Land in the country, a secluded place, isolated from curious, peering neighbors. An acreage with dozens – hundreds! – of mature trees, a pond or stream delightfully situated somewhere along the fringes. Grand vistas looking out onto rolling hillsides, fields of corn and grain, a huge expanse of black, star-studded sky, where gentle breezes roil the springtime air, where the great snows amble with fierce intensity along wintry plains.
A place of our own where autumn lushness, the beauty of scarlet, gold and ochre take our breaths away in the waning light of an October afternoon-turned-evening, the crisp air tantalized with tender wisps of fire-pit smoke as we snuggle inside colorful quilts tucked tightly around our thighs in the comfortable confines of teal-blue Adirondack chairs. We sip Merlot, our rosy cheeks illumined by the orange-red-blue flames of a roaring fire.
It’s quiet here, serene. We smile on occasion or warmly shrug our shoulders by way of silent acknowledgment of the other, a private ritual of ‘Hello! How are you, my love?” Our shared camaraderie…. You’ll hear an owl in the distant woods, once again amazed that I’m unable to hear its call. Me, I’m resigned though a little forlorn that my diminished sense of hearing prevents me from doing so. But I’ve come to terms knowing that audible pleasures pale in comparison to those afforded by my remaining senses. Sights and scents, touch and textures and hearing what I’m able to, these senses all more than compensate.
I’m at peace, immersed in the glory of our natural surroundings, this home we’ve made for ourselves. An aging Coco at our feet, the three of us digging our solitude. We’re content with this station of life. My son is doing well. He’s happy. With our parents now having all passed into the next realm, we are able to come and go more easily now that their care is, sadly, no longer of concern. I’ve left disjointedness and dismay in my wake. Tired of the scraps some would throw my way, expecting that I might still be satisfied with those meager morsels, at long last I’ve broken free. I’m living MY life. There still remain those who accept and embrace and cherish me for who I am. This, I’ve learned, is more than enough.
COVID-19, though some effects continue to linger, having manifested themselves into a new social and cultural reality, is no longer the health menace it was back in 2020 and those challenging subsequent years of recovery, aided in large part by a new (sane! rational! compassionate! articulate and wise!) administration whose hard-fought / hard-won policies, mandates and actions helped to guide us beyond the brink.
Travel continues to present more obstacles than opportunities. Our forays have been curtailed somewhat by our own fears and self-limitation though we are branching out further and farther into the world more and more, seeking to explore all that awaits us.
In this future world, this idealized life I’m creating here for us, we remain content to shape, nurture and fashion this place we call home. We revel in the magnificence of ‘our little land’. Our interests – his, mine and ours! – sustain us. We continue to read and learn, to write and play music, to exert our bodies (as best we can) with activities to keep us active, to keep us limber and lithe (again, as best we can!) Our love is strong. Our lives, sublime.