women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Just One More

"I'm so glad we had this time together,
Just to have a laugh, and sing a song.
Seems we just get started and before we know it
Comes the time we have to say, 'So long."

- Carol Burnett theme by Joe Hamilton

When I was young, my mother would call me in for supper. I would beg...

"Just one more!"

As I grew older, my family would be ready to call it a day on the ski slopes. I would beg...

"Just one more!"

In college, my roommate would holler from the dormitory hall, "Come on; get a move on!" I would beg...

"Just one more!"

The other night, my husband asked me when I was coming to bed; was I going to knit all night? I begged...

"Just one more!"

I don't like endings, happy or not. I like beginnings.
  • The anticipation of a good read as I crack the spine on a new paperback.
  • The smell of the water as I approach the shore.
  • The delicious stretch in the morning as I wake for another day.
  • The way the air freshens and cools as I approach the lake house.
  • Greeting family and welcoming friends.
I also like middles.
  • The way I shut out the world because I can't turn the pages fast enough, as I become thoroughly enveloped in a fictional world.
  • The heat of the sun on my back as I doze off on the beach.
  • The feeling of accomplishment, as I complete a good morning's work and break for lunch.
  • The sigh my life becomes as I settle into the slower rhythms of life at the lake.
  • Savoring the pleasure of an evening with loved ones.
But endings, no matter how happy, leave me melancholy and pensive, as what was draws to a close and what is yet to be remains unrealized.

Except for when I finish a pattern. Them I am happy to call it a day, and move on to something else. Not because I did not enjoy the process, but because I am always looking forward to more ideas than I have time to complete.

If only I could sleep-knit...

I write this from the porch in the lake house. My DH left this afternoon, braving the post holiday traffic so he can be back in Indiana in time for a good night's sleep before returning to work tomorrow.

I, however, am enjoying a few more stolen hours, before packing up and hitting the road early tomorrow morning.

What urgent activity causes me to stay on? What task is yet to be fulfilled?

Absolutely nothing. All I can say is...

"Just one more."

One more night. One more white fish dinner. One more row. One more page. One more dream. One more day. One more kiss. One more hug. One more moment.

Before it slips away.

I feel time's passage more keenly these days. The years go so fast. Nothing lasts forever.

Not even the most intricate of lace shawls.

Has it really been six years that we have been planning our move up here full time? And yet we linger in Indy, trapped by a decaying house and an even more decrepit real estate market.

I am going to celebrate my 53rd birthday this month. My father, with whom I share this day, will turn 77 (I think- 53 year old brains don't work as well as they used to.) This is my 52nd summer at the lake, my father's somewhat more.

And yet the distant past seems so clear, when I close my eyes.
  • Coming round the final turn and knowing we were finally here.
  • My father's arms carrying me into the dark cottage.
  • Checking for spiders before daring to get into bed at night.
  • The sound of the Luna moth beating her wings against the screen.
  • Helping my grandmother hang out the wash.
  • My sister and I taking turns drying the dishes.
  • The scavenger hunts my grandfather laid in the surrounding woods.
And memories of a less distant past:

My children:
  • Toddling about the yard.
  • Playing in the sand
  • Sleeping on my husband's shoulder as he carries them into the dark cottage.
My father is growing older, as am I. We have talked of future arrangements and final wishes. It is best to be prepared, though he is yet vital and still beats the pants off younger family members in cards every evening.

I know that my own faculties are slipping with age; my father's are also. Time waits for no man. Or woman.

And yet I would tarry. I would remember the beginnings. I would revel in the middle.

I know that on his last day, as on mine, I will beg...

"Just one more, Lord. Just one more."


evelyn said...

Darn it Susan, you got me big time with this one - as my only child enters her last yr in high school...

Anonymous said...

You have made me weep... oh, how much I miss my dad. He passed on 9 years ago, yet it seems like only yesterday that we connected.

Take good care - enjoy each moment, even though each moment slips away elusively.

Donna Lee said...

Boy did you evoke some feelings with that one. Anticipation of loss is a tough one to have, harder than the loss itself. I,too, would ask for 'just one more'.

DawnMarie said...

Beautiful sentiments. I'm turning 40 next year and thankfully, I've learned to appreciate the little things in life like good books, films and being as creative as my skills allow. You have put it into words eloquently. Thank you for sharing. Hugs Dawn Marie.xx

Elizabeth said...

I have experienced so many endings of late - my dad's death followed by that of my father-in-law, my dear brother's marriage, my daughter's years at high school. You've touched on something very real in recalling the brevity of life, but you also remind us of the constancy of family and love. Thanks for sharing.

thaddeusrose said...

The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just where the hands will stop,
At late or early hour.

To lose one's wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one's health is more.
To lose one's soul is such a loss
As no man can restore.

The present only is our own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in 'tomorrow'
For the clock may then be still.

The Clock of Life, a poem thought to have been written by Robert H Smith

Amberpearl said...

I turned 53 myself near the start of the year and having taken early retirement and the very end of last year I was looking forward to the years to come when DH and I could get more out of life. Please don't wait, don't take it for granted. My DH was taken from me suddenly, tragically and unexpectedly a few weeks ago by a massive heart attack. Life has a habit of screwing up your plans, enjoy it now.

Ruth said...

I'll echo Amberpearl's comments. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can enjoy today. Life is short, enjoy every last bit of it.

I'm 65 and I see my mortality. By golly, I intend to play and live life to the fullest.

Anonymous said...

I echo everyone's sentiments, you touch my heart so with your lovely words. God has blessed you with such talents but the greatest of these just may be the ability to touch the hearts of others. Thank you!
Omaha, Nebraska

Debbie said...

I love this!

Anonymous said...

I have never wrote anything on any website before, but I had to tell you how much this touched me. You write beautifully. Have you thought of writing books? You should, because I didn't want it to end.