RIP Mary Oliver, and Thanks…

Versifier, rhymester, sonneteer, lyricist are all synonyms for Poet, a person who writes poems.

The second meaning of the word Poet is “a person possessing special powers of imagination or expression” and that defines Mary Oliver, who passed away Thursday at 83.  She published 30plus poetry collections, won the Pulitzer Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, National Book Awards, and was undeniably the country’s best-selling poet.  Even if you’re not a poetry-lover, you have probably still seen the popular last lines of her poem “The Summer Day” in all of your inspirational pinterest boards:

Though I now own 6 volumes of her poetry, I didn’t discover her until the 90’s (the Summer Day line was written in 1963)  when I bought “New and Collected Poems”.   There was a poem in that book that stopped me in my tracks, that made me re-read and look to heaven with gratitude for the Word that I needed so much at that time…and I have needed it again and again.   It still reminds me of where I was and how I got away. It will always encourage me to keep on keeping on the journey of my soul.


One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.


I could only hope that my writing could touch the hearts of others in the way she touched mine,  but perhaps someone reading this today will hear her words speak to them and determine to save the only life you can save…



Master Plan for Retirement

I was reading a blog today written by a woman who hasn’t yet retired.  She feels that a person should take the first few years of retirement to just “find themselves” before making a Master Plan.

As we were making arrangements for Casey’s retirement, there were so many things to consider financially and those were our priority.  Once we had that all figured out, we tried to imagine what it would be like to be so free from obligations and commitments…and it looked kinda scary.  We decided we needed something to do, especially Casey, who has to always be busy, or so I thought.

We bought the travel trailer, agreeing that we would spend winters in a warmer clime, as well as visit faraway places at our leisure.  We were pie-eyed and bought brand-new, against our own better judgment, because we pictured ourselves boondocking in the belly of the deserts and the tip-tops of the mountains.  We made elaborate plans for 6-week-long meanderings and researched all fifty states for attractions.  We camped Lexington, KY Horse Park, Smokemont in the Smokies, short, fun trips.  We took a week and went to Santa Fe and Taos, and vowed to return when we had more time.

Then, he retired, December 16, 2016, after 44 years with INDOT.  We spent 3-4 months getting the pensions and annuities and such flowing and took off on our first long trip in March, 2017, to Dauphin Island, AL.  When we returned, we started in with the garden, the kids, the house, etc.   In October (2017) we took the trailer down to WDW for a week, staying at Fort Wilderness Campground, where I wish we could afford to live.  We returned to Florida in March, 2018 and finished up at WDW for another week, then headed home.  Except for a couple of week-enders to Harmonie, that’s it.

In the meantime, we’ve adjusted to spending a Lot of Time Together.  We were never the kind of couple who did everything together.  In fact, I sort of smirked at girls who always have to include their husbands in the conversation and look at them adoringly, giggling at their every bad joke.  We went our own ways, meeting up at suppertime, and bedtime to discuss what needed to be discussed.

So I thought I knew what he would want to do.   But he is Much more laid-back that I ever realized.  After all those years of rising early, I am shocked that he sleeps until he feels like getting up.  He stays busy, but doesn’t mind watching cowboy movies for hours.  We are attached at the hip, and I love it.  I giggle at his bad jokes, and often look at him adoringly.  Smirk away.  (However, if you call me, I won’t make you talk to him…I draw the line there.)

But now the roof is leaking (in several spots, actually).  The “check engine” light has been flashing on the tow vehicle.  We both need some expensive dental work done.  I hear some folks talk about how great the economy is, but I see food and gas prices going up, up, up.  I don’t want to whine, but…

In addition to all of that, we just don’t feel that traveling in the trailer is a priority anymore.  Disney still is, of course, and I have reserves to spend a month or so in FL this coming winter.  Otherwise, we are more than content to stay home and do whatever, and right now that involves fixing things.

I’m not sure we would have benefited from just taking this time to “find ourselves’, because I think you will have to do that with or without a Plan.  Just be Aware that whatever Your Plan is, it will change.

We have found ourselves closer and, (gag) more in love with each other and our life together.  We found out we’re a “we”.  We’re also pretty photogenic…


%d bloggers like this: