Lost: My great rec center, where I alternated aqua aerobics classes in a warm-water pool with fitness-dance classes till I enthusiastically oozed sweat.
Found: My neighborhood, where I’ve lived for over 12 years and am discovering through taking brisk walks. It has a tiny woods in one direction, a tiny creek-walk in the opposite. In between, lots of burby houses, humble on my side of the dividing road, more bougie and landscaped on the other side. Now, in mid-Ohio early spring, the profusion of wildflowers, trees in bud and bloom, the procession from daffodils to hyacinths to tulips to lilacs, changes almost daily. The wild beauty of spring is almost too much to bear.
Lost: My wonderful funded trip to Europe, with days of research in Amsterdam and Berlin, a workshop and an international autobiography conference in Finland, and, as a reward for all that virtue, a trip to St. Petersburg–and a brilliant hotel–during the White Nights in June.
Found: Tove Jansson’s Moomin comics and stories, which I read in preparation for Finland. She was the extraordinarily imaginative creator of the alternative Moomin world of blobby folk-animal-creatures living in a communal hodgepodge when they annually emerged from 9 months of winter to have mind-bending adventures in Moominland. Reading these books is close to perfect happiness. Also, the Petersburg hotel refunded my exorbitant deposit when I mentioned I was a senior and they decided in my favor because of my “venerable age.” (I’ve since been informed that women of a certain age in Russia are referred to as “babushkas.” I prefer “venerable.”)
Lost: My family, including local grandkids who are 7 and 3, the light of my life, for the indefinite future. FaceTime and waving through their picture window just don’t cut it.
Found: Phone conversations and exchanges with friends around the world and from decades of the past who are so warm and caring. The family we make . . .
Lost: Artists, intellectuals, ordinary people. Luckily as yet none from my big Irish family of 12 cousins–but some are so fragile. The passing that got me–John Prine, though he had had so many grievous illnesses that it wasn’t surprising, really.
Found: The pleasure of singing along to every word of every song on Diamonds in the Rough. (Though I discovered yesterday that it would be up to $499 to buy a CD of any of his other albums I now want.)
Lost: My dirty-blonde-colored bob.
Found: My silver curls.
Lost: The ease of living in a predictable world.
Found: Deep sadness that sometimes hits like a brick.