Yesterday, my birthday, my 53rd even, India gave me a great gift: she climbed up on to the slippery ridge of the new greenhouse and laid the rain and snow guard down. What a gift: to know someone flexible and fearless enough to take on the task. John spent the rest of the day closing in the sides (went much faster than putting up the roof, as one might imagine) and getting one door in. Just a few more pieces, namely the gable ends,the cap that will go over the ridge and a few finishing touches and the greenhouse will be together.
I spent most of the day picking away at the cleaning up tasks I have: moving all the rest of the plants out of the nursery area into their winter home, and starting to clean out the nursery raised beds. Because we did not have much traffic in the nursery area (other than Steve rumbling by to glean a few more old pallets) Maggie was able to be my shadow most of the day. Who knew that poodles were really in the working dog class?
I did take a break to zip over to the project that Jon Smith of Rockers is working on for us. He’s done a great job of finding some pieces of ledge and putting them back together to create a two-tiered terrace. This is going to be an outstanding installation when it is through, and I am very lucky to be able to work with such an artist with rock.
The day was full of special treats: Julie gave me Dog Songs, Mary Oliver’s new book of poetry. (Actually, the birthday celebration started the evening before with special treats: finocciona, delicious camembert, olives, Peter’s bottle of Antinori chianti, all shared with friends.) I had gifts from my parents and sister, a surprise bottle of champagne hanging on the door from Will and Joanne, greetings from many, including Jack on the trumpet with his birthday song. We ended the day with a trip to the NC Wyeth show at the Farnsworth and dinner at In Good Company with Suzanne and Betsy. A wonderful day. Oh, and I wore my new birthday shoes as well. How good is that.
Probably typical as one tips on the other side of the half century mark, I think about decisions I’ve made. Some good, some not so good, a typical life. But Julie and I have made choices that have brought us to this place. It’s not a place of financial wealth for us. Seeing contemporaries retiring early or contemplating retiring, with enough income to live quite comfortably and travel and dine out regularly I am aware of some of the financial ramifications of our choices. We are not going to have that sort of retirement. We will always need to be generating some sort of income somehow. We are having to figure out how to deal with some debt we have accrued (We are.) and work our way out. But we have managed so far, so I expect we will from here as well.
Both Julie and I chose to move to this place, to live somewhere we could dig in and know the land, know the people. Who knew our place would include a giant catapult for launching pumpkins across the library field as a way of celebrating the launch of the new library. That sure was a fun event this past Saturday.
Mostly we are trying to make a living that is a life, a life where we can be creative, be part of a community, and basically know life as much as possible while we are living it. It’s about finding deep joy.
One Response to Birthday thoughts
Ah! I liked that very much!
The greenhouse is looking good. So glad you had a good Birthday!