Is There Life After Retirement?


Posted on: March 26, 2009

It was quite a week. Intense, but good intense. So I treated myself to a vacation day.

Started the morning on my deck with a lovely, lovely meditation. Then I wandered around the apartment, emailing, chatting until I finally got whacked with a sudden inspiration to hit the gym – first time in nearly two weeks.

I took life’s “stuff” out on the Elliptical Machine, from deadline concerns to thinking unkind things about whomever the gym member is that insists on the TV being set to Fox News. I marched furiously forward into nowhere, while that damn screen mocked me. Hoping the culprit was there to see me take a swig from my Obama08 water bottle (take THAT, Conservative Gym Guy) I changed course and decided to laugh at my silliness and own it. On to the weight machines, headphones in place…

Ever notice how often a random song matches the external situation? From Beatles to Rascal Flatts to Transiberian Railway – it all fit. Digging on the synchronicity … kind of like my own little Life Soundtrack…I got into the movie of it. Gawd, I love music.

Yes, I tend to live in my head. But even I have to admit – there’s nothing like a physical workout. It’s tough and sweaty and occasionally monumentally unpleasant but when those endorphins kick in….


Happy and tired – blissfully so – I left the gym and walked towards my car. Catching a glimpse of something shiny in my peripheral vision, I turned to look. It was the sunlight dancing across the turquoise blue Pacific. Twenty some years later it never fails to take my breath away. Forgetting that my tunes were still plugged in to me, I walked across the lot to fully enjoy it.

I was hot and sticky but felt oddly cool. Know that thing that happens when the breeze wafts across wet skin? Yeah, that.

Just as I was being swept up into yet another island girl moment, a familiar piano riff began to play in my head. WTF??? In my head? Oh that’s right – the headphones. Listening to that solitary and deliberate prelude, I knew what was coming–

“Some folks want to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood…
Hop a flight for Miami Beach or Hollywood
But me, I’m taking the Greyhound on the Hudson River Line.
I’m in a New York State of Mind…”

Followed by that sax…

Oh, there is something about a slow, bluesy saxophone that touches me like only it can. From the very first note, it insinuates itself into a place within me that nothing else can reach. Don’t know why or what it means. It’s just so.

So there I was…lost in the paradox of tropical breezes and saxophones and breaking waves until the song about the City played itself out. Made my way back to the car and drove home, slowly, deliberately. Just the way Billy played it, I guess.

I walked up my stairs, thinking about doors – closing, opening, closing, opening…There is a wistful magnificence to life sometimes. A little melancholy perhaps, but oh, so exquisitely beautiful.

(Here it is … )

2 Responses to "Chiaroscuro"

Just smiling…….

This was great too read

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    • Joyce Burke: This was great too read
    • Debbie: I'm with miracarroll--it's your story, so create however you want. Leave the rest of us wondering which of the (mis)adventures are real, which might b
    • miracarroll: Marti, surely the people in your life are wise enough to know (especially after you say it) that you're a writer and in fiction, everything is fair ga
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