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.