Category Archives: Poetry

The Dressmaker’s Legacy: A Poem

IMG_0153The Dressmaker’s Legacy

Grandma Mamie’s hands were always busy
creating beauty where there was none –
from threads, potato sacks, fabric scraps and wool,
she designed, tatted, crocheted, knit and sewed.
She had magic in her hands.

She might have been a famous dress designer
in another time – with other opportunities.
She could envision a garment,
make a pattern from newspaper,
cut the fabric and sew the new creation.

When her twins were two, she made
a white cotton dress with crocheted yoke and sleeves.
her daughters kept the yokes all their lives,
as a loving reminder of their mother.

When her twins were 15, they sketched a dress
with a hem longer on one side than the other.
They said it reminded them of a shirt untucked
on one side, so they named it the “shirt-tail dress.
Grandma designed it and made two.
Classmates at Gauley Bridge High School
wanted one too, so grandma made more, and
started a local fad in West Virginia.
The shirt-tail dress, ahead of its time,
a dress with an asymmetrical hem.

Grandma believed clothes for her twins
should be ready to wear at the same time,
(no favoritism here), so she cut out sleeves for one,
then sleeves for the other, bodice for one,
then bodice for the other, and so on.
Cutting and sewing parts in tandem,
both dresses were ready to wear – at the same time.

She crocheted elegant tablecloths,
intricate feminine collars for dresses and suits,
flat doiles for the arms of her chairs;
fancy ones with starched ruffles for her tables,
and bedspreads of pleasing patterns;
tatted delicate lace for trims;
knitted afghans to cuddle under in winter,
soft booties, hats and small quilts for
new grandchildren and great grandchildren.
She used scraps of leftover material and old clothes
to design and sew beautiful quilts by hand.
She worked magic with those hands.

Grandma’s hands were always busy,
Even when she sat at rest and her sight grew dim,
there was piecework in her lap.
In her 80’s, she was happiest when family visited,
eyes bright with anticipation,
especially when children were coming.
Her wrinkled face with thick glasses greeted us in smiles.
She held both our hands and looked into our eyes when she talked.
I remember staring at her slender hands – with age spots,
blue veins and arthritic joints – tenderly holding mine
and hoping a little of her magic rubbed off on me.

Grandma’s art is in my home now,
fruits of her labor all around.
A favorite quilt pulls at memories
each time I see it, or touch it,
made of fabric swatches from clothes
my mother, sister and I wore in years past.
Sleeping under the warmth of this quilt
brings comfort from the past beyond measure.
I treasure too, my babies quilts,
the kitchen napkins with crocheted edges,
her doiles I have framed, and
the white crocheted bedspread
I drape with care each Summer
on the white bed in the guest room,
as a artist displays a valuable art piece.

Her legacy is greater than treasured items.
Grandma Mamie passed on the value of work,
and the will to create beauty in practical things
that comfort – and make a home.

Sue Marquis Bishop
Copywrite 2013

Welcome Spring!

“It is Easter morning.
Children who are still gentle as milk,
wake to its wonder.”
Caryll Houselander, “Souer Marie Emilie”, The Flowering Tree (1945),

It’s Spring!

 “Autumn arrives in the early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.”
Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart (1938).

CIMG0791

Forsythia is …pure, undiluted, untouched joy.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Bring Me a Unicorn (1971).
CIMG0976

Flowers and plants are silent presences; they nourish every sense except the ear”.
May Sarton, Plant Dreaming Deep (1968).

CIMG2827

Have you ever looked into the heart of a flower? …I love their delicacy, their disarming innocence and their defiance of life itself”.
Princess Grace of Monaco with G. Robyns, My Book of Flowers (1980). 

CIMG1651

“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea (1955).

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.”
Ellis Peters, The Summer of the Danes, (1991).

 

Spring is a time of reflection and hope for new beginnings (SMB).

CIMG2865

It’s Spring !
Welcoming sun’s warmth on bare arms;
tilting  faces up to tree branches ablaze with pink and white blooms;
bending to touch nature’s  yellow and red living lights on bushes,
gathering a bouquet of smiling faces pushed up amidst grass and rocks.
Witnessing a joyful display for the senses this Easter! (SMB).

Sue Marquis Bishop,2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Carpets From Winter to Spring

In spring, nature is like a thrifty housewife…taking up the white carpets and putting down the green ones.” Mary B. Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, 1896.

