Lost. Now here’s a topic I am intimately familiar with. My claim to fame, such as it were. Spatially challenged? Don’t try to follow me to the elevator when I leave a hotel room. It will take a couple of tries before I get there. Those doors all look the same. They do!
My earliest dreams – probably at the age of 6 or 7 – were nightmarish…riding the bus home from school and being dropped off in a neighborhood that at first looked like mine. I’d walk from house to house looking for My House. The familiar ranch with the brick front porch. I became hopelessly lost in those dreams and woke up in a panic. Funny how those memories stay intact.
It didn’t improve with age. I needed a map or written directions for (many) months when driving to a new job 20 minutes away – this was back in 1995. One family joke is…what would happen to some poor soul who asked ME for directions? It’s happened and I freeze.
So, imagine my eternal gratitude and celebration when the Garmin navigator device was invented – replacing the ever reliable AAA Trip-tick with its booklet full of detailed maps. And then miracle of miracles…GPS google maps! Live action and an insistent voice that keeps Recalculating! At least I don’t have to do it.
My email spam folder often provides comic relief – begging me to click on links and apply to work for a major ride sharing company. Can you imagine? They obviously did very little research – if any – as to who they target for advertising. Even with a GPS chirping away, it would be risky business hiring me as a driver.
No matter…I still have a stash of street maps jammed in the seat pocket of my car…just in case. And they always work.
I went for a walk in the woods yesterday to mark the first day of Spring with a few photographs. A thick layer of wet leaves covered the trail, along with puddles left over from the recent rains and melting snow. It was mostly overcast with a few peeks of late afternoon sun. Not too much was going on Spring-wise unless you stopped and looked close, which happens to be my favorite method of discovery.
Pricker bush branches never seem to take the winter off, so once I carefully moved those out of the way (ouch!), I spotted long spindly branches showing off pinkish buds. Aha! There it was…a sure sign of Spring.
Another sign of Spring? The tick who hitchhiked a ride home with me. Fortunately I captured it before it scurried all the way up my leg.
On March 27th, 2020 I published a post about shocking prices at the gas pump…as well as on the absurdity of life. It was the beginning of a pandemic. A new virus that nobody fully understood – which would fast become a political football and plunge the United States and the world into a chaotic mess. A tumble into the Twilight Zone where toilet paper became the Item To Hoard. And the chicken that kept disappearing from the meat department at Market Basket. Empty shelves in my corner of America.
Wash Your Hands became the new mantra (although it had always been my mantra since taking biochem in college). The shock at the gas pump in March 2020 should have been a positive sign. But everything was shut down. Nowhere to go with a full tank of cheap gas…
Fast forward to yesterday morning. I returned to the same gas station…the same gas pump. It was another WTH moment. The metal signs that hung over the pumps in 2020 were gone and I suspect it was because the prices were rising so fast. Who has time to keep changing the numbers or maybe they didn’t have enough 4s. Whatever.
I just peek at the news now, in print only. Televised Breaking News is unbearable and horrific…and the horror has nothing to do with covid anymore. But somehow I didn’t expect this when I went to buy gas…prices doubled in 2 years:
The surreal is amping up again…falling into another version of the Twilight Zone. Toilet paper is stacked high in the paper goods aisle at Market Basket, costing 50% more than in March 2020. Chicken has doubled in price, but is usually in stock now. Hand sanitizer collects dust on shelf after shelf. I shop as quickly as possible. Grab, pay and go. Sale prices no longer seem relevant.
Once more, something else in life feels out of control. However, even as I continue to wonder if “normal” will ever return, I am profoundly grateful for the life I have…unprecedented high prices and all.
My potted hibiscus has remained dormant through most of the winter months, resting comfortably in front of a large (often sunny) picture window. It surprised us recently though, when we noticed blooms bursting out…one after another. I am most grateful for this splash of color as we wait for Spring to arrive.
If trying to find a way when you don’t even know you can get there isn’t a small miracle; then I don’t know what is.
Four years ago today I held my breath and tapped the Publish button on my newly launched blog. I had no idea what to expect, but thought…why not? And Oneletterup was born. It began as a safe place for exploring & sifting through memories…flipping through musty diaries and the creased pages of letters from loved ones. And not-so-loved ones.
Then I discovered blog “challenges” which encouraged me to go deep and push through to write my truth. I had been in various writing groups over the years so it wasn’t an entirely new type of experience, but this time was better. I was inspired by VJ and Heather and Martha and Sandy and Shelley and Ellen to name just a few. Photography took off for me because of the Tuesday Photo Challenge (Frank offered excellent advice for choosing my new camera!). I was again inspired by fellow bloggers like him and Becky and Cee and Manja and John and the Lens Artists.
Of course everything went off track once the pandemic hit 2 (!) years ago, but blogging reinforced that I was not alone. It was also a place to try to make some kind of sense of what the hell was happening. I have been one of many…sharing and commenting in common disbelief at how upside down everything was/is.
I’m the type of person who diligently (and joyfully) marks anniversaries and rites of passage with photos and journal entries. Tell those stories! Birthdays (must have cake & candles!). Graduations (cake!). Weddings (cake!). First Days of School. Last Days of School. The First Year of Life in weekly photos. I am not sure how to commemorate my 4th year blogging anniversary except to be glad I’m still at it…and grateful to those who have hung in there with me. We’ve had comforting conversations and thankfully sometimes a few laughs.
When I started this blog 4 years ago, I was retired with more free time and now I’m not. Well…yes and no. My current full time volunteer “job” is running a condo board which usually chases out/squashes/silences the writer and photographer in me. Maybe someday that will be subject material for an essay (“I thought High School was over 50 years ago”) or even a memoir (“The Old and the Ornery”) but when you’re in the middle of you-know-what, it’s not the time to pick it apart and discuss.
I’m glad to be here…literally and on WP. Thanks for all your support. Here’s to better days ahead!