Saturday 22 November 2014

Someday You Will Need It

When Zoomer Magazine, the publication that bills itself as the magazine for Boomers With Zip, asked the question, "What did you do to get ready for winter?", I could have thought of all the yard work I did to clean it up and shut it down for the season.  I could have thought of replacing weather stripping on doors, getting the woodstove up and running and harvesting the last of the garden produce. There are endless things to be done to an old house and country property to batten down the hatches and get ready for a Canadian winter.

None of that is what came to mind.  You see, the best work I did to get ready was done long before. Sometimes, years before.  I've been trying to think how to write this, my revelation, without sounding like a pompous ass.  I decided to just write it and assume you will understand what it is I'm really saying, because it's important that we all realize that our actions have long reaching effects.

I'm not sure I consider myself a Zoomer because my Zip seems to have been Zapped lately.  Sure, I raked and mulched, stored tomato cages and winterized the chicken coop.  My not very Zoomer bones were warning me that winter was coming early this year and I was fighting a race against time.
Lo and behold, a pickup truck showed up in my driveway last weekend.  It was a special truck because of the accessories it carried; two men and a log splitter!  Oh yeah, my brother in law and our friend had showed up to split a cord of wood for me.

Why?  Why would they show up, unannounced, to spend a day doing that hard work?  Because, I have always tried to be there for them, is my guess. ~

A friend of the friend had offered to clean the woodstove chimney.  I managed to do that myself. Why? Because I don't want to be a bother to anyone.  He showed up anyway and cleaned my eavestroughs, just as they were beginning to freeze over, packed with leaves.  He didn't even wait around for my thank you, just did the job and left.

If you are heading into the senior years, you'd better take stock of how you nurture your relationships. Of course, I never thought of personal gain as I went about interacting with people and enjoying my life with friends and family.  But, the truth is, we are all stockpiling poker chips for a time when we aren't able to do it all ourselves.  If you are still in your prime, just think of how many people you have time to love, help and care for and how many will be more than happy to give back to you.

Just as the log splitting was done, sleet began to fall.  An epic snowstorm was about to begin.  I was snug in my house with a blazing fire.  When the inevitable thaw happens, the snow will melt on the roof and run freely through the eavestroughs.

Best of all, I will have learned to accept help graciously and with gratitude. ~

So what was my revelation?  Perhaps nothing new or earth shattering, but something that I know for certain.  We are all living longer and we will all need help at some point in time. I'm only sixty two and I have lots of years ahead to give a young mom a break by minding her kids for an afternoon.  I am lucky to have been educated and could help those, who have not had that advantage, to learn to read. I have years of experience in the entertainment industry to help new artists develop their talents. I have more years in the interior design field to pass on tips and ideas.  I have a blog, with loyal readers to discuss issues, causes and things I believe in; a forum to talk about positive change.

I have had many times in my life when I wondered if anything I did made any difference.  I have been hurt and disillusioned and felt put upon by an ungrateful world.  In my last post I said I was discontented and had a "What's it all about Alfie?" attitude.

What's it all about?  It's about loving and giving.  It's also about receiving.

Then, the snowshoes can stay on the bedroom wall. ~

Care for others now and it can snow all it wants.~

You will be well taken care of!

Thursday 6 November 2014

The Season Of My Discontent

They say fall is the season of change.  Everything dies or goes to sleep for the winter, ready to transform into new life in the spring.  It makes me tired and restless at the same time.  Just as some people suffer from light deprivation in a northern winter, I suffer from "What's it all about, Alfie?" in the fall.

As far as the eye can see, I  have masses and masses of these to deal with. ~

I mulch and rake and burn and they just keep on falling.  My seasonal disorder makes me hear the voice of one daughter who thinks I'm mad to live out here and never misses an opportunity to tout the wonders of condo living to me.  I tell myself she's right and it's ridiculous for a woman of sixty two to have all this property to care for by herself.

I've worked too much the last few months just to pay the bills around here.  It's a Catch 22 of working outside the home to keep it all going and letting things get into a mess at home or working around the property and being too cash strapped to do the maintenance that must be done.

Coops have to be cleaned, repaired and winterized and I wonder why I can't be a normal person that just goes and buys eggs in the store. ~

Docks have to be taken out and secured for the winter. ~

The river deck is a shambles of overturned furniture and lounge cushions that some enterprising animal has torn apart for their winter bedding.  All that foam has to be picked up by hand. ~

So, today I just want to run away from leaves, chicken poop and vomiting 26 yr. old cats.  I don't want to be responsible for so many pets or gardens or 200 year old houses.  It's like post par tum blues for seniors.

I do know the solution to my malady, though. Slow down!  I focus on driving the tractor around and around the yard to chop up as many leaves as I can, but I stop to take breaks and enjoy the nature that surrounds me.

Old Utah looks content as he sits in a pile of leaves.  I'm aware that this picture I will take is the story of the end stage of life for Utah and the leaves he sits amongst. ~

I remember to smile as the chickens run to follow the tractor and see what treats I have overturned for them. ~

Although the tractor is worrying me by constantly stalling, I stop to chat with a neighbour.  What's the point in living in a village if you can't take time to have a bit of a talk to them about their cat?

I try to be 'in the moment' and notice the things that make me happy, rather than focus on all that is wrong.

A garden ornament that is ageing beautifully ~

The sun setting over the river. ~

It makes me remember why I live here.  Lorraine Anderson describes me very well, in Sisters Of The Earth, when she says, "Nature has been for me, for as long as I can remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight:  a home, a teacher, a companion,".

I'll take November as 'me' time and do a little self nurturing.  ~

A sweater clad hot water bottle and a book are a very good start!