CIMG3507

ONLY A FEW SHORT WEEKS AGO,  we enjoyed a light carpeting of Southern snow as a snowstorm blanketed the North in huge drifts.  But…it only lasted two days in Charlotte, until it morphed into water and disappeared.

WHEN IT SNOWS IN THE SOUTH,  it only stops in for tea and a brief respite before melting and running away.

SIGNS OF SPRING are emerging here and there in Charlotte as February and March days turn warm, then cool, then windy.  Today, it is sunny and 80 degrees.

Dormant
buds bursting
open winter casings;

CIMG0791

Carolina
Jasmine’s display
beckoning us outside;

Blue
birds gathering
at the feeders:

CIMG3584CIMG3582

Pedaling
with the
wind in my face;
CIMG0795

Rosy
pink ground
cover kissing lawns;

CIMG2843

Forsythia
showing up
gray tree trunks:

CIMG0976

Reading
and dreaming
at Spring Park Pond.

CIMG1622

I’M READY FOR TOMATOES from the garden, flowers blooming in profusion, breezy days on the porch, walks in the sunshine, reading by Spring Park pond, cookouts, and yes… even Spring cleaning.

I AM GRATEFUL to be here, in this place, witnessing the emergence of Spring once again.

“Suddenly a mist of green on the trees, as quiet as thought.”
Dorothy M Richardson, Pilgrimage: The Trap, 1925.

Sue Marquis Bishop, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Spring at Davidson Lake!

Spring at Davidson Lake

Today, the woods are
full of chattering
avian architects and Romeos,
building nests,
broadcasting songs
to seduce mates, and
exchanging threats
from the tree tops
as they work
warning other
avian flyers away.
CIMG1483

Mossy carpets bask in
bright sunshine
soon to dim
when Summer’s
leaf canopy blooms.
CIMG1519

Canoes rest upended
awaiting passengers
to fill their empty shells,
paddling to hidden beaches
for romance and play.
CIMG1524

At the edge of the woods,
grass blooms in
darker green hues
long absent in Winter.
CIMG1503

Hardy dandelions surge
to gain ground
while they can
and try to stake
their claim.
CIMG1504

A volunteer pine
tree begins its
long climb to the sky.
CIMG1520

An exercise station
on the fitness trail
awaits the arrival
of local denizens
with healthy-me resolutions.
CIMG1521

A sunny day,
a gentle breeze,
a calm lake,
and a lone traveler
just sitting and dreaming
of yester-Springs.

CIMG1512
Sue Marquis Bishop 2014

Look Up! The Trees are Shouting “Spring is on the Loose!”

Look up! Look out as you walk! The Bradford Pear trees, Forsythia and Redbud trees, that herald the coming Spring with their fertile flowering, are beginning to shout.
CIMG0793
It’s been a long winter, especially for our friends and family in the North. This year, our mild winter mixed with unpredictable bursts of cold and snow and dreary, left us in the southern U.S, also eager for Spring. What a thrill to walk under and among cascading blooms.

It’s time to put on our walking shoes and get out our bicycles to witness first hand the magical transformation of the season of rest into the season of hope and renewal.
CIMG0795

Spring!
A time
of new beginnings.

Nature
is adding,
dividing and multiplying.

I’ll
make a
change this Spring.

Old grievances
left behind.
It’s a new day.

My forsythia.
Dainty yellow
blooms held aloft
on graceful arms,
longer than a
prima ballerina could.
CIMG0976

Beauty
doesn’t last
but the memory
of beauty savored
does.
CIMG0791

Time to start a list of Spring projects and personal goals.

Spring
breezes whisper
in my ear –
hope, engage, reach –
act now!

Winter Beauty: Sculptures All Around

WINTER SENTINELS

Black trees on the hill
like sentinels anchored to the land
stretch on tip-toes,
reaching Hedra-like arms and
slender fingers stripped bare
toward winter skies,
their strong trunks
holding the line – unmoving.
Do they dance out of formation
when no one is looking?

CIMG0726 - Copy

Black trees on the hill,
hidden from view
in fog swirling
’round their feet.
Rooted in earth,
they bring me comfort,
standing bare
against storm  and stress –
sometimes for lifetimes.

CIMG0655

Black trees on the hill,
dressed in winter white
sprinkled with sparkling crystals,
divert my attention
from winter grays.
.
CIMG0249

Black trees on the hill
take my breath away
in winter,
seeing their naked sculptural forms
spread without embarrassment
against the Carolina blue sky.

CIMG0789

Black trees on the hill
stand tall in formation,
while the last ray of sun
fades from view,
never waving rudely for
the sun to hurry away.

