Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Field of Dreams


I have retired.
Not in the social security sense—
that age-determined status that promises perpetual care,
the reward for life’s contributions already made.
But in the sense of taking a changed path—
to determine each day the direction for myself,
to discover that contribution yet within me.

Damsel in the grass

From a car parked beside mine, a man left the gravel lot and walked off into the woods on a narrow trail barely visible through the eagerly reaching, green spring grass. On his back, lashed to a large pack that I suspected of hiding a camera, long-legged photographic paraphernalia swung with each step, as he disappeared into the undergrowth. It is a lovely spot where a broad lake attracts folks of all sorts for fishing and birding and thought. Yet, his determined stride had taken him away from all that. The object of his pursuit, uncertain to me.

painted turtle

I had come there to walk the trail as I had always walked it.
A wide, raised bank adjacent to the water ran a straight course north. On one side, sycamore trees bent low over the still surface, their gnarled fingers pointing to newly emerging lily pads, while on the other, turtles flopped, one after another, from the sunlit spot on a log into the safety of the steadily thickening green swill. Times before, I had watched from this edge as swans approached and posed for my camera to create a picture framed by the sycamore’s reflective arching arms. On this day, however, the geese commanded the lake. In the distance, the faded ring of cattails rimming the marsh drew the barest line between two oceans of blue.
For a moment, a fancily clad crane fly drew me several feet off course, as she bumbled about on long, striped legs before finally coming to rest clumsily on a thorny cane at my feet. Above me, a pair of blue-gray gnatcatchers flitted in and out of the branches, their wheezy call the only sound along the trail.

Mute Swans on Spring Valley Lake

Canada Goose

Phantom Crane Fly

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

teneral damselfly

Returning to my car, I was reminded again of the man who had turned from the lot and set off with such purpose into the nearby woods. He had come, conquered and gone, all in the time that I had wandered the water’s edge.

So, I ducked past the brushy boughs hiding its course into the woods and followed the path he had taken, slowly and quietly, to its very end in a farmer’s field. The dirt was freshly plowed, dark and warm under the afternoon sun and it rose to a point on the horizon where earth brown met sky blue.

Some wait for fields of roses.
Days filled with dandelions will be good enough for me.

Dandelion seedheads

Stumble Upon Toolbar


KGMom said...

Days filled with dandelions, indeed.
Welcome to this side of life, Nina. And I am certain you will enjoy.
My own transition to retirement was a bit more troubled--having been neither planned nor wanted. But I have slowly made a way on this side of life, and am enjoying.
I wish you all the enjoyment you can manage!

p.s. If you have comment moderation, do you also need word verification?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on starting a new leg of your journey. I suspect "retiring" will be an exciting adventure that you will make your own.

Mel said...

Hi Nina,
It's new beginnings for me too :)

eileeninmd said...

A wonderful post, good luck on your new adventure! great photos!

giggles said...

Congratulations on a new path. And I do hope you don't mean retiring from blogging?! I see a future in writing and photo-ing ....

Best warm wishes.

The Early Birder said...

Hi Nina. I didn't have much time to plan my change of lifestyle but glad I seized the opportunity albeit abi early than intended. I am certain you will quickly settle into setting your own pace each day...Enjoy. Cheers FAB.

Laure Ferlita said...

What an enchanting field of dandelions and wildflowers!!

This new journey will, no doubt, take you to other enchantments, if you will let it lead you as you did on this day!!

(And I hope you'll take us along for the ride!)

cestoady said...

What better reason to "retire" than to have more time to do what you love -- and do so well. God speed .

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yay for your first retirement. No doubt it will take some adjustments but it will be well worth it. I enjoyed your stroll along the creek. I have seen some of those dandelion fields just today. Gorgeous too.

Mary said...

Seems we have similar taste. I would adore dancing among the dandelions every day.

Nina, I know where you'll be early in the morning and after dark...

Wishing I was there, too.

Hugs and congrats,

Kathiesbirds said...

Nina, so softly beautiful and peaceful. I loved taking this walk with you. Love the swans and the gnatcatcher. Love the reflection photo. I may have to engage comment moderation also. The spammers have been giving me a work-out too!

RuthieJ said...

Congratulations on your retirement. I can tell you will have no problems filling your days with interesting things.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

My son would be thrilled to come upon a patch of dandelions gone to seed!
I have never seen the phantom crane fly before. What a pretty bug.

Building a house said...

"When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality."

How wonderful it is to dream... and making it happen.

Murr Brewster said...

I don't think it will take any more adjustment than contending with grin fatigue!

Misty Dawn said...

Absolutely outstanding post in every sense of the word!!! I truly enjoyed every second of reading this and every fantastic photo. said...

Great pictures!!! congratulations!!!