18. Mistily


Cold and drizzly here in central PA.  “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there…” that’s a Bob Dylan lyric. Makes you think about death. I can make out the farmhouse and outbuildings across the field behind my house and the line of trees that top the rise.  Two rooted green strips and two brown strips of upturned soil run horizontally beyond my many windows facing south. This strip plowing configuration helps with the erosion, I guess, to cut in the same direction year after year, like sanding wood with the grain. It’s also pleasantly grounding to look at the same pattern year after year. We’ve lived here for over 25 years now. It was our starter house as I recall. It looks like it’s going to be our finisher house also. No problem. It has served us well.  And now it’s all dark, outside anyway.

One nice thing that comes from contemplating death is an urgency about life. When you consider that your days are truly numbered and that number is getting smaller each year, well, it makes you more acutely conscious of what’s going on right now.  How sweet and delicious was the cherry cobbler Sara made last night from cherries I picked with my buddy Clark last summer. How deeply satisfying it is to sleep in our queensized bed. How delightful it is to rub my wife’s tired feet. How pleasant it is to have quiet company on a Sunday. No, death does not have to obliterate joy. Instead, it adds flavor to life and accents our plain chicken and rice days.

I slept like royalty last night. Today is the result of great deep sleep, a nervous system that’s as firmly happy as tapioca pudding. Amazing. No big drama on the horizon. A wedding. A vacation. A garden. A trip out west maybe later. It’s all more than enough tonight as the wood pellet stove purrs along for maybe the last time till late fall. I can go to sleep smiling tonight knowing enough of everything, just enough. I am content with my life. Can you say the same?

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