CIMG0788

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME to appreciate the beauty of trees at each season of the year. On my daily walks, I notice the trees and their relationship to the sky and land – and I always think of Mom.

THIS WIRE SCULPTURE of a winter tree is a favorite of mine that graced the hall table of my dear mother-in-law Nora’s home – and now resides in mine, sharing its beauty and memories.

CIMG1239

Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

The Thanksgiving Table

MEMORY
My childhood’s home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There’s pleasure in it, too.

(by Abraham Lincoln in 1846 when he was 37)

CIMG0734

IN RECENT YEARS, MEMORIES OF PAST THANKSGIVINGS come to visit at Thanksgiving time, like welcome spirits, filling the house with smells, sights, sounds and stories of long ago times with family and friends around the family dining table. – When family gathers now, we share the old stories, visit familiar traditions and renew family bonds once again.

THE THANKSGIVING TABLE

MOM IN HER APRON at 6:00am –
she and turkey greet the sunrise;
women in the house don aprons after breakfast
taking directions to prepare the feast.
Young daughters and granddaughters set the table,
check the centerpiece,light the candles,
and sometimes stir a mysterious mixture –
then run off to play with siblings and cousins.

DAD CARVES THE SUCCULENT TURKEY in the kitchen,
separating meat slices – white to dark –
arranging artfully on the turkey platter.
Mom says carving the turkey is a man’s job –
and he performs the ritual with pleasure
as head of our family.

OUR THANKSGIVING table covered end to end
with food, family and friends;
Dad at the window end of the table
by the turkey proudly starring in our feast;
Mom at the other end, near the kitchen
to fetch a forgotten spoon.

THE SAME THANKSGIVING MEAL re-appears,
no trendy new dishes here to explain;
dishes of food artfully displayed
on the white tablecloth with the best Haviland
china, silver, crystal and cloth napkins.
A bowl of flowers and lighted candles
centers with food nestled around the table:
fresh green beans, mashed potatoes served in Mom’s
mixer bowl, dressing smelling of sage, corn,
a full gravy boat with tender pieces of turkey swimming,
sinfully rich sweet potatoes with the
heavenly aroma of brown sugar, butter and pralines,
cranberry sauce in the familiar glass bowl,
salads, hot rolls wrapped in a cotton bun warmer
decorated on the edges with Mom’s white crocheted lace,
and a pitcher of ice cold ice tea (sweetened of course).

WE HEAR COFFEE PERKING on the buffet beside the desserts:
cookies for the children and pumpkin and pecan pies –
butter pecan ice cream added later.
With bowed heads and hands clasped around
the table, each of us speaks of the year’s
greatest blessing – opening hearts of gratitude –
while family bonds tighten. Dad says grace and
finishes with a toast for health in the coming year.

WOMEN adjourn to the family room
for coffee and talk – while men tackle dishes
and clean-up in kitchen and dining room –
in gratitude for their traditions and sated stomachs.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
IN MY HOME, I have continued familiar traditions, and serve many foods shared over the years at the Thanksgiving tables in my parents home. I use Mom’s green bean recipe for perfect green beans, and serve turkey, mashed potatoes, lots of cranberry sauce, hot rolls, dressing and iced tea, pumpkin and pecan pies and cookies and ice cream.

I HAVE MADE A FEW CHANGES and additions over the years: reduced the calories in the sweet potato recipe, and served additional lower calorie dishes as options, for example, wild rice with cranberries; field greens salad with raspberries and toasted walnuts and goat cheese; sliced cucumbers with onions and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, basalmic vinegar and oregano. I also serve ham for some family members who prefer it to turkey and a wine option with the iced tea. The past 20 years, I have served my mother-in-law’s holiday pineapple salad (loved by my family) and occasionally make her delicious squash casserole dish – thus incorporating traditions and memories from my husband’s family.

THIS THANKSGIVING, we will once again gather together at the holiday table. I am thankful for traditions past – and blessed to be engaged in passing them on.

Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

Writing Holiday Poems by the Fire- 1, 2,3: Just for Fun

I have been playing around today writing short 1-2-3 poems about the holidays – just for fun. Please join me by adding yours to be enjoyed by others during this holiday season. Anyone can do it… It’s only three lines – one word, two words and then three, to express a thought about the holiday season.

CIMG1175

The
blessings of
Thanksgiving are now.

Hugs
mend hearts
and enrich lives.

Family
reminds us
we aren’t alone.

Shopping
makes me
a hungry debtor.

Gratitude
for life
warms my heart.

