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Column: On the eve of 65, time to take stock

  • Suzanne Lupien drives her bay Belgian horses in her Norwich garden. (Chad Finer photograph)

For the Valley News
Published: 2/27/2021 10:20:06 PM
Modified: 2/27/2021 10:20:05 PM

Now, when you shut the door, you’re not at all certain that you’ll be able to open it again. Chances are you will open it many more times, but your insides are pessimistic.

The last time you did anything that required a lot of physical effort, rather than basking (modestly) in your accomplishment, you were left with a sinking feeling of finality, or distance. This signals a major change in how you’ve lived your life.

The energetic attributes of Earth and Sky have become more distinct, separate from each other. Previously, they were pretty well mixed up together. The envelope you just had in your hand, for which you’ve been hunting up a postage stamp for the last several minutes, has vanished. It has flown away with the pigeons, and recovering it may take some time.

The frozen sacks of potting soil are heavier than ever, challenging you to shift them from the back of your truck to the storage shed. And the big leather work harnesses for the horses cannot be successfully gathered up until you gather yourself up, choreographing the whole process of lifting them off the pegs, carrying them over to the horses, summoning all your strength to make the transition from your shoulder to theirs. Sometimes, as you lift the harness over their necks, you must roar like a lion.

Your unconscious mind creeps into your conscious one and vice versa. They may be merging into a semi-conscious one. All you can do is to assume it’s a sign of spiritual advancement, even though it can hardly be perceived as progress on the mundane level. Mostly it feels like your shoes have untied themselves and the elastic waistband of your underpants has let go, simultaneously.

Having to take stock of your available energy before you embark on a project is a new phenomenon and not exactly a welcome one. All your life you’ve acted on your ideas like a diver plunging off a diving board, and generally speaking, it worked out.

But today the oomph may be temporarily out of stock, insufficient supply of quarters to activate the machine. Better make sure. Of course, you can go ahead and swing the ax anyway, but the first order of business is to chop through the mystifying membrane of reluctance, or hesitancy, like banishing an evil spirit, in order to get at the job.

Whatever you do (or don’t do) there’s no sense in browbeating yourself for your lack of productivity, or your poor staying power. Most people your age are already parked on a couch somewhere, more or less for the duration. As a matter of fact, a high percentage of them have been sitting down for years. In front of a computer screen.

During that time you’ve cleared your land, yanked tenacious roots out of the ground, dug up big rocks and rolled them away, gathered up acres of hay bales you baled yourself and stacked them in the barn. Cut and split tons of firewood, and cooked a big farm supper afterward, even managing to clean up after yourself somewhat. You are a human being, not a supernova, and human beingness, as it turns out, is a temporary condition.

Your tasks, formally a collective whole, start to demand individual attention. It’s not that you can no longer accomplish most of the things you used to do, it’s just that you can no longer do them as a group. Before initiating any of them, you have to play a game of “mother may I?” with yourself.

Ambitious to-do lists have become obsolete. Just try to make note of the things you absolutely must do today, like pay the phone bill, or defrost enough hamburg to make the lunch you promised the guys at the garage. As for the rest of it, just keep moving. Sail though your day tending what you can, you’ll do fine, as soon as you can get that door open.

The good news is that patience and possibility, even wisdom, are increasing. Now I smile at things I have not managed to do today. “See you tomorrow!” I promise cheerfully.

Or perhaps the day after.

Suzanne Lupien lives, writes and farms in Vershire, raising vegetables with her Belgian draft horses.




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