June 16, 2022
“Wait, wait,” I mumbled to myself and the open air. I had removed the Jeep roof panels for my afternoon drive. My destination laid only 20 miles northeast, but the sunshine and temperature combined perfectly. I couldn’t help but create a mini summer’s getaway!
As I downshifted to the first stop sign, I realized my shoes were still clothing my feet. For the true summer experience, I needed to drive barefoot. Luckily, I had no traffic around me. At the stop sign, I quickly flipped off the sandals!
Ah! Summer freedom!
As I winded through the trees and hills, between creeks lining the road and farmers hay fields, I wondered why I write. As I drove, I wondered why at a lot of areas of my life, but I wanted to begin with the writing.
Why? I like to write. I like to write of life. I want to write of the everythings in my life, especially the mistakes and unpleasantries. I do not want anyone to ever feel lonely or haunted by loneliness. I want to write in the hope that if someone needed to read of a fifty-six year old’s life, they might find comfort. They might find a spot to be ‘okay’ like a huge rock beside a hiking trail.
I decided that I would want to write here, under my namesake, for that reason.
Two Days and Thirteen Hours Later.
Although I paint it as such and I attempt to extract every morsel from life in order create ‘as such,’ mostly life is not the ever romantic journey. It’s probably a good thing too.
Even after fifty-six years, surprises do still occur. For example, I became aware that my love of flowers was not appreciated by a close friend. In fact, “he” nastily commented with a growl I had not seen in years. Then I realized his growl had shown months ago not years.
Such an odd turn of a relationship particularly upon the topic of flowers. In my twenties, such a revelation might spur me to spite. In my thirties and forties, I would have been devastated, then turn inwards for years.
All about flowers? Yes and no. Relationships are unique blends of personalities and communications among other interpersonal dynamics. Most of the time ‘flowers’ or a similar topic are not about flowers at all.
In my thirties and forties I would have unbearably vulnerable to any such conflict. As I reflect, my heart droops with those memories. My life filled with the typical daily events and concerns.
In my late forties and fifties, I came to realize that the heavy emotional load was not mine nor was it even a flicker of mine to bear. Did I have responsibilities and accountabilities? Of course. I had never been one to walk away from responsibility.
You guessed it. Divorce anyone?
In the years since, there are days of healing which stretched into years. In the simplest statement of that extended process, only recently have I come to terms. In fact, that realization comes on the heels of my friend’s growl about the flowers. “Coming to terms” means an arrival at definition. Those terms are about my life. Those definitions are about my life.
What a scary process is this “coming to terms!” I had never been in this state before, at least with some semblance of awareness and wisdom. (I pray, at least an ounce of wisdom and a pound of prayer).
In my twenties and early thirties I think I was bold with life. And mistaken so many times but there is no other way.
As I drove to a favorite country store twenty minutes from home, I ran through the shopping list in my head. “Flowers.” I really did need more flowers to complete displays. The quality of the specimens at this store was such that I kept them growing throughout the winter. Only until the repair at the building caused freezing Wisconsin temperatures to nip at them did they perish.
And ginger and Pakistani dates and real cane sugar root beer.
As I drove, I cried. The flower incident coincided with the departure of a friend from my life. Sometimes a person feels anger. I wanted anger at both the flower incident and the departure. I had justification for anger.
That’s the best kind, isn’t it?
But I couldn’t wrap my heart into that wave. I had a sweet twenty minute drive with bare feet and no cover atop the Jeep. I could not do anger. I cried. I wanted spite to smite but anytime I have chosen such feelings they seem to glue into my activities. The association is overpowering and unforgettable. I am unsure why but in my life has always rung true.
Again, the association is ridiculous but I have lived too long to fight it. So I choose not to partake in spite if I can. (Think ‘Revenge Dress’. Definitely warranted, but it is still sad.)
I could not bear to buy flowers – especially those flowers – with meanness. I could buy them with a heavy heart.
And I kept driving.
The store stands on the side of a well-travelled vacation-type country road. Tucked among tall pines, it is surrounded by the family’s home, a greenhouse, several outbuildings and workshops and a gazebo made popular as an ice cream eating, road watching spot. Families and couples came and went; some with flowers and ice cream, some with groceries.
I wandered around, snaking my way through plants and people. I made my purchases, then filled the Jeep with them.
As I drove home, my thoughts remained with the flowers. I laughed at the thought of the rebelliousness of them. “No, no,” I reminded myself. My friend’s horribleness would not translate to those flowers. I just liked them. I wanted them in my life.
The ‘flower man,’ as he will forever be named in my head, did apologize. I learned a long time ago that forgiveness is the only path, but I have learned another lesson. It is simple, really, and it is this: I would love to forgive and forget. But I usually don’t forget. Plus, nastiness for the sake of being nasty accumulates. Yes, we all make mistakes. Yes, we all sometimes sink to the human behavior level of creature. And I can handle a lot. My life journey has shown me that I can handle an infinite amount of ‘nasty.’
But I can also say ‘no thank you’ to swirling with souls who thrive in nastiness. And I have come to terms that there do exist souls as such. My standards for something different are worth the alone time. I have paid for that chance to live.
My life. My flowers. Oh yes, my terms.
And that made me smile indeed.
Much love to you, s.