Basking in New Freedoms

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My daughter and I enjoyed breakfast at a local diner after her night shift at the hospital. We reminisced about school days. Her college roommate just wrote her last evening that it was ten years ago when they shared a dorm room. I mentioned hearing from a couple of my own students. As we chatted, I queried her about the anticipation of a new school year.
No, she did not always look forward to returning to school. In some respects, there was fear and trepidation about the new year. Would she like the classes and teachers? I supposed she looked forward to seeing friends again. Indeed, but it was more fun to put on and wear her new school clothes. Then there was the difficulty sleeping the night before school started. Pondering her feelings about returning to school, I reflected on my own thoughts when I was still teaching. What was I going to wear? Who would be in my classes? It really doesn’t matter what side of the desk we are on, the accompanying thoughts and feelings remain similar.

Earlier this month I started to hear the cicada again. Fall must be on its way. The garden is full, lush and almost overgrown with ripe vegetables. We seem to have enough tomatoes to feed an army. The collards are huge and waiting for that first frost to harvest. A school colleague told me the best time to harvest them is after that first frost. It has now become a ritual to harvest and tear the collards as well as to use her recipe. And we can continue to enjoy the collards even after the first snowfall.

The routines and schedules are different for me this year. Dare I even mention the word: retirement? All manner of suggestions by well-intentioned friends have offered me a myriad of things to do. I will forego signing on for anything new for the time being. I shall savor the moments of arising when I want to. The watch battery still needs replacing, but I don’t really miss knowing what time it is. I don’t have to. What freedoms I have now. Shhh. Not too loudly. I don’t want to give my husband and family food for thought about what I could and should be doing.

My Saturday routine has not altered much either. Tons of laundry and chores. And I am fine with it all. I’ll think about harvesting from our garden but mainly, I’ll nap when I feel like it. I’ll smugly crawl under the covers when I am tired. I don’t have to wait until nightfall. The happiness is all mine now. Later I might try picking a few collards and making our green, healthy soup like she did. The luxury of basking in new freedoms.


I learned about a
Good collard recipe
From a librarian friend
Of mine.

Olive oil, garlic
Over medium heat.
Wash and tear the greens
Off the thick stems.

Discard the stems.
Cook in chicken broth
For about three hours
And serve as soup.

A giant boost of vitamins
And energy.
This green soup –
A family favorite.


The top two photos are courtesy of my niece, Sally Dolak, who blogs from Costa Rica these days. You can find her blog at

This entry was posted in a new year, Fall, freedoms, gardens, nature, retirement, routines, school, students, teachers and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Basking in New Freedoms

  1. Alyssa Sherry says:

    Since my last comment didn’t work, hopefully this one does, but enjoy your retirement! I’m sure you’ll enjoy all of those new freedoms:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the comment, Alyssa. I am currently practicing piano again to substitute at church next week. And I DO need practice. My new freedoms include some practice and work again. Music is food for the soul. You understand that as a fellow musician. Both languages and music take practice to perfect. A lifetime of practice. If you love it, it is a labor of love.


  2. Elyse Reine says:

    Nice tomatoes! New venture.

    Liked by 2 people

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