Be warned... not my usual post. Feel free to move on to your next blog.
I had a dream last night that I was holding a camera benignly at my waist. Not aiming or focusing it, just holding it there in front of my belly button. It exploded with a loud pop. More resonant than a balloon popping; more like a blown up paper bag right behind your head pop. I looked at my empty hands in alarm and wonder. Huh.
I am finding myself at the strangest junction. Shouldn't I have figured out my life by now? Shouldn't I be settling down with my knitting and tea and good books? Ah, that's the problem: I don't knit.
I am being bombarded with all of the wrong turns I've taken, and lordy there are plenty. Missed opportunities abound. These images fly into my consciousness willy-nilly, uninvited and so unwelcome. While I sliced my banana into my shredded wheat, (after giving a slice each to the beggars Sammy, Swede William, Mama Pajama, Delia, and Luciano), I wondered what my life would have been if I chose to go to Vanderbilt, instead of choosing to go to work with horses, marrying at nineteen, having a child at twenty-two. What if I had chosen Princeton, where my sister graduated and my uncle taught?
What if I had decided to be a veterinarian? Oh the stories I'd have to tell! What if we had stayed on the farm in Maryland, or, what if we had stuck to the plan of buying land somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley, with a modest house and a view of those mountains? I'd be raising several endangered species of farm animals. Smelling the morning barn home air in a mountain embrace. Hosting field trials and race meets. Cursing the mud this time of year.
The grieving the loss of the farm air and the friends has been private, unproductive, and relentless. For the first year, I couldn't speak to Sara on the phone. She kindly took the ancient ponies, Molly and Peter, for me. Nice way to thank her, huh? But the silly untamable keening would bubble out: I was at its particular mercy and it showed none.
I am living in the town of Paradox now. I do not like living in a city. I love this city. I want to move to the country some day, mucking stalls, smelling home. I love the people here. Nets of deep friendships are pitched over me. These golden silk, precious threads pin me firmly on my back, like Gulliver, but seeing only the part of the sky visible between buildings. I couldn't survive the loss of more friends. I cannot wait for the book club to meet.
I do not do my dogs justice.
I must go back to work this year. Bill bears the brunt of this. As does poor Laurie. I am sorry. I am terrified. I haven't been a full time RN on a hospital floor since 1985. I'll breeze through the refresher course. I'll be a good nurse. The kind of nurse you'd want to have. Twelve hour shifts. My dogs. My writing. My book. The Boards. The book club. Is there enough of me to do it all? I'll have the means to go to dog shows again, and that is only good. Financial problems solved.
I am torn whether to post this. So selfish. Sublimely unentertaining. I am blessed. There's something about being fifty-four. Something about looking at a Very Old Dog, who will be fifteen in April. Joy at his small joys. The constant piercing fear of his fragility. My brave athlete who can no longer negotiate stairs. Something about that unfinished book.
Something about all those missed opportunities. And wasting energy on what ifs.
Time to walk the dogs. On the sidewalks. With a wonderful friend.
hug your hounds
What would you have done?
3 hours ago