I don’t often go back into The Old Neighborhood anymore, so it surprises me that when I get into the car my iPhone automatically tells me it’s 18 minutes to Redford. My husband says I must still have the Redford address listed as “home” in Google apps. He’s probably right - I haven’t checked, and most likely I wouldn’t change it anyway. It’s not because I still think of Redford as Home - I don’t. But it’s a comforting reminder that it WAS home for almost four decades - longer than anywhere else I’ll ever live.
Lately I’ve fallen down one of those rabbit holes of inquiry so common among readers. Sometimes they can be a bad thing, right? You go slip sliding away from whatever it is you’re focused on and within a bare few minutes your attention has gone careening like a pinball from one topic to another. Usually this kind of destructive activity can be traced directly to the internet. You click onto Google to look up a fact, and the next thing you know you’re buying a pair of sandals from QVC.
Sometimes, thought, the rabbit hole is a good and true thing, a shower of creative sparks skyrocketing inside your brain, making your fingers itch for a pen or a QWERTY keyboard so you can capture some of them before the shine goes dim.
I’m happy to say, that’s the kind of rabbit hole I’ve been living in for the past few days.
Spring has been peeking around the edges or our days lately, so walking outdoors has once again become a “thing” that I/we do every day. Lacey and I go out early before many people in this community are out and about in their cars. She revels in all the scents on the ground under her nose; I revel in the warmth of the sun and the songs of the birds above my head. I read somewhere this week of a writer who referred to bird song as her “personal temple bell” - every time she hears it, she uses it as an reminder to “stop and be grateful.”
I’ve been trying to do that too on these happy morning walks. The birds here are cacophonous, so I am often in gratitude mode. Which I know is good for me because at home edginess settles on me like a prickly wool sweater. I need the softness of gratitude to smooth it out.
On March 24, 2017, the first anniversary of my mother’s death, I was in Scottsdale, Arizona, visiting a dear friend who I jokingly refer to as my “other mother.” Last year, on the second anniversary of her death, Jim and I were in Nashville at the Brentwood Arena along with thousands of other people at an Eagles concert.
Today, on the third anniversary of losing my mother, I am at home with my husband and my puppy. We do all the familiar morning things - drink coffee in bed, read, rub the puppy belly and get puppy kisses in return. We will walk Lacey along her now familiar pathways here in the neighborhood. I’ll make lunch, maybe go into town to the library or wander through Barnes and Noble and spend some of the gift card I received for my birthday a couple of weeks ago.
Then I’ll pick up some flowers and drive over to the cemetery. The flowers will not last - it’s still too cold, and technically according to the cemetery rules I’m not even supposed to put flowers out right now. This is the time of year they’re beginning spring clean ups and they don’t want people making more work for them I guess. But too bad. I’ll take them anyway.
I won’t linger long. As I said, it’s still cold here - colder than it has any right to be at the end of March. But the weather aside, it doesn’t help me to be at the cemetery anymore. I remember my mother every single day, I don’t need to stand on her grave to do it.
I published my first blog post 13 years ago yesterday. At age 50, I felt myself poised on “the second half of my century on earth,” and was itching for a way to explore that particular position in with writing. Little did I know what would come of that blog - Becca’s Byline, it was called. It led to thousands of words written in the work of making sense of Life In General (and my own in particular.) It led to a deeper exploration of my creative thinking. It led to new confidence in my abilities, and to the eventual publication of two books of collected essays.
But most importantly, it led to a network of connections, many of which are still viable today, even though I’ve never met some of these people in real life (IRL). As an introvert, an only child, a solitary somewhat melancholy soul, connection with others - both like minded and contrary - is vital to my mental health. In a recent interview on NPR, Mary Pipher, author of a new book about aging entitled Women Rowing North, said that as women enter old age their friends are their mental health insurance policy. I believe that statement with my whole heart, and I’m blessed to have a robust and multifaceted “policy” in my circle of amazing friends.
Which is why, at age 63 (as of yesterday) I’m recommitting to writing here at, even though many people say blogging as a platform is dead. I still think its a marvelous way of connecting with people - less public than social media and therefore less noisy and hectic. Blogs seem like a quieter, safer neighborhood in which to gather, more like inviting a select group into your living room than standing on a street corner shouting at one another. My plan is to open this door for you every other Sunday and I hope you’ll stop by, have some coffee or a glass of wine, and connect with me on the page about life in all its glory.