Letter From New York December 8, 2014 The reality of change

It is 5:00 PM and it is dark here in Claverack. I have turned on the spotlights that let me see the creek from the dining and living rooms. All day today I have sat at the dining room table, doing my work for the day, watching squirrels romp on the deck while the creek went swiftly by, running fast.

I did a round of outside errands today, going to the Post Office to collect my mail. There is no postal delivery on my street so we all have Post Office Boxes up at the Claverack Post Office, a small outpost of the USPS we all hope will stay open. Any time there are talks of more budget cuts for the Postal Service we fear we will lose ours. It would be a little like seeing the heart cut out of the town; most days collecting the mail you run into someone you know, have a chance to visit with them and then go your way. They even collect your parcels for you and hold them if you want.

The team that runs the office has been here since I have been here; they know me and greet me warmly when I collect the overflow from my box. It is one of the wonders of life in the town of Claverack.

We worry. The town is changing a bit. There are rumors that a plot of empty land will be sold for a development of new houses. The Claverack Market, adjacent to the Post Office, shuttered its doors for good a month ago – they just couldn’t compete with the Hannaford that opened down the road from them.

Change is inevitable. The changing though is not always easy in its happening. We get disconcerted when the anchors in our lives slip away from us in the slipstream of time.

A friend of mine is sitting with her mother as her life closes; it will be difficult as they are very close and I am sure my friend will discover a well of loneliness when her mother passes.

Any unwelcome change can open the door to that well of loneliness. The passing of a parent, a friend, a partner, the loss of a job, moving when you might not really want to move, all these things cause loneliness to rear its head and remind of us of our humanity.

In this time of transition for me, I have faced not so much loneliness but aloneness, the sense of being one person facing out to the universe, working to build a new chapter in my life. But there are moments when that aloneness, not a terrible thing, does become loneliness and I yearn for some other point in life.

It passes. But in its presence, it reminds me of my humanity, my singularity, my existential presence.

Overall, this has been a wonderful fall, a fall that lingered with us longer than it could, blessing us with good weather. Shortly, it will officially be winter.

As I write this, it is chill but not so chill I couldn’t enjoy a walk earlier in the afternoon. Tomorrow it is supposed to be blustery, with freezing rain. Sounds not too pleasant but by the weekend, milder weather will have won out.

Celtic Christmas Carols play on Pandora; I will light a fire when finished with this and begin to prep for dinner with friends joining me at the cottage. I spent the day sending electronic Christmas cards.

All things considered, I have many reasons to be grateful so as I finished my walk this afternoon and came up my drive, I spoke to the universe and articulated my gratitude.

Change is flowing through my life and I am hopeful I will have the courage to shape that change.

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