Early one morning last week, I was enjoying a few minutes of tale telling with one of the women who works for me. She’s a few years older than I, if that’s possible, and has led a traditionally female life ruled by either a father or a husband, sometimes both. She’s a wonderful, generous person and I truly enjoy her company.
She said that some day, we should run topless through the field that abuts the shop. She heard me chuckling to myself and demanded, in that prim and proper New England school marm way, that I fess up! Nothing too dramatic to tell, just that I had run naked through many fields in my life and the one next to the shop wasn’t a prime spot for a couple old women with sagging breasts and pudgy thighs that would create the sound of gulls flying over. We laughed at the image and got back to work.
The next morning she said how lucky I was to have lived such a rich and full life. I was a little taken aback by the statement and murmured agreement although I had never thought of my life in those terms but it was food for thought.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my friend was more perceptive than I. I have led a rich and full life. I have know laughter that couldn’t be contained, smiles that warmed my spirit, grief so deep I didn’t think I would survive, the sound of music, the feel of creating a painting or a sculpture, the satisfaction of a body exhausted by hard physical labor. I have known motherhood by example and by experience and I have been a father when there was no one else to fill that role. I built my life in the same way that I built my home, on my terms. I have swum in oceans and rivers and lakes and felt my body cut through the cool water that surrounded me without letting it swallow me. I have loved, deeply and passionately and have been loved the same way in return. I have know friendship that is like the other part of me, separated at birth. I have been blessed with a spirit that needs to keep learning. I have slept under stars and on boats and in beds shared with a variety of creatures, most of them invited. I have read through the night, great books and trashy novels, until I was forced to reluctantly put the book aside because it was time to leave for work. I have shed tears alone in the bathtub but seldom in front of others, my pride I guess, and my reluctance to appear vulnerable in the eyes of anyone, myself included. I never really noticed when my hair turned to silver, when my blue eyes changed to a pastel facsimile or when my skin began resembling that of my mother. I have written my own rules, created the woman I have become, lived deliberately and tried to carry out my dreams without intentionally hurting others, and I’ve never looked back.
Yes, I have lived a rich and full life