The real "New Year" seems clearly to me to be late September and early October. Because I find myself back in a new-old world, of many memories, of my own life divided by decades, of long-held cherished friendships, and the sudden awareness of people I'd come to love here in our senior residence, who've died in the course of the summer. Gentle people, old, kind people who worked hard to cheer others.
And I myself am a bit disoriented. My canoe is stored for the winter. I don't look up from my stern seat, stopped momentarily out by Pine River's mouth to gaze at the ranges of mountains that frame Ossipee Lake, all the way north to mighty Mt. Washington and its Presidential Range, and down along the eastern side our nearest Freedom Hills. There is no peace of the river that so welcomed, and settled, and healed me those 30 or so times I paddled those quiet miles this summer.
Sitting by the fireside with Molly and various others of our family those summer evenings of reading or quiet talk.
Suddenly now I listen to doctors telling me why my breath is short, and my swollen legs weep, and my INR blood count is erratic. There are reasons for everything. My doctor's had a baby, my eye guy is retiring after keeping me seeing these last 30 years. My new dermatologist, whom I really don't know yet, will zap the little pre-cancerous spots on my forehead. The front door valet at the Park-Nicollet Clinic gives me an assist. "Oh, it's all right ma'am, I've seen him here for years. I know Arthur. I'm Kenny."
I just have to get used to it all. To being 90, and feeling fragile, and not quite strong, and having to sort of feel my way in this somewhat strange new year.
When I'm occasionally still asked in public places, "Are you still Arthur?" the answer still is, "Yes."
"I'm Arthur, and I remember you, and I love you, sit down and talk." And, if no one comes along, I'll write a blog, like today, speaking up, out of my heart.
An evening or two ago, a white-haired long-retired college professor asked me if I'd seen lately my "biographer." "Not recently," I said, "but he's written to say he's begun writing."
That's a new experience for me. It would be quite exciting. I'll have to wait and see.. But, I think about it. Judd has written from Baltimore quoting a great German theologian of a century ago, who said, "In the beginning was the sermon."
So, my young friend is reading all my sermons of the two decades when he sat in the balcony at the "old Colonial," and heard them all, and realized they told the story. Perhaps we shall see.
So, the new year - so many years later - begins.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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