All my life I’ve made plans, scrapped plans, re-engineered plans, tackled plans, accomplished plans, taken on new plans, made lists, checked off lists, taped new lists over old lists. Get an education. Get a job. Fall in love. Get married. Have children. Wash diapers. Get a new job. Bake bread. Bury a husband. Marry again. Raise a family. Go down a zipwire. Grow in faith. See the mountain top. Walk the ridge walk. It’s been a wild adventure, really. In May, our youngest will graduate college. The patchwork-lifework I stretched like a clothesline for more than five decades is fini.
Retirement was never part of my plans. I’m a writer. I’ll never stop writing until they pry the pen from my cold, ink-stained fingers (or slam the lid of my laptop on them). Even if I flat line in the creativity department, I still envision working in a creative community and the stories they tell – at a visitor’s center? A used bookstore? A shelter? Somewhere.
The railroad might send my husband to another location. At times, he wonders if God will call him to a third career [#1 was the Army]. Or we might just be here forever. In any case, I’ll still write.
It’s just …I’ve begun to think of “the last place.” You know. Where I will be when my life ends. My mother was 78 when she died; my grandmother was 64 – that’s just five years older than I am now. They both began and ended their lives in Nebraska.
I’m feeling my mortality. It’s a pity party set to “A Little Night Music”:
Every day a little death
In the parlor, in the bed
In the curtains, in the silver
In the buttons, in the bread
So I need to do something to snap out of it. This morning, now that the polar vortex and the rains have moved on, I walked the long walk in the neighborhood with the dog, picking up trash. This afternoon, after I meet my deadlines, I’ll bake two loaves of honey wheat bread to take to Manassas Midwifery. There’s new life coming into this world, and someone needs to feed the laboring mothers. It’s their turn to make plans, wash diapers, and begin the wild adventure.