Sunday, September 22, 2013

Uncharted Territory

Uncharted Territory
©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson

Our path was charted back when we were young:
Work hard. Raise up a family. Make a home.
Four children later, we lived on the run––
housebound but happy, not inclined to roam.

Adventure was the fuel that ran our days.
We did not lack for anything we needed.
Our young regaled us in a thousand ways.
(Blithe getaways were easily conceded.)

The challenges were vast, the blessings grand.
Years swept through like a river, smoothing stone,
depositing rare treasures in the sand,
bright bits of pain and pleasure ours to own.

We gathered these together, held them near,
looked up at the great tree our love had made,
and knew that it was good. Our way was clear.
The time had come to step beyond its shade.

Before us rolled the map of sights unseen,
of trips untaken, mountains yet unscaled.
The world was ours to wander, every dream
within the reach of plane or train or sail.

But living is capricious at its best.
The best-laid plans will often go amiss.
This woman’s health has failed the travel test.
This man would see the world and find his bliss.

Cross-purposes. Our needs pull us apart,
terrain that must be charted with the heart.
New territory hedges up our way,
but we will navigate it, come what may.


“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands; and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

My husband has worked hard all of his life, putting our needs before his own. Recently retired, his half-fulfilled dream is to hike all of our national parks and do some of the same abroad. He and I are both nature-lovers. Sadly, strenuous outdoor trips are no longer compatible with my health. This is a source of great sorrow for both of us, especially my husband, who would love to share these things with me and is disappointed on those occasions when I can’t accompany him. (Count me in, though, when the lodge has a good view!)

Anyway, my feelings of sadness at letting him down prompted this poem, which began as a sort of bittersweet lament but ended with a reminder to myself that we have seen and conquered worse problems than this one. And while journeying through the national parks in tandem may be beyond our reach, journeying through life together is something we do rather well.

Go and explore. Wherever you are,
I’ll find you underneath a star.
When you return, I’ll love you more,
wrapped up in all your mountain lore.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

From Rehab to Recovery

Mom and Dick in the rehab center the day I left for home. Lookin' good!

Life's challenges come and go, and they've been coming a little more than going around here lately. Most of you know that August and September have been rough months for my mother (two strokes and a broken hip in the space of six weeks), and Dave and I have been back and forth to her home in Palm Desert enough times to feel like human yo-yos...or far-flung boomerangs. Suffice to say that our car is beginning to know the full splendor (?) of I-5 in the summer, 100+ degree heat and all. And I am beginning to know that my mom is one heck of a fighter.

Good news is that she will be getting out of rehab on Friday and going home, which is literally and figuratively just what the doctor ordered. The ball of her broken hip was replaced a week ago Saturday, and at 86 years of age she has recovered more rapidly than we ever dared hope or expect. Of course, Mom still has some hard work ahead of her, but she is able to get around rather well with a walker already and will continue to receive physical therapy at home three times a week for an undetermined period of time. Best of all, her wonderful husband is TLC personified, and I have a feeling she is in for a heavy dose!

If bad things come in threes (and while I am not a bit superstitious, in this case I sincerely hope they do), then Mom should be free to stay at home and enjoy life without further ado. I think she's earned King's ex for a looong while, don't you?

Having satisfied the "R" requirement with Rehab and Recovery, I think a "Q" portion of this post might be in order, since I missed that round of Alphabe-Thursday altogether last week:

What I have learned from my mother throughout these three consecutive ordeals is to "Quench not the Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Paul was speaking of the Holy Spirit, but I am also thinking of the human spirit that my mom exhibits so abundantly, refusing to be beaten down by whatever life has to offer. She knows in Whom she has trusted, and she puts her faith in His plan for her, no matter what it entails.

I only hope I can learn from her example.

Love you, Mom.


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Friday, September 6, 2013

Passing Place

photo by Steven Kelley

Passing Place
©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson

When you are stuck in second gear
and can't seem to get by
the creeping trucks and pokey schmucks
before your weary eye;
just bide your time, remembering
your path is marked by grace.
The way is long. Be strong. Push on.
Find your passing place.

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