How
many friends
are you bringing!

Just
one roaring
fire fuels romance.

CIMG1178

So
many Santas
in this town!

We
always receive
a new nightgown!

My
Christmas wish
has come true.

I
wanted laughter
spilling from you.

Christmas
is coming
ready or not.

Reward
is in
the gifts given.

Wanting
peace on
earth is universal.

Is
creating peace
on earth impossible?

Sun
on snow
makes crystalline stars.

Pumpkin
pie tastes
like grandma’s house.

Family
life can
sometimes be chaotic.

Belonging
is the
best Christmas gift.

CIMG0444

Faith
brings something
bigger than me.

A
family that
sings together rocks.

Christmas
trees carry
glitter and memories.

A
child’s giggle
peals joy and mirth.

Thank
you for
my life’s blessings.

Silent
Night, Holy
Night…quiet night.

Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

PLEASE ADD YOUR OWN 1-2-3 POEMS FOR OTHERS TO ENJOY.

The Family Storyteller: Before It’s Too Late

WE ARE EXPERIENCING A TEMPORARY cold front in the South, prompting memories of the magical snowy days of my youth in Indiana and West Virginia (although we are not expecting snow in Charlotte NC).
winter

AS THE HOLIDAYS DRAW NEARER, my thoughts drift to family members who are no longer with us for gatherings of the clan as in past Thanksgivings and Christmases. When I was a young adult, I gave little thought to the temporal aspect of life, as if we would all be here together for years to come – holidays at grandmother’s house – then mother’s house – and then – the gathering was at my house. As we come together, we celebrate, eat and share family stories – usually funny or touching ones -and we laugh and bond as a family.

I WAS FORTUNATE that Mom was a born storyteller with an exceptional memory. She shared much of her growing up and my siblings and I learned about not only our family roots, but the townspeople and the issues of life in the generations before us. What a treasure!

NOW, AS AN OLDER ADULT, my interest in family history is piqued even more, likely because I am a little closer to the end of my journey (not for many years yet, I hope) – and maybe too because I value the importance of connecting the generations. There are lessons to be learned, even from unproductive decisions made by someone in the past. In Mom’s last years, I made a greater effort to ask questions and write notes on history she shared. Although – now that she is no longer here, there are so many things that I wish I had asked her.

AS THANKSGIVING APPROACHES, and we become engaged in the hustle and bustle of holiday activities, it may be prudent to take time-out to invite…. to question… and to listen to the older adults of our families, to learn where we came from, and our ancestors journeys along the way.

WHEN I TAUGHT A UNIVERSITY GRADUATE COURSE in life span development, I frequently gave an assignment for the students to complete over the holidays. They were asked to interview the oldest member of their family, or the oldest family storyteller (not all folks have the gift of remembrance). To prepare for this interview, they were to prepare a timeline. They wrote the years of the family member’s life and beside the years, wrote major events that were occurring (war, disease epidemics, new inventions, politics, etc)… Then they could begin at the earliest memories and ask how these events influenced the family (e.g., you were 14 when the polio epidemic was at its worst. What do you remember about it?).

THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS are family holidays, and various things stimulate recall of holidays past. I remember with deep affection, family and close friends that are no longer here to share this holiday season with us. I am grateful we traveled together for a time. My life is richer for knowing them. As I reflected recently on the blessings of our family (and a few close friends), I wrote two poems to try to capture a few of my thoughts.

Someone Left the Window Open

Someone left the window open and they are slipping through,
One by one – and two by two.
Drum majors of a parade,
loving grandparents marched on
leaving us behind
to find a way to make our lives rewind.

Uncle Don, who drove me everywhere
looking for little pink pigs –
like ones in my storybook;

Betty Davis, a dear childhood friend,
named for a movie star,
who survived polio to be felled
by its re-awakening in later years;

Uncle William who lived a formal life
as a Presbyterian pastor,
till he retired in Asheville
and put away his suits for denims and blue grass;

Aunt Erm, Dietition for Cumberland College,
who oved the game Sorry and
made memories with her fruitcakes and jam cakes;

Aunt Verna, who loved books and learning,
and cared for her community in New Bern
as county public health physician;

Aunt Maggie, who liked brandy alexanders’s,
managed her own business in Charleston and
parachuted from a plane in her 80’s;

Aunt Shirley, who enjoyed taking care of her home
and sang country songs
while she washed the dishes;

Aunt Fanella, twin sister of my father,
who kept the family connected
and her faith strong;

Dottie, my 6 foot tall college roommate,
who had a big heart, a hearty laugh,
and was a wonderful nurse;

Sweet Alice, my university officemate,
loyal to her friends,
who found love in late life;

Mother-in-law Nora, loving mother and grandmother,
and beloved teacher
who taught first grade for 52 years.

