I have historically envisioned retirement Jennie living in a secluded cabin, writing, growing vegetables, baking bread, talking to the animals and generally being one with nature. The bubble that is this vision has been popped by reality brought home by Coronavirus social-distancing requirements and my aversion to witnessing the more violent aspects of nature. I am left with sticky bubble excrement, stinging my eyes and blurring my envisioned existence.
As a result of observance of stay-at-home Coronavirus-related orders, I have realized that I don’t handle long-term isolation well . No Cross Creek for me. I will not follow Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings into rural isolation to allow for introspection and personal reflection that leads to creative success and adulation by the masses, while I reside in a quiet, peaceful environment. This realization was pin-prick number one to my dream. As I meditated on the beauty of nature and solitude, I was hoping the pin prick wound to my dream bubble would be of the self-healing variety.
Sadly, as I meditate on nature, my meditating mind is invaded by visions of the sometimes brutal aspects of the cycle-of-life (cycle-of-life in retirement – the cycle of work life was always, and continues to be, brutal). Even in my backyard, where I am spending a lot of socially-distanced time, I’ve come across turtle carcasses where turtles ventured into the circle-of-life with a raccoon, hawk, or roadrunner. The presence of roadrunners, I understand – they were here first – but I thought raccoons and hawks lived in the remote areas of nature that I envisioned myself retiring to. Obviously, the turtles did not make it out of the circle alive. For the turtles, it was a circle of death. I had brought the turtles to this circle. The roadrunners, raccoons and hawks came uninvited. This brings another pin: death (it’s a big sharp one), close to my retirement dream bubble. I have now had to take on the role of turtle pimp, in an attempt to find circles of life that do not include roadrunners, raccoons and hawks. Turtles are hot little numbers and I had no trouble finding turtle takers (not mean ol’ turtle Johns).
Contemplating my retirement dream bubble, has generated some questions. How might native-nature inhabitants react to my invasion of their “neck of the woods?” Might I be moving into a circle of life where I’m the prey? Boom! My bubble popped. I do grow vegetables in my backyard. I do talk to my cat. If I could find yeast in the grocery store, I would bake bread (well, once daily temperature highs are under 100 degrees). I have solar, so I’m leaning towards off-the-grid. I will stay where I am. Truly, life is good here; a little lonely, but not as lonely as it would be in a secluded cabin in the woods. Cinnamon and I are going to head out to the turtleless-backyard now. As cycle-of-life warriors, we will battle squash-bugs. They are a quickly-reproducing adversary, but we are tough. We will prevail, because we can always pull up the squash plants. We’re tough almost-off-the-grid residents!