Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"They" Were Wrong

When I was young, I used to be slightly haunted by a line in the John Cougar Mellencamp song that goes, “Oh yeah, they say life goes on/long after the thrill of living is gone.” I worried it might be true that the thrill of living leaves us as we age. How hard it would be to live life without that thrill, I thought.

And then during my divorce and the events that led up to it, I realized there was no thrill. Just relentless responsibilities, attacks, hassles, worries. And on top of it all, I worried about the loss of that thrill. Was it gone forever?

Today, on this November day, I look around. The ginger (above) is wafting the most lovely gardenia/papaya scent throughout the house. The passionflowers are still draping the French doors. Outside in the sunlight, a Bouncing Bet flower is still in bloom, and so is a rose. Sweet alyssum is everywhere. The dog is making me laugh, rolling in the grass and leaves, snorting, celebrating the luxuries of sun and earth and air. My daughter finally got over her flu and is playing classical music on the piano, the notes drifting out into the yard and into my soul. I recently heard from another loved one and couldn’t help but grin at the smile in his voice. Got the nicest letter—yes, letter!—from a friend I haven’t heard from in ages. Got a birthday card from another friend I haven’t heard from in even longer. Spent yesterday sipping wine and laughing with some great people at a winery, overlooking the hills of Augusta. When I look back over something sweet that happened at work last week, I can't help but smile. All of it gives me a thrill—all of it.

If someone had told me years ago that I would love this part of my life so much—divorced, and in the autumn of my years—would I have believed them? And yet not only is the thrill of living not gone, but I get it at the slightest, silliest things.

Oh, yeah, life goes on…and the thrill of living gets even more strong.

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. ~Anne Frank

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