My backyard zinnias in 2014.
The Late Years Three November 18, 2018
Back in 1996, I wrote down my life and
writing goals. One has seemed elusive:
“I want to root myself here in Moncure,
create an island of sanity and love around
me, draw my children and grandchildren
and friends here to see me, and I want to
contribute as I can to my community.”
Now, at eighty-one, i realize, despite my
love of solitude, this island exists. My
son came, worried about me, to be here
when I had my minor health problems.
My students keep coming, in person or
by Skype. New friends and old ones
seek me out. Yesterday a student from
classes I taught in the eighties. Marjorie
raised nine children. They all felt loved,
and they spread out into the world and
went where so many people suffer.
Now she wants to write again, but how
to get started? Virginia comes and
helps Tim rescue a hen who flew to
the top of the chicken fence, and then
they put medicine on the head of the
one black one who lives with sixteen
white ones, so she wouldn’t be picked on.
Other days, others came. Ellen who
studies eagles at Jordan Lake. The eagles
know her, and she named them, revels
in their high flights, recognizes them
when I see only specks flying over.
She writes their story. A young student
wants to be here, look at all the pictures
on my walls, hear my stories, follow me
to the coop to bring scraps in the afternoon.
Virginia comes often, loves the spaghetti
sauce and homemade pizza, gives me
frequent hugs and studies poetry with me.
She says she feels at home here. Sometimes
I worry about the unswept floor or all the
boxes and papers, but nobody else does.
We speak of what matters and laugh at
life’s absurdities and miracles. People
continue to help me. Roger came to help
catch hens before their journey to be
processed. He’d never done that
before, nor had Tim. How lucky I
am to have my wishes come true
here on this island of sanity and love.