As I write this it’s early on a quiet Sunday morning in January. Gerry is away for the weekend spending time with his parents who, in their nineties, need some extra attention now and then.
My home is quiet, save for the comforting hum of the furnace and the tap-tap of Maya’s toenails as she scurries across the floor toward her favourite chair in which to curl up and take a nap in.
I woke later than usual this morning. In these winter months we have been sleeping later than we did in the summer when we’d often rise before 5:00am to greet the sunrise. When I looked at the clock this morning I had a momentary twinge of guilt for sleeping so late. I suppose I’m still getting used to the fact that my time is my own to spend as I wish.
The opportunities are many and sometimes it’s tempting to over-schedule. I’ve noticed that I begin to feel resentful if my calendar gets too full and I don’t have enough time at home so I take note of that before committing to new things.
This morning as I padded into the kitchen to switch on the coffee maker I was struck with the vignette on my kitchen counter. Never, in my pre-retirement days, would I have envisioned such a counter-top: a loaf of bread that I baked yesterday on the cutting board, a half-eaten cherry pie made with cherries I canned last summer, an almost-empty jar of banana chips (Gerry’s special treat that he makes for the grandkids), a jar of preserved lemons I prepared a few months ago that I’ve been using in some new recipes, and a jar of fermenting cabbage that will turn into sauerkraut in a few days.
Simple. Homemade. That’s the life I am living today and I find a sense fulfillment that I never dreamed of in it. My turning toward a simple life began gradually, around the time I planted my first vegetable garden perhaps. It intensified to the point that we seriously considered purchasing a farm in Saskatchewan to retire to. Practical considerations changed our mind but I still long for the peace of the farm I called Manderley. Here is a link to a post where I posted some video taken when we were at the farm. I still watch these videos every now and then and think about what might have been.
Instead of a farm in Saskatchewan we ultimately elected to return to the city we called home for so many years. Instead of a farm we live in a 55+ community with a view that brings peace to our souls. I garden in a community garden down the hill, though this year I have plans to put in some raised beds up here too. We eat fresh, local food, I preserve what we don’t eat from my garden, and we buy more produce from local farmers that I can, freeze, and dehydrate. Now, it is the middle of winter and we are still eating from my garden, in a sense, though my canning jars are emptying faster than I’d like and I have plans to put up even more this summer. In my mind I am living on a farm–an urban farm, but a farm nonetheless.
I am writing too. I have a comprehensive outline for a novel on my desk that I worked on last year, I’ve just been published in Story Circle Network’s annual anthology, I’m currently filling the role of guest editor for the upcoming issue of a Canadian adoption publication, and there’s this blog of course.
I am about to embark on a year-long photography course with Canadian photographer, Kim Klassen, called Be Still – Fifty-Two that I’m looking forward to very much. I love Kim’s style of photography; it’s simple and quiet, exactly what I’m drawn to. Check out her website for some inspiration.
Today, in this silence and solitude that feeds my soul, I find myself with a day in which to call my own and fill how I choose. The possibilities are almost limitless. I commented to Gerry a few days ago that now, even in retirement, I have more projects and things I want to work on than I have time for. It’s not a bad problem to have.
We’re a little over a month away from the official date that marks one year since I retired and I’ll save this post to mark that date. By then–by the time you read this–the days will be growing longer, I’ll be drawing plans for my 2015 garden, cooking up new recipes, trying to finish my winter knitting project before spring arrives and I have no desire to work on it, and refining my writing plan for the year.
For now, today, on this quiet Sunday morning in January I’m basking in gratitude for this life and considering possibilities for tomorrow. It’s a good life.