The best times of my life are held as snapshots in my mind. As one ages, reflection brings some to the fore.
Living outside the country town of Cooroy, in Queensland, Australia was a highlight. In pieces, we moved a house onto our five acres carved from the neighboring farm. After re-assembly, my husband did 95% of the renovations; I developed tennis elbow and carpal tunnel from sanding back doors and window frames. I had a “real” job where I was needed and wanted, and a home where the same was true. We were not rich but we managed and we were as happy as anyone might be.
There were geckos living in the attic. One gecko ventured down an outside wall to the welcoming paws of one of the cats. The cat missed the gecko, her leap for treasure ending with her landing in a bucket of turpentine. Cats do not like baths…
Later in life, a second step-family enriched my life beyond my imagination. I watched step-children who are, still, more friends than “children”, and their children grow and develop into remarkable human beings. Some of those snapshots are from family gatherings where the true sense of family came into reality, one Thanksgiving in particular, with most of us gathered at a table in the kitchen of one of the “children” (who was, perhaps 45 at the time), and a telephone call from the farthest flung.
And still later, as I sit in meditation and review the current status, I am filled with gratitude for what has been and what is: a home with cats, dogs, visiting grandchildren, a beautiful creek, farm animals nearby, and birds.
Birds, wildlife, and a sense of freedom from the trappings of a materialistic society are what I miss most from Australia. Lower wages there meant it took longer to buy what we wanted. A food processor cost more than my weekly paycheck, cars were a luxury, and decisions on purchases were carefully considered.
Each day, I try to recapture the feeling of freedom and awe. I try to carry that with me because it helps me to be whole.