On the second day of my retirement from teaching, I got Covid. That week of feeling yucky and having to quarantine, weighed in the balance with that magical first day of retirement, counts for nothing. The day after I moved out of my classroom forever I rode my bike in the golden June morning to the town pavilion, where I lingered with a book and journal. Then home again, all the while feeling inner bands of tension snap, and smelling roses! All along the country roads wild rose bushes grow, bane of the forester but secret delight for the forester’s wife. The sun sparkled in the dew on blades of grass. The spring zephyr was lively and pleasant. A sapphire on the necklace of my life.
The next day I was down with Covid and lost my sense of smell. I treasure that one day as a gift from God, the first celebration of retirement.
I am celebrating again because the school calendar has begun but for the first time in 28 years I am not living by it! In fact, for 52 of my 62 years I have lived the rhythm of the school year, Fall-Winter-Spring. I did not realize just how burned out I was, how fatigued, how weighed down until I wiggled out from under the load and left it behind. A young music teacher has replaced me at my school and I am thrilled for him to do so. I am so tired. I am retired.
And yet, I have been busy this summer. I did some serious Swedish Death Cleaning; I sorted through things I no longer need from all that is behind me, such as homeschooling, teaching classroom music, and tutoring. The last two sons got fantastic jobs and moved out. We share our home with one amazing daughter who lives upstairs but brings her quick wit to dinner with us at the end of the day. I love that.
I’ll end here with show-and-tell, since I fancy myself a latent artist who finally has time to develop. Here are two projects.
The first is in response to a Vermont Quilt Show challenge: Create a 20″ x 20″ quilted wall-hanging using two given fabrics: a magenta and a cool grey. With applique technique I made “Garden by the Sea”. It needs quilting and binding.
Next is a minor craft I just picked up to play with, triskele.
This is the video that introduced me to her work:
I miss my adult children, I miss my students, I miss my colleagues and parents from all my teaching communities, but oh, do I welcome the leisure to make art! It surprises me how much is on my To Do list but I treasure the moments in my quilting studio making something beautiful.
So wonderful to hear an update from you…retirement! Like a blank canvas: so many possibilities!
Can’t believe how busy I am. I have taken a short break from room projects in order to make that applique quilt but next I will be converting old kids’ rooms into guest rooms–so they have a place to stay when they visit. Focusing on getting healthy again. I love the vitality I see in retired teachers when they come to school for a visit. That will be me! In fact, I am noticing healthy retirees everywhere!
So glad to read this update, Ruth. Thanks for sharing.
It has been almost two years… I would like to continue more frequently. I have no good excuses.
Yes, I’ve missed your writing. Keep it up :)