Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Three

Wag on the dam a few months ago. Photo by Doc Ellen, DVM

The Late Years Fifty-Three October 27, 2019

I have these aging symptoms: nosebleeds,
afib, falling. My doctor doesn’t want any falls.
They’re no fun–like falling half-way out
the chicken coop door or into the flower
garden, and once into the Christmas tree.
I rarely even get bruises. I go months
without a fall, and I’m very careful. 
Nosebleeds are a nuisance, but I know what
to do. I hate afib, but I endure it–drink
my lemon balm tea, and it goes away.
No harm done. I had seven falls in the last
year, so I’m to try physical therapy. Of
course, my sleep patterns are irregular.
I’m more of a night owl than I like.
My body is whimsical, and I have
strange dreams. Last night I was getting
to learn something new, and I was
happy about it. I had to have my dog
with me. But what was it? Not, I think,
physical therapy. Writing more, not
less, I think. I was in a big room with
other people. We were all doing it,
and we all had a dog. My Wag is old,
older than I am, has trouble with her
back legs. On solid ground she walks
fine, but on linoleum, she slips and
slides. I walk okay, and I don’t fall
most of the time. I’m very careful now.
I wanted to live to be a hundred, but
I didn't expect these annoying symptoms.
Still, I’m telling the story, and my heart
is good. I do sleep. Even if my body is
whimsical, it does still heal. I get more
chances. I don’t like these problems,
but I know how to change my life.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Two

Eight years ago I sold my big crop of figs at our local co-op, Chatham Marketplace. But hard freezes have worked havoc on the figs in recent years.

The Late Years Fifty-Two  October 20, 2019

Mostly, I don’t think about dying.
My days are full of things to do
though I’ve learned to be satisfied
with less, to rest more, and take naps
on purpose instead of by accident.
I also do my cooking by stages, take
breaks to read my novel or answer
email. I still walk up at the dam,
unless it’s too wet or blustery. I
let my son close up the hens at night.
And in rain, I take the dog out early, 
even if we both get wet. I’m often so 
tired, I wonder if that’s how I’ll die–
too tired to move any more--but I 
sleep and my energy returns. What’s 
a little rain after all? And sleep still 
revives me even if I do wake up 
so slowly. I often wish I could do 
more. I haven’t been in the orchard 
for months. I missed the figs, if they 
were there, and the grapes. I stayed 
out of the garden when the rooster 
claimed it for his hens and chased 
me off. My heart still beats steadily. 
I remmber most things or they come 
back to mind if I’m patient. I keep 
learning to accept my limitations. 

A good life lesson after all.

The actual figs.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-One

Photo of blue-winged teals migrating by Doc Ellen Tinsley, DVM.
The Late Years Fifty-One  October 13, 2019

Aging. The term never meant much.
Now it does. I move so slowly. Every
morning my body has to start all over
again. First, sit up; then move to the
end of the couch so I can hold onto
it and two chairs to stand. Then a step
at a time, arms out for balance, into
the bathroom. Back to get dressed,
brush my hair, put on my glasses.
Every waking is like this–always gradual.
I don’t dash anywhere anymore. I still
walk without a cane–very carefully.
I fell twice, once going up onto my
front step, and once going down, so
I’m extra careful now. I get tired
more easily, stop and rest often. More
naps in the early afternoon, and then
I have to wake up slowly again. I
write, type, read, think–a blessing. 
I’m careful not to get too hungry
or too tired. When I sleep, I go deep.
It takes time to wake up. When I die,
it will be like that–a deep sleep and

no need to wake up.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Late Years Fifty

No coal ash sign designed by Keely Wood and erected in April 2015 on Buckhorn Rd., Moncure, NC

The Late Years Fifty October 7, 2019

For Dean Tipton

Last week we lost Johnsie. The last time 
I saw her, she was happy, laughing. Two
months ago. We were celebrating Dean’s
birthday. Keely had brought a cake. She said
her doctors had told her that there was no
more they could do, after a year–or more–
of chemotherapy. Dean and Johnsie live by
the train track bringing coal ash to dump in
Moncure. They came to hearings four years
ago and said they lived at ground zero.
Johnsie told her co-workers at The Pilot that
the trains running through the center of 
Southern Pines were death trains, but no one
listened. Maybe they’ll listen now. She turned
up at our meetings whenever the chemo hadn’t
laid her flat. She was always cheerful and
thankful for all the coal ash fighters. We
tried, but we didn’t stop the coal ash trains.
So we lost Johnsie. She used to say, “Jesus,

take the wheel.” Maybe He did.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Nine

The Late Years Forty-Nine Oct. 6, 2019

Another reading–three books again
to read from, attract buyers, and
entertain in the short run. Last year
in July, when I went there to read,
no one came to listen. This year one
woman, who even took notes and
afterwards asked questions easy to

This time I didn’t lose any              

words. I forgot a few names, but
that’s normal these days. My son
went with me and listened, too.
He fetched my truck and drove us
home. Our dogs were frantically
happy to see us and bounced around
to hasten treat time. I made supper of
baked potatoes and a three-egg omelet.
He went off to watch the news. I
picked up my diary. My one reader
said she’d talk to the library about
my books. They should have them.
They’re about our county. A good
reminder. Readers are found one at
a time, and sometimes won.