My Dad, who says that approaching the age of eighty allows him to lay claim to wisdom, predicted back in January that 2013 would be a "year of change". Perhaps he was well aware that Daughter was to graduate this year, or perhaps his wisdom was telling him something, I don't know, but he was right.
It has been a bit of a challenge, getting through this year. So many changes to cope with and so much to do leaves little time for relaxing or reading-or writing-and I feel like hollering "stop the world, I want to get away from this ceaseless spinning for a minute"! But it doesn't stop, so we must cope as best we can.
Daughter has graduated from high school, and plans to attend college starting next week.
I've had a bit of surgery, nothing major but it kept me down and useless for a month or so.
For the first time in forty years I got my hair cut short - wow that's been an adjustment!
I've made major changes to my kitchen and the spare bedroom.
I finally repaired the truck cap on got it put on the truck.
The garden is in, but between the incessant rain and the bumper crop of rabbits bouncing around my yard I won't have much harvest.
And it seems every time I turn around, we lose electrical power so the sump pump doesn't work and the rain floods the basement.
Sometimes it's hard to remember to stop and count my blessings, but despite all the change and craziness, we're really doing well. We're basically healthy, we have plenty to eat, a roof over our heads, and I still have a full-time job.
I do confess to a certain restlessness, such as I haven't felt since my college days. Maybe with my rapidly approaching fiftieth year I'm having a mid-life crisis - in which case I think I should go out and buy a motorcycle, and take up playing bass guitar for Montgomery Gentry. But for now I'll make do with clearing excess stuff out of my house, and taking the long way home.
Last week I had to attend a meeting down in Lansing. On the way home I decided to avoid the expressway and wander along the back roads; with no set plan I would simply take whatever road struck my fancy. Michigan is beautiful, did you know that? There was sadness, too, of course. Silent, empty factories, with giant, weed-choked parking lots. Tumble-down shacks with ten junk cars out front. Getting stuck behind another walmart truck for ten miles of hills. And the thousands of dead and dying ash trees, with whole woodlots and fence rows of dead skeletal branches reaching skyward in protest. Our poor state is under attack from so many foreign invaders that are killing our native plants and animals! Even just during my lifetime the landscape has changed dramatically.
But for that day, with the sun playing tag with some rainclouds, and the open road before me, it was wonderful-good.
I was in a kettle moraine area where the roads swooped up and down hills and curved around unexpected little lakes before straightening out and shooting between massive crop fields. The colors, the sights, the smells; everywhere I went, it was a quintessential calendar picture of a Michigan summer. Long, orderly rows of beans marching to the next fence row where a doe and her two fawns slipped out of the woods to munch on the blossoms. The sharp, acrid scent of corn pollen. An old white house with weathervanes and a big front porch, nestled between the original windmill and a happy red barn bearing a sign: Pioneer Farm, Established 1836. A tiny cemetery where the setting sun lit the old stones that mutely speak of hard work, short lives, and a civil war. The sweet, homey smell of a just-cut hayfield. A sudden hill-top view of a deep, cold lake with boats scattered about it's surface. Little towns with names like Pewamo and Ionia, where old houses with corbels and dormers and fieldstone foundations hide behind massive shade trees. Kids out on bikes, a tiny elderly woman buzzing along on a giant lawn tractor, expertly swinging around the birdbath, a couple of guys with their jean-clad backsides sticking out from under the hood of a classic car, a farmer pulling a load of straw bales, his son perched on his lap, tiny hand on the steering wheel and a giant grin on his face. The Tiger ballgame on the radio, AM static crashing just like when I was a kid, though I still miss Ernie Harwell.
Every mile or two, a narrow dirt road would beckon me to follow it off under the trees, with promises of "Charlie's Sweet Corn", or firewood for $40.00 a face cord, a public access park along a lake or river, or home-made ice cream, a dozen flavors. Really, I could have simply kept driving, kept looking and enjoying and wandering for days and not grown tired of it. Maybe someday I will just keep on going, meandering my way right on up through the UP and on into Canada.
But for now, responsibilities hold me close. Playtime was over; I had to get back to work the next day, get back to mowing, weeding, mulching, painting, cleaning; walking the dawg, paying bills, filling the bird feeders, cooking, baking, laundry; and readying Daughter for dorm life. It's also time to get serious about making some peach jam and putting up corn and beans, not to mention making another batch of laundry soap and experimenting with the new recipes I've been collecting.
And maybe a few minutes to daydream over the motorcycles for sale section of craigslist.....