|painting by Betty Pieper|
I was at the senior hall yesterday for a lecture given by a couple who in retirement spent seven years sailing around the world, living on their sailboat while at ports in places like Italy, Spain, Casablanca, the Canary Islands even some countries in the Middle East. What interesting and brave people they were. In my early twenties I owned a little sailboat and the lecture/slide show reminded me of some of the dreams I had in the days before Don---the non-swimmer---entered my life. The first week of their voyage the woman broke her arm in the middle of the ocean and had to wait to get it set. I would have turned around right there and then. But she didn’t let anything, much less her pain, get in the way of living out her dream. By contrast I just live to armchair dream. As they say no guts, no glory.
While at the lecture a wood carver was in the back of room with some of his creations. He was trying to drum up interest in a class he wanted to teach and it took me about two seconds to add my name to the list of interested people. He’s going to call us all to work out a day and time that suits the majority of students. So while other retired people are out seeking adventure around the world I’ll be sitting in a rocker whittling a block of wood into shavings. Oops. Back in the 80s I took a wood carving class and I still have an unfinished turtle to prove it. In college I once spent an entire semester carving a piece of marble into a woman’s torso---it started out as a rejected tombstone with a misspelled name and I got an 'A' that semester. Having seen Michelangelo’s Pieta when it was brought to The States for the 1964-65 New York’s World’s Fair, I wanted to be just like him. In my naivety I didn’t realize how huge I was dreaming. Now, I’ll settle for finishing my turtle before I die. My dreams are getting more doable with age.
Tomorrow I’m going back to the senior hall for a Victorian Tea. It will feature a speaker from the public museum who will come dressed in a Victorian nightgown and over her hour and a half presentation she’ll dress in traditional period garb layer by layer explaining each garment’s purpose and history as she puts it on. For more than a few decades of my life I was enamored by all things Victorian so I expect to have a good time. But I’ll be haunted by a summer when Don and I looked at every run down, fixer upper Victorian house for sale in two counties. We dreamed of restoring one back to its original glory. And now? I dream of finding something suitable in my closet to wear to a formal Victorian tea.
There are all kinds of dreams in our lives---big ones and small ones, old and brand new dreams plus broken dreams due to the death of someone important to us. Then there are dreams realized like the couple did who sailed around the world, and youthful dreams gladly discarded to make room for love like I did with Don and my sailboat. Our daytime dreams are unlimited but the ones that are the hardest dreams to make my peace with are the ones that come in the night and keep me from falling back to sleep. Like the dream I had tonight that forces me to acknowledge what my heart doesn't want to admit is happening: Don has been gone physically a long time now and I'm feeling his spirit around me less and less often. And that takes my sadness to a whole new level.©