Brother-in-law Don,
who went at life in a run,
and took good care of my sister;

Dad, a talented man
who loved big band music, dancing-
and all competitive games;

Mom, who loved her family
and her home in Madison –
lived to 91 – still interested
in politics and new experiences.

Someone left the window open,
and we keep slipping through.

Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

The Family Storyteller

Our family storyteller knows.
Stories – old and true:
hardships overcome,
milestones reached,
loves that endured,
passions unrequited,
adventures undertaken,
family secrets held,
laugh-out-loud episodes,
family builders, dreamers
and schemers known,
lessons learned,
worth of our land revealed,
challenges met,
history witnessed,
heritage passed on.
We thought
there was time.
To listen.
Too late.
Our legacy lost.

Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

AS WE GATHER FOR THE COMING HOLIDAYS, may we have the foresight to engage our own FAMILY STORYTELLERS to enlighten our lives.

Fall in the City of Trees, Crockpot Roast, Limoncello Cupcakes and a Dog Named Casey

I am continuing daily blogs in November toward the goal of sharing some of the recipes and traditions in our family for 100 years during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I welcome your sharing of traditions and comments about the blog topic.  

Today was a semi-cloudy election day in Charlotte, NC.  We will have a new mayor tomorrow.  The trees are  nearing peak here.  So spectacular that we saw Fall colors come alive in the mountains and then come home to the city and see Fall come again…. Awesome!

Image

THIS SCENE IS NEAR MY HOME in Charlotte, North Carolina, and on the path of our two mile walk we travel several times a week. Most of our walking is on the greenway, but we take this shortcut through a nearby street to our house.  My parents lived in an apartment near here when they sold their Indiana home and moved to be closer to family.  Each time I walk it, in my mind’s eye I see Dad, walking his dog Casey down this street. I put my thoughts about them into a poem.

CASEY
You came into his life when his need for you was great –
at mandatory retirement age, he couldn’t envision
life without work at the electric power plant.
You arrived in a box just after his 70th birthday,
a tail-wagging, face-licking snauser –
and he named you Casey.

Your demands were few – Alpo, TLC and exercise,
he gave you plenty of each and
you gave him reason to look forward to the day.
Your daily walks kept him in shape.
You slept on his shoes while he played solitaire,
then wrestled on the floor, followed by
an afternoon nap with you tucked under his arm.
When bath time rolled around
you hit the showers together.
You stood patiently in the shower stall
after your bath, waiting for him to shower.

He loved music, and you learned to sing with him
pointing your nose in the air and howling along
as he sang your favorite song, “Home on the Range”.
You rode in the Lincoln on his daily errands
even sleeping in the car while he attended
Presbyterian church with Ina.
He slipped food to you under the table, although
as a young father his children were forbidden
from feeding pets at the dinner table.

Your master entered his 8th decade of life –
you grew old in dog years and slept
at his feet for the last time –
while his memories dimmed with dementia.
He missed the faithful companion
who had enriched his life –
– as long as he could remember you.

Heref=”http://womenlivinglifeafter50.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/cimg0711.jpg”>Image

This is one corner of our back yard, as seen from the back of our house.  Charlotte is known as the city of trees and we have our share t enjoy.

It is now November and I am engaged in planning our calendar for the coming holidays.   I am also getting out some of the decorations for Thanksgiving month.  I will show those tomorrow.  Another busy day.  We had crock pot roast, cooked slowly with onions, potatoes, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, mushrooms and some white wine I had on hand.   I make some lemon cupcakes with limoncello icing for dessert.   This time I just used a box cake, and added lemon juice and yogurt to the mix of other ingredients for the cupcakes – and the touches of icing is just limoncello, confectioners sugar and some powdered lemonade mix (crystal lite) for tartness.

CIMG0716

MY HOLIDAY PLANNING IS UNDERWAY. HOW IS YOURS COMING?
Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

WORDS

CIMG0357
Photo by SMB

When I was a wee one, mother weaned me from her breast by reading, my back propped against her chest and a magical picture book in front of us.
WORDS ARE ABSORBING.

When I was a toddler, so I was told, trashing a scrap of paper with writing on it brought on tears of anguish.
WORDS ARE TREASURES TO BE KEPT.

