On my walk this morning I noticed a spot of color in the old graveyard as I passed by and so I turned in to investigate. What I'd seen was an old blue coffeepot with that bit of pine branch in it at the top of the picture but then I saw another old coffee pot, this one a very vintage electric percolator with holly in it and I figured that someone had decorated a few graves for the holiday season. Shelby's grave is definitely one of the newest graves in this particular little burial plot. Some go back to the early 19th century. It is a peaceful place.
I feel as if I have not stopped moving all day long and my hips hurt so badly that I could literally cry and may well do before the evening is over. I am so tired and I can't help but wonder if the pain is part of my seemingly inexhaustible exhaustion. It probably is. It's always there, the pain, but sometimes not as bad as other times. There are constant other pains, too. Knees and legs, especially. I am not complaining here. I am simply saying that this is the way it is and has been for a very long time. Tonight I do feel a little whiny about it and I'm thinking of Sabine's post from today. Sabine suffers from far worse health problems than I can even imagine having and I always appreciate her voice, her spirit, her insights and observations as she navigates a life which is certainly not like anything she'd ever foreseen. And her writing is beautiful. She inspires me. She calms me. She is wise. She posted a video today of Mary Beard speaking about women and aging and I watched it, took in the words, and realized with a small epiphany that as much as I am ashamed to admit it, I still very much compare myself to other women, my age-related peers (as I said in my comment on the post) especially. Wouldn't one think that by my age I would appreciate myself for the unique individual I am? I also realized that part of my inability to spend a day resting, I mean really resting, is the very mistaken and unshaken internal belief that if I am as productive and physically active as I ever was then I will not really be as old as I look and feel myself to be. I mean- I can't ignore the pain and I can't ignore the fact that I cannot do exactly what I used to do in terms of real, true physical work but dear god, I try. I try to do the work and I try to ignore. Both.
I think that on my death bed I will be comparing myself to other dying women, finding myself lacking in certain aspects and I will probably also be doing my best to hop out of bed and fix something for my visitors to eat. And then I will wash the dishes and sweep the floor.
Should I be so lucky as to have visitors on my death bed.
Oh, goodness. What a lot to think about.
And yet, I was also thinking about another thing today- about how I really, really wish that I could allow myself to enjoy my beautiful life more. To have more fun. To have more confidence in the future. To be more content and motivated by pleasure and anticipation. Why is this so damn hard for me? I do not know.
I honestly do not innately believe that suffering is good for me nor do I believe that it serves anyone or any thing in my life.
When I was at the grocery store today, a woman and a little boy were shopping too and they were talking and laughing. Especially the woman. She seemed to be absolutely filled with joy and they were having such fun. I wanted to follow them around and let some of that joy and fun into my own heart. It truly is the joyful people, the laughing people, who remind us that even though life can be so terribly hard and often is, there is so much beauty and enjoyment to be found in it.
Even in the grocery store.
Well, that's what I've been thinking about today.
We had another sweet lunch with family this afternoon at our favorite sit-on-the-deck place, El Patron. There was much laughing and joy there and I was not unaware once again of how much pleasure I get in my family.
August ran to his Boppy's lap and stayed there for an hour. That child adores his Boppy. While we were waiting for our food, Boppy drew him pictures of everything from trucks to a dog to a cow who was pooping with a farmer standing by with a pitchfork to clean it up. August asked for a picture of the farmer's wife and he got that too. Our sweet Rachel took that picture.
Ms. Magnolia with my lip balm. She was looking somber here but mostly she was very happy. She applied some of the lip balm to August's lips. One quick swipe did the trick.
Levon (who looks like he might have blue eyes) being held by Aunt Lily. That boy rolled over by himself today for the first time. Two months and one day. Clearly, a genius. For real. And what makes a baby work so hard to master the milestones they achieve? Hunger and the seeking of comfort and safety explain their desire to nurse and to be held. But what makes them want to roll over? To raise up on all fours? To begin to crawl? To take steps? Levon is way too young to observe the people around him rolling over and deciding that he wants to do it too. Lord, sometimes I really wish I knew what was going on in the fierce and beautiful minds of infants, as I texted to Jessie when she told us what Levon had done.
