Monday, January 28, 2008

Twilight Musings

Twilight Musings

©2008 Celeste Billhartz

 I am slipping. I know it. So many forgotten grocery lists, so many missed turns on familiar highways, more and more silent moments – waiting for the fact, the name, the hundreds of things I always knew.

 Last week,  I  left a message for a friend. I was so unsure what to do. I seldom needed a friend to tell me what to do, guide me, know the sensible thing to say, to do. I used to be the wise one.


This year, a friend sent me fish oil for Christmas. She’s very poor and always sends me gifts I would never buy for myself. Meaning: if I wanted fish oil, face creams, trendy perfumes and ornate, girly things, I would buy them. 

 I thank her and know there is no sense in my reminding her, again, that presents are not necessary. She has a need to do that, so I stopped reminding her, years ago. In her hard and sparse world, health food, facials and  fashion are hidden treasures. So, I say nothing.

 I wonder what “gifts of nurturance” I give … that I most need?


I shoveled half the driveway, this last snow. Before, I always cleared the whole thing – the way into the garage and the other  half, alongside, ment for extra parking. A responsible homeowner is supposed to do that, I know.

 My alternative, of course, is to hire a man to plow the driveway. I did that for years. The last time was fine, but I don’t feel safe, anymore, walking on the thin veneer of packed snow that is left.

 My neighbor said that’s pretty standard. No reason to scrape the snow down to the asphalt and risk hitting a rock or something that would damage the blade. I see. I know it doesn’t take the fellow  but three minutes to run up and down, push and drag the blade, and shove it all over the edge of the drive. Sure, I see. Time is money. 

I can’t get it done in under an hour. One steady push of the shovel, from this side to that side, again and again. Many stops at either end, to catch my breath, straighten my back, hope to hell my heart doesn’t fly out of my chest.

 I love seeing the pristine black driveway. Safe. That’s what it means to me. I can feel safe when I walk on it.

 About two months ago, I took a bad fall on that driveway. There was a small patch of ice under the new-fallen snow. Really bad. Nothing broken, but it shook me up.

 I just wasn’t ready to deal with winter, I guess. Or, I thought there should be a lot more snow to justify hiring a man to plow the driveway.

But, that bad fall made me realize that I had to be safe. I could have all the locks on all my doors and have security lights come on every time  a raccoon waddles by at night,  and  still be vulnerable when I step onto an icy driveway, in broad daylight.

 I thought, “Why clear the whole driveway? I never use that other side.”

 I made one long clearing the width of my shovel, right down the center of the whole thing. I then shoveled the side I use to enter and leave the garage. It took about half an hour.

 So, the driveway from the road into the garage is gloriously clear, and I can, safely, walk the length of it to the mailbox. The other side is snow-covered. I didn’t feel right about it, but, at last, the task is manageable. Today, I took a picture of it. I want to remember.

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