When I was three, my mother read the “Night Before Christmas” so often,that I could say it by heart – for all of my life, and her 92 years.
WORDS STRUNG TOGETHER IN PLEASING RHYTHM FEEL GOOD ROLLING OFF THE TONGUE.

When I was young, I sometimes used words to let out my anger.
WORDS CAN HURT.

When I could read, I had my own library card.
WORDS BECAME STORIES AND BOOKS THAT FOSTERED IMAGINATION.

When I went to bed at night, my family said “I love you”, and I was lulled to sleep,
with the softly droning voices of adults, in low conversation.
WORDS CAN COMFORT.

When I was in junior high with awakening hormones,I wrote poems and stories of adventure and romance.
WORDS CAN EXPRESS INNER FEELINGS AND CREATIVITY.

When I listened to lyrics and song, images of love blossomed.
WORDS SET TO MUSIC STIR PASSIONS AND MEMORIES.

When I was in college, written and spoken words introduced me to science and art.
WORDS HAVE POWER TO INFORM AND TRANSFORM.

When I married, I said, “I do”.
WORDS CAN BIND LIVES.

When I was knee deep in my career, words enabled me to maneuver, lead, negotiate, compromise, propose, manage and teach.
WRITTEN AND SPOKEN WORDS ARE TOOLS TO AN END.

When I retired, words in books were my companions in leisure.
WORDS IN THE HANDS OF A MASTER WRITER CAN FILL THE MIND AND HEART.

In the afternoon of my life – if I could – I would take back any words that diminished another, and
SPEAK MORE WORDS THAT ENHANCED ANOTHER.

“Thank you.”
“It’s your turn.”
“I’m sorry.”
“You are right.”
“You are so talented.”
“I value our friendship.”
“I am so proud of you.”
“I love you.”

Sue Marquis Bishop 2012

Some Days I Want to Run

CIMG0415 - Copy
“Possibilities” Photo by SMB

RETIREMENT BRINGS OPPORTUNITIES to chart a new life course and to set a new path – and I am loving this time of life to do just that. I have never had so much time at my command for what I really want to do – blocks of time, not just snippets. On occasion, however, I get so excited about possibilities and new challenges that interest me, that I am overwhelmed.

IT HELPS TO SIT DOWN AND GET ORGANIZED by making specific lists – setting priorities for what I am going to do today, this week or month – or even this year. Tackling my desires in this way presents reality to me, as there are only so many hours in any one day or week. More important, it turns maybes into goals. I have always used list-making as a way of focusing my priorities into action plans. As a wife, mother and career woman, and later a caregiver for my parents, I juggled multiple responsibilities. Staying organized was the secret to helping me to give attention where it was needed and to move forward to achieve goals.

SURPRISE – CREATING SOME ORGANIZATION IN MY LIFE TRANSITION POST-RETIREMENT is still a useful strategy. There is no more rewarding feeling of satisfaction and pride then accomplishing something we really want to do. On days when I feel I have so much I want to do and so little time to do it all, I remind myself to focus on the blessings of my life and the journey of adventure I am on.

I SHARED MY THOUGHTS WITH SOME OF MY WOMEN FRIENDS and learned we had a common perception. We agreed that this stage of life ushers in:

(1) A TIME OF VAST NEW POSSIBILITIES for our lives (including a few loose ends we want to address), and
(2) A GROWING AWARENESS OF FINITE TIME AVAILABLE.

This is vastly different from the age of early adulthood when we perceived unlimited possibilities – and all the time in the world to accomplish them.

In reflecting on our discussion, I wrote a poem, with tongue in cheek, to express the perception of fleeting time that occurs to women over 50 from time to time – and some of the varied items on our “want to do” list.

I WANT TO RUN

I just want to run.
Full out.
Life is shorter
in the afternoon of my life.
I know it well now – Still,
so much I want to do:
explore the small towns of Ireland,
master the flute,
make a quilt,
organize family pictures on CD’s,
simplify my life,
reconnect with an old friend,
search out my ancestors,
write our family’s story for my children,
publish a book of my poems,
take a class in seafood cuisine,
keep a blog, commune with nature,
improve my piano playing,
learn to play chess,
launch a new career,
plant a rose garden,
learn to meditate,
watch the Fall
arrive in inches.
I need to run faster,
reach farther, focus,
organize, hurry, scurry.
Lord, there is so much more
to do on my fleeting path,
I want to run sometimes –
but – don’t let me run so fast,
I miss what’s on the way.

Sue Marquis Bishop 2013