Friday, October 9, 2015

Vashonista Celebration

On the first of October, I flew to Seattle, Washington to spend five days with blogging friends that I first met in October of 2012 when we rented an old farmhouse on Vashon Island.  Since that first meeting, this time together at Lavender Hill has become a yearly event.  This year, since all of us are now retired, we decided to spend five days together rather than three.  We also decided that we would spend the time writing.  Deb from Cat Bird Scout was our facilitator for our writing.

During our writing time we worked from Pat Snider's model of workshop writing. We wrote eleven prompt writing during our time together.  We all agreed to share our last prompt writing on our blogs.

The Prompt

Deb read to us Mary Oliver's Poem The Summer Day.  If you have never read this wonderful poem, I am included it here:

Once Deb had finished reading the poem, she gave us the last line of this poem as our writing prompt:

What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

A Reflection on The Prompt

Sometime assigned writing prompts bring up feelings which the writer wishes to not address in writing.  Such was the case for me that day.  This particular poem had been used on the funeral program of one lost too soon, of one I had loved and admired greatly.  I cut the poem from the funeral program and framed it as a reminder of the importance of that last line when considering the days we have left in this life.  

On this particular day when we were given this particular writing prompt, I had just received word that two men I had gone to school with had just passed away.  One had been married to a friend from my high school group before her untimely passing five years ago.  The other I had not know well, but my husband had, and he was the much loved older brother of a friend of mine.  Needless to say, the poem, the last line, and the prompt hit a very somber note with me.  The deaths of two from my school days seemed to prompt a reminder that I have fewer day before me than I do behind me.  

I decided to look back to my youth and see how I had used the days I have been given up until this point.  Had I used my time wisely?  What were my early goals for life?  How did the goals I had from my early days influence the decisions I have made through seven decades of living?  

The Writing Piece

Trees lined the sidewalks that led from the college dorms to the main campus.  Those canopy covered walks lead to the future for which I am preparing, I thought as I headed out that first day towards my very first college class.  Reality has hit.  I'm here for real.  Frosh orientation is thankfully over.  It seemed so silly.  I guess we are stuck with wearing these horrible beanies for a few days yet. I really hated the silly games we had to play during orientation.  Who thought we would like to play "Pass the orange under your chin to the guy behind you."  That, and high school, are all behind me now.  I have actually matriculated.  How's that for using a real college word?  I have my college map, and I know where Bru-Inn is.  I'll get a coke there after class.  Maybe I will make a new friend or two at the student center, but it is a bit scary to walk in by myself.  Maybe my roommate will meet me.  Thankfully, she and I are walking to our first classes together.

I belong here.  It took some doing.  I won the scholarship which is paying my tuition.  I convinced my father that I would make good on the investment he is making in my future.  Seventy dollars a quarter is covered by the tuition scholarship I won.  The board and room of $150 a quarter will partially be paid by the salary I will make working in the dining hall two meals a day.  I worked all summer to buy my clothes and help pay for books.  I know this is a sacrifice for my parents, but I am working and helping all I can.  

I will be a teacher.  I am here to prepare for that profession.  I'm not in any hurry to get married.  I will someday, but not now.  I want to be independent.  I want to rely on my own ability to make my way in this life.  

Later, when the preparation for a profession is done, and I have met the right person, I want to marry. I want to teach after I am married, but I also want five kids.  That means I hope to also have house, a garden, a place where my children and children after them will come for family dinners when they are grown.  I have my future all planned out.

The vision from those long ago days wasn't too far off.
The vision served as a blueprint for the decisions I made as I moved into the future.
I accomplished those goals.
Life has sent me many curves along the way.
Certainly, I never saw many of them coming, 
in the end,
if today were the end,
I'm happy with my life.
I've lived this wild and precious life well.

Read the posts from other Vashonistas at:
DJan at D-Janity
Jann at Benchmark 60