It’s my 75th birthday. It’s a monumental day.

Southwest Harbor, Maine, is home. I’m here for another three weeks before returning to Tucson to pack my art work and photos, special books and dishes, and a few colorful Turkish and Mexican rugs.

I’m moving to Minneapolis. My son and daughter-in-law, two grand babies, and grand puppy are there. Going back to the cold, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll have a bigger life.

My Maine month has been so happy. I’ve been hiking with dear friends and by myself.

Why not? I’m feeling so flexible, I’m in such decent shape.

I’ll tackle Acadia Mountain, I thought yesterday. I haven’t been there in at least four years since MTD and I came across a squawking fawn sitting amidst the lush green growth without its mother. Poor thing. I got closer to look for injuries but there were none that I could see.

Making our way down the mountain, the fawn was gone. We called a park ranger when we got to the car.

I’ve been curious about that small creature. What happened? How did the rest of its life go?

Climbing Acadia yesterday seemed so much easier than four years ago…I was so proud of myself. I’ve put in the time in Tucson over the past eighteen years — walking, hiking, yoga, Pilates, short exercise breaks like a recent NYT article advised.

Still, scurrying down those boulders on the way down Acadia wasn’t a good idea. Big rains saturated the island a few days ago. Was I being careful enough? Probably not. I slipped on the slick rock, grounding myself on my right ankle. I heard a crack.

Sitting there, repeating, “Shit, shit, shit,” my faith in humanity was upheld. At least two young couples came along kindly asking if they could help me (what was this old lady with purple streaks in her gray hair doing there?).

I like to think I’m fine when I’m not. These past weeks of alone time and good friend time, taking in the beauty of mountains rising from the sea, feeling my strength, culminated in recognizing a need for change.

“I’m fine, thanks, I’m fine,” I said, but I hadn’t stood up yet. I stood when the next young couple climbed over the boulders. I felt a little wobbly. I could feel my ankle swelling like a balloon. Each of the young folks hooked an arm in mine, helping me back to my car.

Onward to Mt. Desert Island Hospital where 165 Seawall Road, my home for twenty-five years, still showed up in their database. A nurse I knew thirty years ago ambled into the hospital treatment room to chat.

Is this not home? I’m happy to have lived in the Southwest, the heat, all that sunshine.

I’ll return on July 4, Independence Day, to pack up my stuff. Headed toward cold weather again, in my trusty ocean blue Prius. I’ll be in the cold again but near the warmth of family. I’ll be in life.

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4 Responses to

  1. Kate Reeve says:

    Dear Sheila, Happy birthday! I love thinking of you in your Maine setting. I tried emails Sharon a few months ago and no reply. I remember you share a birthday. Are you still in touch??? I’m so happy for you being able to be near your grandkids. Minneapolis is a beautiful city and should be more kindred in terms of politics. I’m so sorry for your fall while hiking. Is it broken??? I broke my left ankle in Nov., 2019 helping Jonathan and grandkids move into a new house. Actually I fell down some steps in the dark because I didn’t take time to look for light switch. Surgery – one plate and nine screws. There’s a lesson in slowing down. They took me to Yosemite in April for my birthday and I fell the first day hiking and fractured my right ankle! Luckily no surgery this time, but I did go out and by Leki hiking poles and have promised to slow down and remember I’m not 25 anymore. Best of luck with your move. Big hugs, Kate

    • sheilawill says:

      Thanks Kate! Small broken bone that better not stop me for long! No replies from Sharon in years but I may see her next week at women’s group I helped start years ago. Be well. Have fun.

  2. Dan Cobbledick says:

    One of the best things you’ve written in this series. Simple narrative suits you.

    Also it saved me the problem of explaining things to any friends we had in common.

    I am now desperate for structure. I just got off the phone arranging to start CareMore exercise classes. If I can succeed there I could graduate to a silver sneaker. Who knows. Anything that gets me out of the house is good.


  3. sheilawill says:

    Thanks. Wow, that’s great about exercise classes, getting out of the house.
    What does it take to create change…seemed to me you had structure?

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