Time to……….?

What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know. If I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not. My soul is on fire to know this most intricate enigma.                                  St. Augustine of Hippo

After more than a full year of Big Projects layered onto Big Project, I woke the last two mornings with my head empty,

“I thought your head was always empty,” younger son said via phone which made it safe to say.

Addle-headed is not the same as empty-headed.

I had no trip to organize (we’d had three over the past year), no pressing detail work, no painting or fixing, no editing or marketing. No renovations. All of which required Big Projects over the past year, usually more than one at a time.

The last two Big Projects are in: final galley edits on the poetry book went in Friday with all the dots, tiddles, M-dashes, misspelled words and commas marked and corrected. On Monday, taxes followed the trail to the post office, complete with K Schedule and A Schedule and forms with various numbers – several beginning with 88-somethings, and a second packet with the Missouri taxes and its several pages.

Both projects filled themselves with a multitude of numbers and fine details and checking and rechecking which filled my head the first thing upon waking. Big Projects, of whatever kind, do that.

What’s a girl to do with no Big Projects? With time on her hands and an empty head?

I’ve never been a big television watcher. A farm childhood and years of international living and travel took care of that piece of American culture. I missed most of the 80s decade all together. Actually, I missed a lot of the 70s too. What I remember from the 1980s is living in New Orleans, New York, St. Lucia, Mexico, and Washington D.C. – where I owned a television for the first time in years. The same television now lives in our bedroom.

It’s too cold and rainy to walk although my body could certainly use a long walk. A recent bout with amnesia and high blood pressure (fancy that!) precludes work with weights above my head. Yoga requires too many head down poses to spend much time with that.

So I stare out the window at a muddy yard, remember last summer’s drought. The oak has stubbornly refused to leaf out. It obviously knew something the rest of us only guessed at. Its time is not the calendar’s time. Its time is its own.

As is mine.

Time, that most elusive and unknowable task-master, stretching.

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Found Treasures #1

The tale that wouldn’t stop wagging

In the latest office move and resultant clearing out and tossing, I’ve found saved treasurers that, taken together, may become a series: ergo the title. And like all saved gems, regardless of the makeup (glass, plastic, paper, pottery), they have a story. This story is The Tale That Wouldn’t Stop Wagging. And yes, I’ve used “tale” and not “tail.”

The tale really begins with my older sister Judy and me and sixty plus years of experiences, fighting as two sisters often do, and taking care, as sisters also tend to do.

The first time we each married, we married within two years of each other. Our children are stair-stepped in ages and the oldest grandchildren in the family. We both tended children and homes for a good many years and we both divorced. And then we each remained single for a good many more years. The last time we each married, the timing also ran to about two years apart, but until then we spent a lot of time taking care of each other in one way or another.

The Tale That Wouldn’t Stop Wagging is one of the reminders of that care taking.

The way we are different is also predictable: Judy, as oldest is remarkably responsible: a good employee; I, as second child, am remarkably irresponsible, never holding down a full-time job with benefits job in my life. We’ve both moved a lot, but my moves have tended toward the extreme while hers have remained in the Continental United States. This is minor, but figures into the tale of tails.

In the early 1980s, I lived in New York City for a few years. I can’t remember how or why I became a member of the Humane Society of New York, but I did. I had a cat, but she’d come to New York from New Orleans, so it wasn’t as if I used their services much. But I became a member.

And then, in the late 1980s, I moved to Mexico City. The cat lived with friends, and I left a forwarding address of Bellingham, WA, which is where my sister, her last name also Sunderland, lived at the time. Judy received the newsletters from the humane society. And then she moved from one address in Bellingham to another, and of course, the humane society was able to track that.

And then, she became Sunderland-Yorkey, and the humane society took note. Every once in a while, she’d receive another newsletter. And then she moved, with her husband, to Spring Texas. But still in the Continental United States with no gaps in addresses.

In about 2007, years after she moved, and years after I’d moved to Kansas City, and years after getting the last Humane Society of New York newsletter back in Bellingham, the above envelope arrived, replete with printed tails. She called and told me and we laughed long and hard, and then she sent it to me, and I wrote, “The tale that wouldn’t stop wagging” on it, and put it in a file, thinking it would be a good story someday. And then I responsibly cleaned out the file, found it again, and it is a good story.

That’s the problem with being responsible. Things find you.

Now she’s moved again but I’m still in Kansas City, a hyphenated-name in the files of the Humane Society of New York. But a few years have passed. Time enough for return envelopes to return and a new address begun. Eventually, another envelope will wend its way to where she is.

The tale to be continued, in one way or another, or as Judy puts it, “I’ve no doubt that when/if I get to Heaven, within a couple of weeks I will have mail from the NY H. S. addressed to “Janet Sunderland-Yorkey!”

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