A comment from my sister got me thinking. “Sounds like you have a complicated life,” as I recall. Or maybe it was a “complex” life, as if there’s a difference.
My initial reaction was that my schedule’s always been that way, a balancing act of job, relationships, literary endeavors, spiritual practice, outdoors activities, personal care, and so on – sometimes more successfully than others, perhaps, and sometimes better integrated rather than segmented into less than harmonious compartments. And that’s even before we get to the piles and files.
Not that I think my situation’s unique. As I’ve asked before, “Do we ever get caught up?” Often, wondering how other people do it, seemingly so much better, at that, I’m left in awe.
Even so, Sis’ quip had me reviewing the itinerary for the past month or so.
There was painting the front of the barn and one side of the kitchen el, both of them flaking from their facing the direction that our nor’easters blast in from. Glad I got that project done before wet weather and early cold kicked in. (I could go off on a rant, though, about the complications of getting the right replacement paint, a consequence of one brand playing hardball with its dealers and leading to one more coat than I intended.)
Still, there’s something about working outdoors on a crisp autumn morning. As I was moving a ladder into place, I looked up to see a bald eagle circling low over a neighbor’s treetops. Each round, backlit by the sun, the tail would flash white and then, a half-revolution later, the head. The next morning, an eagle circled high overhead. And then there’s the honking of the geese and their checkmark formations above me.
Outdoors also includes a host of garden-related projects in a race before the first killing freeze and, a bit later, deep cold and snow kick in. I see now I haven’t blogged much about the garden over the summer, at least since the groundhog invasion, but I did capture two of the varmints and relocated them to another state and the third finally moved on in its own time. In defrosting a freezer the other day, my wife was surprised by the amount of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries we put up, along with the green beans and peas.
For now, we’re wrapping up the last of the tomatoes (Juliette’s been our workhorse out of our dozen-plus varieties), roasting them down to something that resembles sundried and then freezing them. And the eggplant gets a similar treatment.
The way the bounty of produce cooks down so much continues to amaze. A full pot of tomatoes, for instance, can reduce to a few cups of soup. How has humanity ever survived?
We’ll soon observe something similar with the kale.
In the meantime, I’ve been a bit hampered by something the doctor tentatively diagnosed as either plantar fascitis or a bruised heel bone, which requires icing and hampers my mobility while it (uh) slowly heals.
My Quaker activities, meanwhile, have included committee sessions in central Maine and on Cape Ann in Massachusetts, plus clerking a wedding and our Meeting’s first-time booth at the city’s annual Apple Harvest Day festival – and each event could be a story in itself.
One pleasant break came in the all-too-short visit of my old roommate from after college – our first time together in nearly four decades (ouch!) and a delightful introduction to his “new” wife of 25 years. (OK, we lost touch for a number of those, but the Internet’s been great for reconnections.) He may have lost his natural ‘fro, but his twinkling blue eyes and goofy humor are as sharp as ever. Again, this could be a story in itself.
The choir, meanwhile, is back in gear with weekly rehearsals that have become my regular outings to the big city. We’re excited to be preparing for performances in Boston’s Copley Square and Faneuil Hall at the end of November, which now looms closer than I’d like.
As for the writing? Well? Never enough to keep up.
No wonder I’m feeling a lack of balance or even focus. After all those years of wondering what “retirement” would be like, I’m still, uh, puzzled.