My heart and my eyes were full as I walked out the door of my office building as an employee for the last time. All the automatic tasks of leaving for the day, like logging off the computer and turning off the cubicle lights, had a strange sense of ceremony, seemed to be a final ritual marking the end of my days in that building. My coworkers were in meetings, or on vacation, or on their lunch breaks, so no one actually saw me leave, saw me walk down the long basement corridor to the outside world, carrying the last box of the things that have kept me company throughout my work life.
And the rain, the soft, gentle life-giving rain started to fall as I walked through the parking lot to my car. It’s not rained at my house for 5 weeks. The creeping phlox is crisp, the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants withered, the blueberries already shedding their toasted brown leaves for the winter. The rain felt like a blessing, a baptism welcoming me into my new life. But I know the rain really had nothing to do with any personal symbolism; it finally rained only because that evening, six of us would be transporting our harps through the rain to our first harp ensemble class of the semester. If our ensemble had started a month ago I’d still be enjoying fall tomatoes instead of pulling dried husks of vines out of the earth.
So much about retiring has felt like a giant leap of faith, an exhilarating leap into a new life and new adventures. Yesterday the leap become quite literal. While leaving the student services building at the community college, my bifocal-ed eyes did not see the edge of a gray terrace nor the 6-inch step to the gray sidewalk below. I stepped into nothingness, and flew in an ungraceful arc across the sidewalk, leaving most of the skin on my knees and elbows behind. The non-surgery knee took the worse hit and now looks more gruesome than any skinned knee I had as a child. The surgery knee has some minor scrapes and a couple of new bruises, but I think I avoided serious damage. I’ll see if the physical therapist concurs on Friday.
This falling, this stepping into nothingness and the resulting bumps and scrapes and bruises of this bit of my new adventures have brought me back down to earth. Too painfully they are reminding me of the need to keep my head where my feet are, and not in some metaphorical swirling snow-globe that contains my future. Ouch!