Since starting this blog, I find myself thinking in metaphors. As I watched Sydney renegotiate the yard now that much of the snow has melted, I thought about how quickly she got used to walking, running, sniffing, and otherwise being a dog in deep snow. Since the “January thaw,” however, Sydney has been tentative and, as many dogs do, must sniff each and every square inch of the yard. For some reason I found this disconcerting. I just got used to the freezing temperatures (soon to return), the snow, the house and yard in the snow and ice, and now we’re back to being able to see dry land! There is a distinct possibility that my driveway will actually be usable for a day or two!
I started thinking about my quiet simple life and how easily one can slip and slide over the difficult terrain of living alone. Obviously I HAD to get out of the house. The diner beckoned. I went to find the “usual” small booths all taken so I was directed to a table in the back. “What are you doing all the way back there?” asked Judy and Kenny who were sitting at their usual front booth for two. “The usual was taken,” I replied, which started a conversation that we finished when I was on my way out. The owner came over and said good morning, Doug Dilworth, the local State Farm Insurance Agent sat at his usual stool at the counter, and Freddy brought me my morning coffee. Yes, this is better, I thought. The single act of driving into Milford to have breakfast seemed to bring me back on solid ground.
After the diner, I took my car to S&T Auto. For $48 they changed the oil, checked all fluids, checked the tires and brakes and pronounced my car ready for my trip south at the end of the month. We chatted since the owner and I are going to be in Florida for the same week — he’s flying, I’m driving. I assisted with two crossword puzzle clues and was on my way to the Weis market to pick up a few things for Rachel’s visit tomorrow. From there to the mail room to find some “important tax documents” and a card from my friend Beth. Order has been restored.
When I finished unpacking groceries, opening mail, doing a few things, I took Sydney outside to play a game in the yard. She was totally engrossed once again in rediscovering her world, just as I was this morning. Watching Sydney reminded me that finding our footing is something we do every day. We just don’t usually have the time to think about it. Retirement has given me that luxury — to find pleasure in small things like rediscovering how to enjoy quiet times and like taking time to have conversations with not quite strangers. It’s a challenging new world.