Never has there been a year in my life when so much has changed. My mother left me an orphan and we left her at Horseshoe Bay, beautiful acre upon acre of Lake Superior shoreline; she worked, successfully, for a over a decade to ensure that it would remain pristine and undeveloped in perpetuity. I retired after 32 years as a psychotherapist. We sold our house in Ann Arbor- my hometown for 35 years where I raised my family, kept my friends, grew my garden. I left Wit’s End, my small version of an outermost house, where I could escape the city lights and watch meteor showers and salamander migrations. We moved to Chicago, the most urban and urbane of cities, to live in a brick rowhouse 100 yards from a helicopter landing pad. I designed and contracted a major rebuild of our small historic bungalow in St. Petersburg, Florida. I began my new "career" as a zoological park docent and educator.
And that was just my life and, at that, only the parts that are remotely fit to print. You know we all have some additional quagmire, the stuff that falls under the heading of "secrets" that we don’t talk or write about but it sits there on the closet shelf threatening to tumble out every time you open the door- well, I had some of that this year, too. But the children: Abby flowered- a fairer blossom I can’t imagine. Daniel grew himself into a major musical career; the album is nominated for the BBC Jazz New Album of the Year. Bud survived his loss bravely, had major surgery and we began that dance where the (step) parent and child change roles, even as he remains my hero. Rich made a strenuous and graceful transition from his own business to life as a corporate officer in a dynamic agency. My brother and sisters and I came together around illness, death, memorial services and a beautiful family Christmas.
You would think I could milk a Christmas letter out of all of that, but no. Nada. The cards are here, in Florida, waiting to be sent. The main thing that came out of all that upheaval was erratic fits and starts of energy and mood. I think I moved forward in my life but it’s entirely possible that I’ve been using every single calorie to just tread water. I know I was so busy that I fell short in maintaining my personal relationships and that’s one of the most important things in life, for me. I also know it felt as though I was constantly taking care of others and myself not at all- so in the end 2006 is sort of a muddle and a mystery.
I’m not sure if I’ll continue to blog or not. When I do it in good humor, casually but consistently, not only in posting but in visiting and commenting- well, I love it. You people are in my circle of friends. When I try to recount the seriousness of life and death and all that muck I don’t think I do so well. So, the vote is still out. I have the time now to figure it out over the next few weeks.
We’re here in Florida for the next bit of life. One of the perks of Rich’s new job is that he gets to work here for four months a year. Although we were barely settled in Chicago (and I am truly starting to appreciate and enjoy what that busy city has to offer), here feels good. Really good. Today it rained most of the day but with the new big porch I could leave the doors onto it-all four sets of them- open and wander in and out. I checked out where the water runs off the roof the most and considered a place for a small pond or fountain as I plan the native xeriscape for the yard. I tried out the new porch fans and the best place for my rocking chair. The cats followed me and they are clearly settling in with ease. Sophie spotted her first anole lizard but didn’t venture off the porch into the rain to investigate further.
Yesterday, when it was sunny and 75, we took time from settling in to take the short walk to the Bay and there were three manatees, many turtles, some Blue Herons and my favorite from last year: this small Green Heron.
I think these next few months will provide me some time and space to collect my thoughts and feelings. I hope to be a better friend and reconnect with people I care about and I really hope to take good care of myself. I have several knitting projects to finish, my loom to set up, a garden to plan, letters to write, books to read- and of course, those Christmas cards. I suspect some yoga would help, too.
Hey! Happy New Year!