We humans are a strange lot. We definitely are driven by our needs for food and water and air and comfort but we are also driven to move beyond the comfortable, the known, the safe, to walk and then to run. To explore farther and farther distances from within sight of Mama to the very surface of the moon, to the depths of the oceans, to the inner depths of our minds and hearts and souls.
Here's what the sky looked like tonight at my house through the bones of pecan trees.
Life can be lush and life can be sere and there is beauty to be found in much of it.
I want to seek more of that and realize, as I do, that our ability to feel joy is far more important than any bizarre, misguided need to suffer.
I know what motivated my second son to want to get a move on as soon as possible- my first son! Boy he wanted nothing more than to keep up with him! I'm going to go over and visit Sabine and the video of Mary talking about us women. Be well, hugs from Vermont where we are expecting our January rains...ReplyDelete
Yes. I told Jessie that Levon probably would walk sooner than August did because he'll be watching his brother. I think this is true. All of my children walked one month earlier than the next older one and I joke that if I'd kept having kids, the last one would be born walking.Delete
So much to think on here. So much I relate to, too. It looks like it was a beautiful day. The only upside of that pain you carry in your hips and knees is how sweet it can feel to climb into bed at night. Love.ReplyDelete
Oh honey- you know me so well. Crawling into the bed at night elicits almost obscene moans of relief. God, I love my bed.Delete
Life is a balancing act of finding joy, love and laughter, between the moments of aging and pain and sometimes dispair. Definitely with you on that. I try to focus on the good, and just manage the bad as necessary. Things take a bit longer to accomplish and if I need to nap in the middle of the day, I do, no apologies! That's one good thing about retirement. And dearie Levon is ahead of the curve, turning over already!ReplyDelete
I agree with you completely. It's just that I can't seem to allow myself to enjoy the joy as much as I know I should. And I would so love to change that. It's no more sensible to not be able to do that than it is to despair constantly.Delete
Naps are the best thing in the world.
Levon is a brilliant child, isn't he?
I suppose it's natural for all of us to compare ourselves with our contemporaries -- there's probably some evolutionary impulse there, to KEEP UP WITH THE PACK! I think you DO appreciate the beauty of your life -- you write about it and illustrate it with your pictures, and when I read your accounts of the time you spend with your family, I get a feeling very similar to the one you seem to have experienced watching the woman and the boy in the grocery store. Other people ALWAYS look more carefree because we, on the outside, are not seeing their internal burdens. Don't you think?ReplyDelete
Levon's eyes DO look blue!
You and I are so much alike in our thinking, Steve. Always trying to figure out the evolutionary cause of our behavior. I do that all the time. And you're right- your theory may indeed explain why we're constantly comparing ourselves to others.Delete
I was under no delusions that the woman in the grocery store has a happier life or fewer burdens than I do. It was just watching her be so in the minute and her lovely laugh as she interacted with the little boy that gave me such a pang of longing. To react as she did, even though I know perfectly well that her life is no more charmed than anyone else's. I want to be more like her although I suppose when people see me in the grocery store with my grandchildren, the probably think the same thing.
Your musings make an exquisite post. Thank you for writing here.ReplyDelete
Thank YOU, Barbara!Delete
I'm so glad I stopped by and read this post today. It is rich and thoughtful.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you stopped by too. Your words are so sweet to me.Delete
I hate to think of you being in chronic pain. Please read about CBD oil for joint pain or arthritis? It's tested, and legal (no THC) and so worth it. There are an array of prices and types. Consider taking cider vinegar in water once a day too, if you think it's pain from inflammation - my colleague swears it was the only thing that helped her rheumatoid arthritis pain.ReplyDelete
Truthfully, I HAVE tried CBD. I was on it for almost two months up to a few days ago. It did help with my anxiety but did nothing for my physical pain which pissed me off. I stopped taking it because my stomach was not having a good time and I'm trying to figure out if that was the cause. I will indeed try the cider vinegar. Strangely enough, I am in almost no pain tonight. Why? I have no idea although I did lay down for a good nap earlier and that may be it.Delete