The Chinese offer these important words: “May you be born in a time of transition.” You’re left to decide if it’s a blessing or a curse. Whichever, that’s squarely where we are at present—in transition, closing and opening doors.
After 41 years in education, Cliff retired in June. In terms of teaching and administrating, he left no stone unturned. Finally he’s free to travel every season and is never happier than when he’s got a suitcase in hand and a stretch of open highway ahead. He visited friends and former colleagues in NC in August. He learned to fly fish in CO in September. He traveled across AK in October for the trip of his life, visiting far-flung fishing villages, watching nearly 100 salmon swim idly down a roadside stream, and sailing across glacial bays filled sea lions. After Christmas, he’ll take off again. He’s worked brilliantly for a long time to have this chance. We’re repeatedly asked how we’re doing together 24/7, and I explain real estate’s LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION mantra applies. All couples continuously navigate relationships with vague borders, invisible fault lines, shifting sands. Distance is never the issue. Space is. We’re simply finding North on a new map.
For reasons unknown to science, I’ve had another amnesia episode. Frighteningly, this time I drove a car and went on about my life for several hours before realizing I wasn’t myself. I describe it as Alice falling down the rabbit hole, an apt simile for a children’s author, inside my own head. I continue to write and will study with celebrated author Jane Yolen at her MA farmhouse in March. Countless thanks to those of you who read my erratic but well-intentioned blog “For All I Can Tell.” I appreciate each comment you leave. A writer is nothing without readers.
Maggie races through her senior year. In the fall play, a British farce, she was a woman disguised as her dead brother but returned to her female self by the end. (Is that range or what?) She’ll apply to colleges from Ohio to the Pacific NW. Her senior speech was “The 5 Things You Don’t Know about Adoption,” delivered to an auditorium of 400 deeply attentive people. I cried silently through it. While I know her story, I’d never heard her tell how she began life on a doorstep in China. So this is the perfect picture for our card. Standing in that doorway, she is uniquely herself: beautiful, bright, and brave. She’s spent 18 years getting to that door, supported by the devotion and faith and love from people on opposite sides of the world. Now she will step through alone. On her own merit. Recently she bought herself a necklace engraved with “Be Calm. Be Strong. Be Grateful.” Too Oprahfor Cliff, he muttered, “Be careful.”
Good advice whenever you find yourself at a new door.
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