The Editor has been on FMLA leave. She said she is hiding from the venison that is her only food source for the next two weeks. I’ve told her it is necessary in order to determine what she is allergic to. Vet mandated and sanctioned by me, it is the only option for now. “Yuk!” She repeats this throughout the day and retreats to the office, on her rug, often beneath a favorite bag, peeking out occasionally to see if the venison is still there, completely ignoring her duties. She is expected to return from FMLA shortly. We shall keep you posted.
I walk mornings, earlier than usual in this nearly oppressive humidity, and often chant “I can do this. I can do this” until I believe I can. Walking has changed my life and so I have learned to persevere. I am not a natural athlete. My generation didn’t have soccer lessons, dance classes, or all-girl football. We had Home Economics. It wasn’t the same as what young, freedom-raised women now choose to do. Our freedom was hard-won and was the ground work for them, but that is another story. In my generation (particularly in my cultural group), this was an expected role, one that came with strings. We were taught to bake (from mixes) and sew (darn men’s socks…..really?), learned to properly set a dinner table, and watched sports films so we would know how to cheer when attending a game with a date. Yes, this was part of the classes….yes, it was. I was always the quiet renegade, the enigma. I boiled inside with disinterest and never understood then how deeply I disliked having to do something I perceived to be equal to prison when all I wanted was freedom, but there were few options. I doubt anyone knew my thoughts and inclinations. (Does it seem ironic that I have become an excellent, passionate “from scratch” cook in spite of it all?)
Freedom is the right to follow your dreams, even if you aren’t quite sure what they are or where they might take you. I am completely open to discovery. For me, a long morning walk is a gift. There are days, however, when it seems that even the slightest discovery is impossible. My mind churns. I am a thinker, an over-analyser, and regardless of numerous efforts over the years to change this, this is who I am. I’ve learned to like “Me”, this curious soul who does not settle for someone else’s life. Now, when I think there is nothing happening in my world, when the walk seems silent and uneventful, I know magic is brewing even though I might not believe it at the time. Always, and rarely with any specific reason, something develops that reminds me that life is precious and that it doesn’t always present to you as you’d expected.
In this new environment of mine, where mosquitos breed like rabbits, and the afternoon air often feels like a veil of doom, there is so much simple beauty that I am in awe. I am making my discoveries. This is a place where chameleons scatter along the walkways, cardinals perch in plain sight on tree limbs like red stick pins on a wall map, and the spanish moss drapes itself lazily on all that is in view. The pines and the palms live together. The waltz-like slowness of the locals is intoxicating as they move throughout their days, and the still, dark water in the pond down the road harbors echoes that pierce the surrounding silence like shooting stars. There is a bench hidden from the road and the sunlight; this is a place where I will sit and imagine all sorts of wonderful things on those days when I think the world is quiet, where I remember where I come from, who I knew, and what would have become of me had I stayed. I will never know if it had been better or worse, I just know there wouldn’t have been all of this, and right now…. “I can do this. I can do this.”
There was a death in the neighborhood this past week. I can not name names, nor can I give details. It is a murky story I have been told. It was someone I began to know a bit here and there, the way we read a book – slow, steady, and regularly because we do not want to miss one word. It was a voluntary matter. The words are done. The moments are gone. I bow my head in prayer and understand that often, for some of us, it is simply too much…..we bid you well….on your journey…would send you cakes and cookies if we could….remember, permanence is an illusion. God speed.
jacqualine-marie baxman ©2012