Tuesday, June 02, 2015


We are on a roll of sunshine and gentle summer breezes! And yet, each day is unique. Retirement means that you are the master of each hour. If not too long ago, you found yourself joining the stream of traffic heading downtown at more or less the same hour each day -- going in, then heading home, day in, day out, if not so long ago, your primary focus was on class preparation, along with the usual student meetings, committee assignments and paper shuffling, now nothing is preordained. Each day stands empty until I choose a way to fill it. Even visits with Snowdrop are patterned but flexible. Nothing has to be. (Not at this moment anyway. Things will change somewhat once my daughter returns to classroom teaching.)

That kind of absence of structure makes some people quake. I've heard the note of apprehension: how do you get out of bed every morning, not knowing what's ahead for you?

For me, like for some others, it is the best way to get up every morning!

It's still cool in the early hours, but somehow the air doesn't quite have the chill of the past few mornings and so we happily take our breakfast out to the porch.


I know Snowdrop will be arriving before noon for her Tuesday at the farmhouse and so I am extremely energetic after the meal. There is a lot that I want to accomplish, in part because we gave up on waiting for free loads of wood chips and Ed bought a truckful from the city. Just as he hauled it up our driveway, we got the call that a tree service would like to dump their load for us! We are at the moment, up to our chins in wood chips. (But there is never enough: we can always use more loads.)

And so I plant and I move pitchfork loads of chips onto beds, courtyards, paths.

It is heavy but pleasant work, vastly helped by the scenery. If you love flowers in the way that I do, you'll nod your head in  agreement: looking out at blooming perennials that not so long ago lay dormant soothes the soul and lifts the spirits.


Oreo, after many affectionate pats and sweet words from Ed...


... is again locked behind a gate, as I proceed to work, in the pleasant company of just the hens. (Here's Scotch, coming up the brick path, with the now finished shade garden to the side.)


It is a beautiful set of hours.

And then Snowdrop shows up and the day really is ablaze with color and sound and movement! We spend a lot of time outdoors.



Yep, a lot of time.


Ed joins us for a while. His voice is something she picks up immediately, even at a distance. At a closer range, they do a lot of mutual staring, each one waiting for the other to issue the first peel of laughter.


There are so many milestones this little one registers almost daily. I suppose today's would include my carrying her around on the hip -- a position that I remember lasting way into toddlerhood...


Later, I get her ready for a long walk in the stroller and again I offer you the Snowdrop pout of contentment as I snap her in...


We walk the rural roads, where traffic is almost nonexistant. Well, of a vehicular kind...


We pass our neighboring truck farmers who are hard at work -- tilling, planting, tilling, tilling...


Snowdrop dozes off, I continue to push the stroller up one hill, down the next.

And after, Snowdrop and I practice lots of sits and stands -- I try to encourage the sitting, but she feels strongly that standing is the better of the two.


As the young parents come to take Snowdrop home, I turn toward making dinner, but then change my mind.
Ed, let's go play tennis.

We motorbike to our favorite courts, set between the tall pines of a county park. It's our first game of the season and we both seem tentative and a tad rusty, but it's a perfect evening for a run around a court, even an old court, cracked and somewhat littered with pine cones.

Is it already the second day of June? How could this month move forward so quickly?