t imagine this much writing and art without the story I was given. When I was helping with my mother’s care – and so many people served her and the family – I thought of my teaching days, and felt many could do what I had done, but that my time with my mother was unique. The truth is we were helping each other.
Now those early years here, and the intensity of medical crises, have been replaced by softer memories. I think about memory as I grow older, and how to keep growing as best I can. Reading is surely one way. I might be reading a book, and then I remember a birthday cake. My memories of over 60 years now go back and forth, and new ones are created each day. For example, in all these years I never saw a blue jay in a lilac bush, breaking off twigs for a nest in the tree outside this window, as I did today.
This sounds sad, but after I landed in the hospital for my 40th birthday, in 1993, I thought the most I could hope for was to survive. Of course, that is no small thing, to be alive. Yet as I drive on the roads that are now so old, and walk in stores that are so familiar, and see some of the same faces now as then, I know I am so blessed. I did not have a clue that I would be as creative again as blogging has helped me to be. I did pray the Psalms, as I was also praying when inspired to write this post. Although I have my good academic mind, I rest in the Mystery more and more. The two go together just fine. I don’t expect all my questions to be answered now.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend. I drove by an old orchard this week, and it is still sleeping. The polar vortex of Winter 2014 seems to be making for a very slow spring. That spring is happening at all, and that I can see and love another season (and hope so many many more for all) is an absolute miracle.
Not teaching now, only telling my stories . . . with hope and gratitude. A major key for me continues to be a lot of rest, and pacing myself well.
Just some thoughts! Thanks, Ellen