Unchained or perhaps unhinged.
Just six weeks ago we arrived here after a 16 hour trip in a race against those delivering our furniture. We won and so the next chapter begins. We have many new friends, if that is the word . They are friends but not in the sense of those we have known for thirty, forty, fifty and yes, sixty years. None the less they are very nice and welcoming and have yet to discover that my desire is to reclusively submerge myself in days lost to nothingness to await another incredible sunset. Sunsets are not what I had spent my life believing they were. As spectacular as the actual sunset is, it is only the striking of the match. When the sun slips below the horizon to begin anew its race toward dawn, the sky grows quiet but only for a few moments during which time the sun prepares it’s declaration that it was here, it was grand, it was all powerful, it was life giving, and has been both inspiration and frustration for artists, poets and musician throughout the ages. And then the fiery show begins. Some nights violent clashes of orange and purple, red and gold shout out as if the sun was an angry god protesting our behavior – for which there is perhaps just cause. On other nights it soothes with spectacular pinks, violets, soft blues and silver lined clouds lulling us to gentle complacency. Tonight I sat, wine glass in hand, beneath the sheltering live oaks bedecked with Spanish moss, mesmerized by another glorious display and trying to fathom the hundred plus years of sunsets that these great trees have witnessed. No boats were cruising the waterway tonight, only egrets and herons gliding silently across the marsh; and silence it is, deeper than most other places I have known at least until air conditioning season begins and the neighborhood comes alive with a chorus of compressors. But tonight is mine. Mine and the trees’.
Much has happened since we arrived and much has not. We have relentlessly criss-crossed this island which they tell me is the size of Manhattan – but probably only has a total population of one midtown block. I do not count that as a bad thing. Our regular activities include near religious attendance at Body Pump classes, running across the island along alligator adorned trails, hanging out at the laundromat counting the number of spins in a twenty-five minute cycle (more on that later), reading on the beach waiting for our pre-sunset cocktail(more on that later), surf fishing, grand parenting, attending the local cultural activities and being the first ones to arrive at the Friday evening wine tastings. It’s been grand. There are also less glamorous things that I did not imagine I would be doing in retirement. Our house has a metal roof which I am told is a desirable thing. Long lasting and only moderately unsightly once you get used to it. If you remember from my previous post we clear-cut a small forest from our property. These were trees that overhung the aforementioned roof and over the course of decades had deposited a variety of arboreal droppings which had left various patterns and shades of discoloration. Not a tolerable situation for one who had spent his career in a white coat! Consequently I found myself power washing a couple thousand square feet of slippery rooftop for five hours on a blindingly bright, hot sunny day. Which may explain the recent arrival of all these floaters obscuring my vision! I chose a day to do this when I knew Susan would not be home, thinking that she would not trust me enough to leave me home alone again. Instead she just had me take out a new life insurance policy! But boy does our roof look good……just like someone parked an aircraft carrier in the yard!
You may or may not know that my bride is a near-rabid environmentalist and is in the process of saving the world one plastic bag at a time. Yes…….It will be a journey. There is also the carbon footprint problem – thus the Prius. So in taking these trees down we took a big step backwards in the carbon reduction effort. However, Susan took almost immediate action to ameliorate this brash environmental injustice by purchasing me a gift. Thanks to Amazon, which I presume most of you are familiar, one can still order almost anything including the old school, push, reel, lawn mower. You remember…….the kind without a motor………..and some assembly required. It comes in orange. Nice. We don’t have a big yard compared to where we came from but I’ve got to tell you, when your new, orange, push, reel mower only has a 12″ cut, that’s a lot of mowing!! Did I mention that it gets hot down here? Before I let you go or before you doze off I must address the laundromat question. The answer is 1,343. That’s just an average though. A lot depends on the size of the load and of course whether it’s a load of delicates or not so delicate — what do they call those? This is dryer spins we’re talking about. I’ll start counting the washer cycles when I can figure out how to hold my breath that long. This is just another of those things neither of us thought we’d be doing in retirement but it turns out that this house has no washer and dryer and we can’t buy one until we figure out where we’re going to put it which we can’t figure out until we come up with a remodeling plan which we can’t do until we can talk to a builder which we can’t do until they’re good and ready which is about when we’ll be out of our minds. Yes….we’re very close now. While we wait I spend my idle moments counting floaters.
That covers some of the “much” that has not happened since we arrived. But still…it is a full if meaningless life which sparked the desire in us to take to the sky once again for Yosemite National Park and beyond. More on that to come,
Until I Grump again,