October 22: I’ve found a favorite spot at our new library, among the newspapers and magazines. A fellow retiree smiled at me. “Working on your novel? I see you there when I come in to read the headlines.” We talked about poetry, painting, family stories —and his own writing. I know we will see each other again. I’ll have a Mary Oliver poem in my pocket when I say hello.
October 23: I came upon our town’s annual Plein Air festival today, where local artists displayed their work. Weaving around a spacious patch of lawn near the farmers market, nearly one hundred easels held oil paintings and watercolors. Each presented an engaging glimpse of our town, painted from lawns and sidewalks everywhere. I saw — and recognized — church windows, cafe umbrellas, historic buildings, and shaded creeks. I was too spellbound to take a photo.
October 24: I looked to the right and then to the left. I peeked under the table and exhaled. I was alone in the house for four hours and my chores were mostly done. I pulled out my favorite board game: The Big Book of Madness. Because it’s a collaborative game, I could play two hands of cards to outwit monsters, break curses and cast spells. In a fit of enthusiastic confidence, I increased the difficulty level and lost both times. But “lost” is relative. All along the way, I crafted strategies, dodged madness and had a splendid time. That’s the real win.
October 25: On Saturday, I returned home from my extra-long morning walk to find a glittering pile of glass at our front door. The panel of our storm door lay in a thousand pieces. I cleaned the debris and tweezed shards from the frame. No other damage was done. Returning inside by another door, I went about my business.
Eventually, to retrieve the mail, I stepped through frame of the storm door, now glass free. Perhaps it was because I had to lift my leg just a bit higher or tuck my shoulders in a few inches. Maybe I even ducked my head. Whatever the reason, Jeremiah — who had the same experience — agreed that passing through the frame conjured fairy tales and magic. Portals to adventure: a mirror, a wardrobe, and now an empty but beckoning storm door.
October 26: A mom maneuvered her double stroller onto my side of the walking path. She bent down and plucked something red from the grass. Pushing back the canopy shading her long-legged daughter, she offered a bright leaf to the child. The girl reached up and brought the leaf close to her eyeglasses. She was smiling as I passed.
October 26: A nine-year old girl in soccer shorts and shin guards walked slowly toward me on the path. On the practice field behind me, children had started to gather. The girl would soon join them, but not before extracting one more exciting page from the book almost brushing her nose.
October 27: We lay on our backs, knees bent, soles on the floor. Our yoga teacher invited us to tip our knees outward and press our bare feet together: butterfly pose. Then, she said, grab opposite elbows and, if you can, place them on the floor behind your head. “Like a box.” I pondered my shape from head to toe — actually, a multitude of shapes: a square, a circle, a rectangle and a diamond. In my mind, I was a whimsical stick-figure, dancing.
October 28: I walked along a shady path between the creek and the back of the firehouse. The big old hook and ladder truck rested outside the garage. Fire fighters busied themselves everywhere, with hoses and towels and other cleaning tools. The hook-and-ladder truck shone like a polished apple and its 20 flashing lights, scattered like sequins, giggled at all the attention.
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