Friday, October 25, 2013

When I'm 64... Like Today

When I woke up this morning the ground was covered in white. Kinda like me.

Of course, in the ground's case the hoar from our first hard frost will melt before noon. In my case, there's only going to be more white from here on out, excepting the bald spots.

I was up until midnight last night, producing a trifecta in the food processing kitchen. It's the end of the harvest and time to wrap up. Yesterday I made our final batch of tomatillo salsa, whipped up one last round of tomato salsa, and incubated tempeh for the first time in more than a year.

I was pushing it yesterday because today's my birthday and I wanted to clear my plate for half a day of celebration with Ma'ikwe. Given that: a) birthdays are an appropriate time for reflection; b) I'm 64; and c) I've always had a soft spot for whimsy, I've decided to play off Beatles lyrics for today's commentary...

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,

To be fair, I started early. I had a receding hairline by the time I was 30, and the amazing thing to me is that I have any hair left on top.

Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

After putting out lunch today and cleaning up (concluding my 24-hour cook shift that started yesterday), I'll head over to Dancing Rabbit and enjoy the rest of the day with Ma'ikwe and Jibran. In this case, Ma'ikwe will be my valentine and I'm sending myself to her. In addition, we will be imbibing unfermented fruit juice tonight as we continue our commitment to be alcohol free while in therapy. But that's quibbling. The right celebratory energy is there.

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,

While I rarely get home after midnight, Ma'ikwe likes to retire early and it's common for me to return to a dark house after a trip or a late date. Trying to make as little noise as possible, I brush my teeth and crawl into bed with my wife asleep. So far, knock on wood, she's never locked the door.

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

There's always been something off for me about that line, "will you still need me"—something a bit codependent. I want her, and I want her to want me, but "need" is tricky. I need honesty; I need support; I need understanding; I need love, but I don't think that Ma'ikwe has ever needed me in order for her to be a whole and vibrant person, and I'm not looking for that to change.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oooo
You'll be older too, (ah ah ah ah ah)
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

It's eerie how this is exactly where Ma'ikwe and I are at: the point of decision about whether she'll have me in her house. We'll be starting an experiment about that right after Thanksgiving (when I'm 64).

I could be handy mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.

As a homesteader with basic skills in wiring, there's no doubt I can mend a fuse (and perform myriad other household maintenance tasks). The question is whether I'm home enough to be reliable, and have enough maneuvering room on my dance card to get to the tasks in a timely way.

You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

While Ma'ikwe isn't a knitter; shes definitely a sitter, and we spend quite a little time on the sofa by the wood stove. So we're solid there. In the context of the car-conscious lifestyle at Dancing Rabbit, I think we can safely translate the Sunday morning ritual into a walk, rather than the recreational consumption of hydrocarbons.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

I've been together with Ma'ikwe for eight years now, during which time she's consistently projected herself as someone whose drawn to gardening as an Earth-centering practice and restorative ritual. While her health and other pressing priorities have often gotten in the way of her spending much time with her hands in the soil, I know this is a powerful association for her. Maybe, once we succeed in establishing a single household and get on top of our home improvement priorities, we can spend quality time in the dirt together. I can imagine it at least. I like the image of feeding each other.

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save

We definitely like vacations together, of which I have fond memories, including our last one in New Mexico in April. While the Isle of Wight is not a likely destination, we had a lovely time on Drummond Island in Lake Huron four years ago...  and it definitely requires some financial planning to make vacations happen.

Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

I have two grandkids now—Taivyn & Connor—with no immediate prospects for more. Thus, I have no idea where Vera, Chuck, and Dave will come from, but I'm fine with that. And while I like family members to be pro-active, I don't need anyone to be pro-creative on my account. 

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, Wasting Away.

While poetic, this is the weirdest stanza in the song. I aspire to be living in the same house with Ma'ikwe, not linked merely by postcards from the edge. To be fair, we do have a challenge staying well connected while I'm on the road (where skype offers more promise as a medium than the US Postal Service), and we're also working on more direct communication (aren't we all?), so there is some cogency to the lyrics.

For all of that though, the signature seems so passive and resigned that I can't relate to at all. Hmm, I've put on some weight over the years. Maybe if we adjust that to "waisting away" I could get behind it.

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

While Ma'ikwe and I have found epistolary exploration of our relationship dynamics to be especially potent, I can't see asking her to fill out a form with respect to an update on our prospects for long-term intimacy (unless this is an oblique reference to our marriage license six years ago). That part, which might be referred to as the $64 question we've asked each other a thousand times, will always be done face to face.


Whoo, indeed.

• • •
Here's the valentine that Ma'ikwe sent me this morning:

Dear Beloved Whats?band,

Happy 64th Birthday! And happy 8 years of flirts, fights, fucks, facilitation, funks, fun and food. Also freeze/thaw cycles... metaphorical and literal.

We're in an odd, odd place together, are we not? And yet birthdays keep happening, anniversaries come and go. I have no regrets about the journey, and am glad you goaded me into taking it seriously 8 Novembers ago when you asked me to marry you. The bottom line is I love you, admire the hell out of you and have been more stimulated by your presence in my life than nearly anyone else (and it is a fine, small club you are part of, even if you aren't the sole occupant.)

I'm glad you are coming over today and we'll get the afternoon and evening together. Other than cooking and snuggling, what would you like to do today?

Love, the Whats?ife

• • •
Did you notice that 64 is eight years times eight F's? It's a sign! Now all I have to do is puzzle out its meaning.

1 comment:

Lucas Moore said...

Life is the gift of god. Everyone want their life joyful.

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