My husband and I worked hard in our yard yesterday, planting and transplanting a total of 25 plants. The weather is finally cooling down, so we decided to get at it early in the day, which in our elder years means around 9 a.m!
At first it was fun because I love working with the earth and vegetation and I also love designing new concepts of vignettes for our yard. Over the years we have created a retirement playground of sorts where we can sit on different types and styles of swings in different settings from which we can enjoy nature or feel the soft air on our faces while we read a good book! Our corner lot is small, but we have designed the layout in such a way that it feels bigger than it really is. Yesterday we were enlarging the space around our giant hammock chair which hangs from our very old and very large oak tree that grows on the front corner of our lot. This area is fairly close to the road, so we have created a pretty privacy barrier of lush thick plantings behind which we can swing in long low sweeping arcs beneath the tree and no one realizes we are there. I love how I can hear people chattering as they walk by while I am sitting and swinging in anonymous companionship with my inner child. I often feel as if I am playing a game of hide and seek, and don’t mind that there really is no one who is looking for me! Ha!
After 6 hours of heavy labor, interrupted with many rest stops on a bench, we were both exhausted when we fell into bed last night, but it was a happy exhausted because we were very pleased with the results of our labor. At the same time, we were each, once again, reminded that we are not any longer living in the youthful, vibrant bodies we once had. The effort it took to do this project was enormous. But, in some curious way, it felt good to push ourselves and feel our life force step up in response to our demands.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night, partly because I was overtired, but also partly because I am in a bit of a funk about the loss of a long ago friend who died. What was really unsettling to me was that I just found out about it and she died 5 years ago! It was such a crazy feeling to realize that for over five years she was gone from this earth and I had no clue. It also made me extremely aware, and not for the first time, of our vulnerability in this life! We just never know what it is that will take us down or when.
The news of my friends death brought about this clarity of vision once more to me about the fragility of life! Actually, in the last several years we have been reminded of the gift of our life many times over with each and every friend who passes over to the other side.
You will NEVER find me complaining about getting old. I am just so incredibly grateful to still be here, and every day that I get to wake up, feels like a beautifully wrapped gift I get to open and enjoy! Wrinkles? Bring them on! Cottage cheese thighs? No problem! Thinning hair? I can deal with that! The thing is, as long as we are still vertical on this earth and in reasonably good health, we have something to celebrate. Like that old Loretta Lynn song goes, “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die”. Pretty much speaks for most of us.
So, as I hobble around today, feeling the protestations of angry, formerly unused muscles, I feel grateful that I managed to even get them working again. Yes, this old gray mare ain’t what she used to be, many long years ago, but I AM happy this old gray mare has made it this far, and will hopefully make it even farther down life’s road! I think I will fill my coffee cup and go sit in my giant swing. “Swing low, Sweet Chariot”…I hope God allows me to stick around my earthly home a while longer! Amen! Amen! and Amen again!
“Today is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be happy in it”. Yes, Lord! No problem with that today!