Fifty-Six

Thursday, July 15, 2021

At rest.

It ought to be a new sex number. Oh, you know what I mean – those numbers that either alone or in combination become some sexual code in the genre of “wink-wink”,”nod-nod”. But the fact that right out of the starting gates I mention such a topic perhaps is a telltale sign in itself.

Of course I am a middle-aged woman who is advancing through her Middle Ages. I might imagine that every age, every year, could mark a new number designated for some sort of sexual innovation. Hmm. Innovation? That may not be the word I was looking for, but it is too funny to pass up!

(Go ahead. Let your mind play with that one!)

With anticipation, I am now days away from a birthday. I’m not sure why, but the prospect of getting older keeps developing into a continual mystery of growth. True, what choice does a person have? But, oh what a choice it is! I am given a choice.

I am given a life for another year, another month. (Hopefully!) Some weeks, I celebrate the dawning of each new day. The stresses of career and living do not decrease but at least on the majority of days I learn to counteract that sickness of stress with the medicine of laughter.

I do not rule out the possibility that the COVID pandemic makes me prize life a little bit more. Even at my miniscule level of existence (I am, just a speck, just a dandelion, remember?), the months and months of regulations, concerns and political battles dragged a person in and out of cyclic crises. At almost fifty-six years of age, I reflect once again on the placement of this past year upon the whole tapestry of my life.

Tapestry? Oh, I wish I was that exotic. Maybe, maybe not. I know that I once wished for a tapestry of life. But that is not my skill nor is it my true desire for my life. My family has matured and my life has matured along with them. Maturity. What does that mean to me?

The Visuals.

I stand not on the edge of the precipice. Nor do I stand in the midst of a turmoil. I do not feel torn by the call of the ‘wide open spaces’. Nope. I do visualize my woods with a pond in the middle. The pond leaks into a river. At least I think it does, as I stand waist deep, in the dark waters. There is no threat, no darkness in the air. The water is warm. I am comfortable. And the trees, my sentinels, stand over me. This is my lagoon of peace. Somehow the universe did conspire to grant me a spot, this spot, among the trees.

I brush the water into swirls around me. I am ready to swim. I remember how to swim. I really remember how.

The daydream pauses but my mind plays with the imagery.

The Story’s Beginning. Perhaps.

“I stand here, lost in my thoughts. One would think I should be ‘over it’ already. Why must I think all the time? I ask myself. The difference at my age is I no longer fight it. I also do not lapse into a numbness. My thoughts and feelings no longer overtake my work. I function. I smile at the years which carved the nonsense out of me.

And I watch my hands. I feel the potting soil, so even, soft and warm. This morning I removed my gloves just for this moment. Usually I protect my manicured hands, but today I feel the soil. Such days are more and more often. I look at the line-up to be potted. Geraniums, ivies, wandering Jews, a purplely thick dancing type little flower and a new one, the Dragon’s Breath.

At my feet, I line up new rose bushes and tiger lilies to add in the yard. And the usual annuals for pots to dot the yard, the begonias and petunias which soften my little slice of heaven in these northwoods of Wisconsin.

I have the luxury of time to work with my flowers. Many years, I rushed to get flowers prepared. Or, i had multiple properties to adorn with summertime flowers. In true goldilocks fashion, this, this here and at the building was enough. Oh, and the flowers which mark my father’s grave.

I enjoy the heat like never before. A sure sign of aging, I surmise privately. And even though it is July, I still add flowers to my summer collection. From my potting workbench, I size up the effects of the flowers. The house siding is a thin lap, vinyl, sturdy sort, colored in a tasteful beige with clay colored soffet and edging. The property is a lovely, half acre opening, surrounded by thick woods of tall white pines filled with an undergrowth of six year old poplars. And honeysuckles. Too many honeysuckles.

Oh, yes. and the outline of wild raspberry bushes which cause me to keep an eye out for the occasional black bear visitor.

“Mm,” I speak out to my plant friends. “Iced tea.” My years do cause me to reflect on the years of philosophies which evolved through those years. In the 1970’s, when I was at a particularly impressionable age, I remember learning that plants respond to human speech. I think it is all bunk now as the real benefit all along might have been the increase in carbon dioxide expired as a human talks. Still, I talk to them.

I think it is time for a nap. Such luxury I indulge in myself on days off work. I am beyond being embarassed at this desire, plus to whom would I be embarassed? As I walk across the driveway toward the apple tree, Wally stirs just enough to raise his head. His tail thumps the ground in acknowledgement of my presence.

“Hi, boy.” I whisper. Earlier this morning, I had found an old Coleman air mattress in the garage which was doing nothing more than collecting space and dust. I had kept it all these years, periodically toying with the idea of camping again. So far, my seasonal answer to that question has been “No.” But this morning I looked at that mattress as if it was the answer to my prayers. It had kept its air half a day. Now I gather my blankets, Wally and the mattress. The apple tree and soft piano symphonies would lull us both to sleep for a brief Wisconsin summer’s siesta.”

A Challenge to My Honesty.

You know, I write the word honesty with as much self-disgust as possible because the moment a person professes honesty is the moment of confession of past lies. “Please,” I roll my eyes to the computer screen.

In these, the days leading to my birthday, I realize a personal need I have had all along. And I cannot believe my mind did not own up to it a long time ago. Oh, I still write in puzzles…

“Edit,” I whisper to myself.

Maybe not this time.

My ‘rustoleum’ sessions! A necessity for my summer!!

“Swim.”

“Dance.”

“Write.”

Love, my Love.

tbd

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