Will you still need me when I’m 64?

Photo by Edu Carvalho on Pexels.com

Singing this song as a young person always brought a heartwarming scene of happy elders, together after all these years. With no clue about what was to come! I couldn’t have anticipated the bumps along the road from 24 to 64. But here I am, well into “the new 40” recently thrust into early retirement. Well, there’s another concept I can’t quite identify with! I’m still voraciously curious, wanting to eat up the beauty of the world.

2008_02_26_Evans_CatholicDiocese_ph_ChurchOn the Move

In October I moved from Maryland to central Pennsylvania. Now I live with my longtime friend Mark, who returned to his hometown a few years ago. He welcomed me with 3 cats, an awesome generosity! My new tiny town has no traffic, dozens of mom & pop diners, old wooden houses marching up and down ancient hills. Alas, there is no Trader Joe’s, no Vietnamese restaurant, and not enough Uber business. But it has trains rumbling through the night, and church bells that ring! I am surrounded by forested hills with rocky-toothed crowns, filled with deer and bear and bobcat. And it SNOWS!!!! I can tell this is my new happy place.

Sad Farewell

lilyheadIn the throes of relocation I had to say goodbye to my beloved companion, Lily, the most loving (and the most difficult) dog I’ll ever know. I carry a dog-shaped hole in my heart, and being back in Maryland for a bit, she is everywhere. I love you Lily, and I always will.

So happy birthday to me, who once sang (with gusto) “Hope I die before I get old!” I changed my mind. I’m curious to see what time will bring at 64 and beyond.

A poem for today:

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow, dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you waiting at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

“Up-Hill” by Christina Rossetti.

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Those year end reflections…

I’ve been slurping up the “best trash cans of 2017” stories that most media organs pump out this time of year.

Why? So I can muse about 2017 without thinking too much about reality in America. You haven’t seen “Greatest Hits of the 115th Congress,” have you?

As indulgent as they may seem, this NYT story got to me:

Inside of a Dog, by JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN

When you lose a dog, you not only lose the animal that has been your friend, you also lose a connection to the person you have been.

I hit 62 this year- old enough to qualify for senior housing. I walk with a cane, slowly. I’m grateful when I can remember your name. And at each wave of aging, there’s a wash of nostalgia/regret for what used to be.

It’s hard on me, losing a pet. This year my bright spirit Charlee (above right) was suddenly killed by a passing car. Four years ago I lost my old black dog- she presided over an important and eventful 15 year slice of my life. At 44 I had so many options to work with. Now I feel doors closing, firmly closed, on chapters in my life. It’s sobering.

I still have my Young Dog, Lily (above left) At 11, she’s considered old now, her vision dimming. Can’t see the squirrels to chase anymore.

I’ll never be the globe-trotting artist I was when Seneca was young- not again. I’ll not careen around the city on my bike. I’m most likely past my last great romance, and glad for the lack of emo drama.

My Wiccan priestess would challenge me: “look for your unfolding challenges! The crone has plenty of important things to learn.”

Okay. Perhaps it’s just year-end blues, all this looking back with poignant feeling. And the cold and darkness that Winter brings. Let’s light a lantern and look ahead.

John Barleycorn & other songs of Late Summer

sharelate summertime

The ancient cross-quarter harvest feast of the season, Lammas or Lughnassa, corresponds to Late Summer, (one of five that Chinese medicine recognizes*).  The frenzy of early summer has to ripened and paused, the grain harvest has begun, and the first signs of autumn are upon us. Birds gather on a wire, cricket voices are a deeper chorus. We gorge on tomatoes and sweet corn, complain about too many zucchini. I feel a deep, rich melancholy sweetness this time of year, and it’s affecting the music I want to hear.


Play Lynn Hollyfield’Late Summertime from her first album Layers, available HERE

ripegrass copycorn & grain rise & fall

As a Wiccan descended from Czech peasants the deep and ancient pull of the turning earth still calls my blood.  Can you feel it? There’s a ripeness and a waiting, and a strange sadness that accompanies the harvest wealth. There’s an ancient poem about this, handed down to us by Robert Burns, recorded as a song in 1970:


Play Traffic’s John Barleycorn Must Die

It’s remarkable how in the poem we identify with the barley plant: his green youth, golden maturity and painful demise (and creative revenge!) These days busy humans seldom pause and consider the life of the other beings around them, particularly if they are plants!

bittersweet august

In my younger life the calendar was driven by the school year. August was a season of intense and conflicting emotion: time to grieve summer’s delirious freedom, the looming loss of my summer love. At the same time I was alive with anticipation, and dread, for the coming school year. There were summer songs that so captured this:


Play Jefferson Airplane’s Embryonic Journey

Summer loves no longer come and go as they once did, but the turning time still brings that thrill of change to come. Such an ancient thing, riding the cycle around again, grieving for the innocent joy of sweet spring, giving thanks for the bounty we feast on, and trepidation for the harsh winter to come.


Play The Moody Blue’s Eternity Road

I’d love to hear your stories of this season, the joyous, the bittersweet, the wheel of time milling us like grain. (Please comment, email or link to your reply. Sharing is love.)

*Earth: the in-between transitional seasonal periods, or a separate ‘season’ known as Late Summer or Long Summer – in the latter case associated with leveling, dampening (moderation) and fruition. from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Xing

Mountain Time

I spent the last week of August in the mountains, on the edge of the Shendandoah National Park.

Click here and play a song while you read!

Compared to my usual environment it was another world. Just 2 hours away by car, but a century away in lifestyle. Its the first place I’ve been in some years with no cell service, and of course no WIFI! I felt the loss of instant connectivity acutely for the first day, and then it melted away. With it went the need to know what time it was.

I was raised in flat sandy marshes, so the rocky places are a thrilling magical mystery to me. I am amazed and intrigued and astonished by the rocks and boulders, and love to connect with them. How did they come to be where they are? What shaped them? What are they made of, and what do they know?

Then there’s the visual experience. When young, I studied the dutch painters for their landscape was as flat as my own. Later in life I had the pleasure of living in the Finger Lakes of NY, and learned the ways of waterfalls.

But these are the Appalachians: believed to have been the highest mountains on earth roughly 460 million years ago. We enjoyed musing about the billion-year-old rocks.

So these boulders recall a great deal of time, in their journey from sharp peaks as lofty as the Himalayas to these rounded pebbles (the size of an elephant, or a house, or a mouse) softened with moss and lichen, worn by eons of rain. Hillsides softened with trees. Valleys filled with the stories of life, love, struggle, triumph and loss.

Look how we change with time. It’s an amazing story to see everywhere you look in the mountains.