cronechronicler

Exploring the poetry of everyday life

Passages

Summertime six years ago
I settled in this space
Unpacked and put my memories
On walls and table tops
In places I found evidence
Of occupant who came before
Tiny holes in closet door
Suggest a place to hang his ties
Apartment life is transitory
I put roots down none the less
Created my new home.

These past six years began a tale
Chapters of unexpected change
So many things I used to do
No longer are within my reach
My apartment is the same
It is I who have a different view
I will re-member cherished gifts
Grieve and lay them to the side
Look out the window at the tree
Watch pink clouds at early dawn
Embrace anew life’s mystery.

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The Art of Wheelchairing

Finally in 2015 I gave in and ordered a wheelchair for a trip to Mexico to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. I considered it would be useful getting me through Customs. That was the beginning of my shaping a new world view from the sitting-point of a wheelchair.

The first leg of my flight took me to Chicago. But Chicago was having “weather” and I never got there. Instead I spent the day in the Cleveland airport parked in my wheelchair near other wheelchair occupants. My first lesson was that not only elder folk use them. A youngish woman who had injured her leg in a motorcycle accident sat beside me. When she wanted to buy food she loaded her carry-on bag in the chair and pushed off. At lunch time I followed suit feeling only a little self-conscious. My new journey began. Not only is a wheelchair good as a conveyance for carrying luggage and making small trips to find food, but also it is quite comfortable. The arms and foot rests are a cut above the usual seating in the gate area. I discovered the wheelchairs in the Houston airport, where I ended up after Chicago closed down, even have cup holders.

Last weekend I flew to Minneapolis to visit my son and his family. There were delays going and coming back home that left me to settle into my compact wheelchair world. I noticed in the concourse that people were using wheelchairs to push large luggage and small children. Wheels have always been a radical part of moving civilization forward. When I pushed my wheelchair to the Women’s restroom I was having trouble getting my chair into a stall that had a Handicap sign on it but had room only for a person. A kind young mother accompanied by her child in a stroller tried to help me. I confessed that I was not very good at navigating. She replied that I was doing great and she could never do as well. I thought to myself that she had already learned the basic lessons from pushing her children around and just didn’t realize it.

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Sea-scapades: Part Two

The sand has its own challenge
I found as I sat in my chair
Low to the ground and comfy
Not so when it’s time to arise

My legs do not work in close quarters
Needing more distance to stand
I dug with my heels like a turtle
And carved a big hole in the sand

I rocked forward a few times
Until I was almost launched
Caught my balance and stood up
A bona fide victor at last.

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Haiku: Alchemy of Aging

Days become more still
Old siren songs grow quieter
New drumbeat sounds now

Amazing freedom
Choreographs day’s tempo
Measured steps suit me

Laughter and lightness
Transform binding to-do lists
To “catch as catch can”

I watch with wonder
Diminishing energy
Re-shapes my desires

Life has new balance
I find joy in small things
Transformed into gold

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Everyday Inspiration Day Five: “What Is Real?”

It doesn’t happen all at once, said the Skin Horse (to the Velveteen Rabbit). You  become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off (by children who play with you), and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and  very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.   From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

I discovered this quote from a children’s book  long after my children were the age for bedtime stories. I was going through a divorce when I first read these words. They echoed the words of a counselor who told me I had to go through this difficult time, not around it. What the Skin Horse said about being Real comes back to me now that age is actually loosening my joints, I no longer have vision in one of my eyes and I am a bit shabby compared to my younger years. I  do still have my hair, now grown white.

Aging has challenges I do not expect to escape. Still, being Real is pretty wonderful. It helps me see that I am much more than what is visible on the outside. I’ve gained self-acceptance,  wisdom and strength  letting myself just Be.

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Haiku: ExUBERance

Had to quit driving
Still retain independence
Think I’ll call Uber

Like Don Quixote
Setting out to tilt windmills
Saddled a smartphone

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The Permanence of Now

While I ambled along with my shopping cart
A car pulled up beside me.
A voice asked for my ID
Because I walked too speedily.

It was a joke. I know the man.
A mainstay in my travel plans
He provides me rides to catch my planes.
He gave sad news. He’ll soon retire and move out to LA.

I moved here four short years ago
Already my future is rearranged.
If I should choose to dwell in “now”
I’ll freely live in daily change.

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Give and Take

Two big trips in one month have undone me.
I see in the mirror that aging’s o’er taken me
My bones creak with knowing, my gait is slowing
I certainly have been brought up short.

Mind set on perseverance I plowed ahead
Burned all my energy going the distance
Got home, collapsed and then I asked
Is this really worth it?

The answer calls for creative investment
Spending my energy on what I like best
Expanding, enriching life in my home town
Short travels with family icing on my cake.

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Fashion Statement

My once-straight neck stooping
Peering into the mirror
Who is that old woman I spy?
Vaguely familiar I think I do know her
Can it be she is I?

Yesterday friend gave appraisal of me
As one “who is dwelling within my own skin”.
High compliment I received it
And now contemplate it
My settling into vintage-aged years.

Living in harmony with effects of aging
Softens the blow of multiple nuisances
Brought on by years of my being younger.
My body must deal with the natural calamity
Of living a rich life – and then getting old.

A new tool I discover and add to my arsenal
A distinct sharpening of my sense of humor.
My larger belly is wonderful for laughing
Loud, unselfconscious guffaws at my foibles
As I relinquish a measure of dignity.

These days clothes are a problem
Models on the runway just aren’t my shape.
What’s in my closet spans years of styles
I can fashion new looks as things slowly wear out
Survival of the fittest dictates my wardrobe.

Today I live at the pace of now
Finding delight in the scenes out my window.
Accessing new worlds in my writing and reading
On my own magic carpet I travel afar.
I like the view from within my own skin.

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Writing 101 – Open Letter to Ed

Dear Ed,

I’m sorry I missed celebrating your 100th birthday in June. Since I moved away I’ve thought of you often. I can picture the way you looked when I met you twenty years ago. You wore, as always, your white hair in a ponytail that matched your beard and your artistic spirit. You had a wonderful tweed jacket you often paired with a paisley turtleneck. I never told you that I had one just like it that I ordered from Lands’ End. I didn’t wear mine to church because we might have worn our matching t-necks on the same Sunday – not that it would have been a terrible faux pas. We always talked about the books we were currently reading. You introduced me to the ingenious spy novels of Alan Furst. Your annual Christmas creation of a calendar-photo gallery-arts review keep me up to date on the best new books, movies and plays. I marveled that you traveled to New York to see all of Wagner’s Ring Circle in one week. I remember that you stayed at the YMCA. By then you must have been in your 90’s and hadn’t slowed down much. Your first concession to aging was to get a Leki hiking staff which you never called a cane, but found helpful in walking. When I developed a knee problem I bought one just like yours. It lives in my coat closet for when I need it.

When you gave in a little to the encroachment of time I got to know you in a different way. For years you walked to church but the ten blocks was getting to be a bit too much for you. You could still drive but your old Toyota had engine problems which your son promised to fix but never got around to. I suspect this was easier for him than suggesting that you quit driving. My husband and I lived nearby so we began to give you a ride to church with us. You and I got to know each other as people gradually transitioning to “old age” though we certainly would not have confessed to it. You let me do little things for you, like carry your cup of coffee to a table when the congregation gathered for refreshments after worship. We became simply friends.

I miss you Ed. You taught me to enjoy the wonder of being alive. I always said I wanted to be like you when I became vintage-aged. I’m working on it.

Love and best wishes.

Your friend

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