I was about six years old when I received my first cookbook. I enjoyed cooking from it and helping my mother with dinner. I made delicious desserts to take to youth group. At sixteen I filled in as a cook for the daycare I worked at and created gourmet meals for the little ones. I have always devoured food and wine magazines, watched every Martha Stewart episode, and never miss a good foodie movie. Even as a vegan I read carefully how to make chorizo. I won a national cooking contest through Frey Vineyards and have written four cookbooks. Yet, it still surprised me (and my husband) that I would want to go to culinary school. I have never even worked in a restaurant before! (I assume three weeks at Taco Bell doesn’t count.) And yet, as I look forward to the second half of my life, it sounds like a very intriguing possibility.
I applied for the Culinary Program at a college an hour away. I excitedly read the class offerings; knife skills, sauces, sustainable cooking, wine and spirits….
It didn’t take long for me to start doubting the whole thing. What if I don’t get any financial aid? (I simply cannot take out another student loan!) I want to spend time with my daughter and granddaughters at the store when they are there working, when will I go to school? What if I have to drive at night? My goodness, it sure didn’t take long for me to stand in my own way, did it?
I believe I will stop sabotaging myself and see how it all unfolds. What’s the worst that can happen?
Whispered ideas and passions in your ear, what do you want to learn, create, do? Follow that! Life is waiting!
Our blessings come to the forefront of each day. The days we watch our granddaughter, Maryjane, are full of laughter and fun. We talk into the evening with the great friends we share home with. We are going to a slumber party tonight at my cousin’s house. It will be as if we were twelve again, except this time our parents won’t come roaring downstairs because of our inability to stop laughing. Meals, karaoke, time with family, another break from the ordinary. We know we would never be on the streets, so many great friends and family do we have. All the light of our days made the focus now. What beauty these days bring!
In our time of renewed beginnings, our journey starts with rest and entertainment. Things we missed out on for too long because of our focused life. Our bodies don’t miss the intense gardening, farm work, and homesteading activities but my spirit does. Filling my time with writing, hiking, visiting, sitting on the porch, playing with the baby, and dreaming of the next venture is surely a great way to begin the next half of my life.
All of our experiences up to this point find themselves seamlessly woven in the book I am writing just as easily as folks I have known make themselves into characters, changed, altered, romanticized. As if the last forty-plus years were an exercise in designing settings and characters for books.
My future gardens await, my sewing room is out there, my large kitchen will be grand, my home will be mine, books to be written. I read about a woman in her nineties who wrote her first book, an award winning compilation of poems.
Friends, my best is yet to come.
The hummingbirds flit around my hair on their way to sweetened nectar
their ringing sounds of bells in the early morning air.
The dawn shines clear and hopeful
brushing pink in its palette spread across the landscape fair.
I walk across heavy laden needles and cacti, up steep inclines of bindweed and pine cones, through underbrush that crunches beneath a canopy of sweet Ponderosas I stop to smell. Their caramel bark dissipating in the midsummer morn. Sweet clover brushes against me and the birds sing to the heavens in great song as a mother deer brings her new fawn along.
I sit atop a large stone above the sleepy town, crossed legged and facing the sun. The world is quiet above the trees as Tiger Swallows catch the light breeze. “I have all you need,” Nature whispers to me, food and medicine and shelter and more, there is no fear and nothing to fret for.
And he dusted off the old resume restored, looking in closet for nice clothes long past, away to the office he will tread and to the city which was our dread. But, the new house will be found and in it memories and laughter sounds. Gardens to plant in the front yard for fun, and bike rides to local eateries and movie runs. A new life ahead, still quite unseen, unknown, but one that will be filled with joy and journeys yet unsewn.