Kornelia, my housemate, is on her way to Hawaii for the month. I drove her in a light rain to the bus station in Burlington at 4:15 AM for the trip to Seatac. Actually we were both up a lot earlier which is not surprising since we’re both early risers. I was happy to see Kornelia so happy and excited. This is the first time in a long while she’s taken a trip by herself. Most of the time, in the last three years anyway, we’ve traveled together. Kornelia told me this morning that she is enjoying our new house – and our continuing relationship – so much that there was a part of her that didn’t want to leave. There’s no doubt we’ll miss each other. In fact her departure triggered an old feeling in me, taking me back to the time when I placed my wife, Joan, in a memory care facility and came back to the house alone totally distraught. On the drive to the station we looked at that experience again. Then, my distress had to do with the realization that my beloved wife of 60 years was never coming home, that we were never going to live together again. Nothing like that now. Kornelia will be returning home in a month. And, then, of course, Kornelia and I have been acquainted only a relatively short time – since the spring of 2013 – and she has a partner. It’s also the case that our futures are far from settled. One option I’m giving myself next year is to move to Santa Fe to be with my daughter, Susan. I lived in Santa Fe at one time – Susan was born there – and it had then, and has now, an active cultural scene. I would have little difficulty making the switch. Another option is just to stay in our present house and when I visit Susan or my other children, stay a month maybe, instead of a week. I must say, this is really a great house and the big deck facing the water invites a pleasant anticipation of summer. Wherever I live, I want to be sure I have a housemate or someone close by who’s checking on me. Having talked my feelings over with Kornelia and referring to them now in writing has done a lot to help me weather the return home without Kornelia present. She has insisted we text every day and, of course, I’ll continue to edit her daily posts for the Creative Hearts membership.
Yesterday was a “lost” day. That’s not really the best way to describe it. I did get a major thing done – prepared my federal income tax – but in the process did nothing else. I just stayed in my pajamas and kept at it. At several points Kornelia came knocking on my door, reminding me – demanding – that I get off my duff and move around for ten minutes. I had no trouble understanding Kornelia’s concern. I was violating my own health standards. The worse thing I could do was sit there for four hours – Kornelia timed me like any flatfoot, catching me in the act – and I felt terrible physically after awhile. Doing the actual detailed work, handling the numbers, was okay. The problem was that I was finding it more and more difficult to see. I notice now that it is increasingly difficult for me to read anything for any length of time, obviously another thing we have to contend with as we get older. I’ve probably followed a standard progression: first reading glasses then bifocals and then trifocals followed by cataract surgery in both eyes. In my case, I did one better by having a corneal transplant in each eye. I find my growing inability to read a huge threat. I don’t like it at all. And I’ll do what we all do: I’ll go for stronger glasses, books in large print and whatever other tools I can find to reduce the effort its taking simply to read. Is this another reason, do you suppose, why many of the elderly watch television. It’s just easier. I remember how even that can be a problem. My mother’s husband, George, was a avid golfer and when he was, forced, because of age, to hang up his clubs, he turned to watching golf on television. Eventually, however, that, too became too much. He wasn’t blind but reading and watching tv were out. The next step was audio recordings and that helped immensely to ward off depression. Ultimately, I foresee a time when the most prescious things we have will be our voice with which to hold conversations and a developed inner life where silent, intuitive communication functions.
I’m leaving this post now, heading for the kitchen to bake some of my special muffins which are light on sugar and carbs. I call them my “New Era” muffins to go along with the changes in me for my new recipe is radically different. What hasn’t changed, though, is the way the muffins are perceived. More than something to eat, something to satisfy our sweet tooth, they’re often seen as a friendly gesture, an invitation to connect, at least for awhile. So baking muffins becomes for me a special, wonderful, sometimes even, sacred experience. No work at all. Listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s soft jazz and sipping hot tea an exquisite way to center, to recapture that sense of Presence.