Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

First shot of the new year. Azalea blooming just off the back porch.

Getting out a new calendar and looking at January 1st, many of us take time to reflect on the year just past and make resolutions for the year to come--a year we hope will be better than the one now behind us. Looking back over 2006, I can't say I have any complaints. In February, I put my own life on hold to leave Montana for the northwestern edge of California and my 92 year old mother. This was probably one of the best things I've ever done. While it was much harder watching Mother's decline up close, at least I could see with my own eyes what was happening, and not worry from a distance.

As a rule, I use my birthday as the time to reflect and plan, but this year not much of that happened as I was caught up in the daily ritual of visiting the nursing home. This was not a time to think of myself, or to make any plans. How could I when I had no idea how long Mother's ordeal would last. I was here for the duration.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Mother's condition had worsened to the point I was convinced she couldn't endure the week. Monday, upon my arrival at the nursing home, she looked up at me and said, "You're a gift from God." Those are the last words she spoke to me. She lingered on, not eating or taking any liquids, even clamping her mouth shut when the nurses tried to give her oral pain medications. I didn't see how she could continue. Saturday night, November 25th, 2006, the most beautiful, most brilliant person I have ever known finally let go. Just before 11 p.m., Gypsy stood up in bed, looked toward the ceiling, then jumped down. I assumed she wanted out, and got up myself to let her into the back yard. I hadn't let her back in when the phone rang--the call I'd been dreading and anticipating for so long.

I didn't go into Crescent City that night. Mother was no longer there--why should I? Sunday I got a friend to drive me into town so I could clean out Mother's room. I didn't trust myself to drive the thirty-mile round trip. Since then, things have been up and down, as should be expected.

A bridge to the new year.
Applegate River, Jackson County Oregon

So now we've entered 2007. For the first time in over 20 years I'm not constrained by concerns about Mother. It's time to take care of me now. And time to start putting my own dreams into action. This blog and the pictures shared therein is one facet of that. Every guide to achievement tells you to just get started. I want to travel, write and take pictures. I want to publish my travel writing and photography--get bylines in different magazines. To do that, I need to make sure I'm writing and taking pictures. You, my friends, are my sounding board. Let me know what you think of my topics. Leave comments on my posts. Subscribe to my blog so that you'll know when I've added a new post. The latter is simple. My goal is to write a new post every day. Today has been much harder than I expected. I've never dealt well with being alone, and today I'm feeling very alone. This will pass. Of that I'm sure. So, what are my plans for 2007?

Writing--haven't I made that clear by now?

Some of the places I'm planning to visit:
DC for the cherry blossoms
West Virginia/Virginia for family and genealogical study
Wherever AWAI (American Writers and Artists Institute) has a travel writing/photography seminar--there's one in Fort Lauderdale in February.
South America--there's a great cruise that departs from Santiago (Valparaiso) Chile and 23 days later arrives in San Francisco.
And wherever else the muse leads me.

Love and blessings to all who read these posts. And Happy New Year.

(Brookings Oregon Azalea Park Light Festival 2006)

No comments: