Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Busy Time and Dreamtime

It’s so tempting. When I was professional and overworked all those years, the little things did not get done: the corner-sweeping details of house and garden. Now with the luxury of time, I am enjoying getting around to some of these in an unhurried way.

But wait! It’s possible to get completely engaged with this taking-care-of-things. I find myself thinking that I could get everything truly in order, when that’s not really my nature or calling. It’s important not to get busy all over again. I need the dreamtime to watch dragonflies and herons at the beaver pond, write poetry, and follow impulse.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Poems On Retirement

On Retirement—75 Poems, edited by Robin Chapman and Judith Strasser (University of Iowa Press) has just come out.

The collection embraces wonderful, thoughtful poems by people like Ted Kooser, Denise Levertov, Maxine Kumin, Ishmael Reed, Lucille Clifton, Grace Paley—and my "Walking Out"! They muse on changing roles we play, on open spaces of time, on continuing parenting and grandparenting, on our relationships to cities and countryside, on connection and disconnection from those we love.

“This collection is a magnificent entrée to a season of life when time is at once bountiful and limited, is taken and surrendered, has been invested and withdrawn. Some of these voices say that time is leaden and some say it flies, and all are resolute in facing the arc of life’s course.”—Dave Ekerdt, director, Gerontology Center, University of Kansas

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Third Half of the Show

The Car Talk guys coined that phrase, “third half of the show,” but as I took a walk today in the winter woods, ice crunching underfoot, I thought Yes, that’s what this time of life feels like. The first part of life, maybe up to age thirty, was growing up and getting educated. The second half was work and family. I’m not sure how it feels to other people, but when I hit 60, I felt a strong sense of coming to the downward arc of my life. It’s not downward in the sense of despair or depression, but it’s clearly moving towards an ending. I am conscious of mortality nearly every day, even though my health is excellent.

I’d never planned for the third half of the show. People tell me it’s time to do the things I’ve always wanted to do and they ask if I am traveling to colorful places. But really, the work of creative writing is an exotic land to me. I don’t so much yearn to see the Amazon as I wish to allow unformed and creative parts to emerge and do their dance.

It’s time to develop my spiritual life, which I see as connection within myself; connection to nature; a new, less goal-oriented way of being with other people; and attunement to the creative process. These inter-connected elements make up the core of my third half life.

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