29 April 2024


My life of being gainfully employed is almost over. The extension I had agreed on last November will be completed by the end of this month. That's two days. In a bit I am going to cycle there for one last time to hand over my mobile phone and some data files and whatnots. I wanted to bake a cake for my colleagues but we only had one egg left last night, so tough luck. It's all over now.

Now, when I wake up I have to first tell myself what day of the week it actually is. I am discovering that I can slow down, that I can take my time. I am a knitter and I go for the complicated patterns that involve a lot of colours and a lot of counting and checking and rechecking. When I make a mistake, a tiny one, I sometimes used to ignore it, even it out with a slip here and there in the next row. Who cares, I would think. And: oriental carpets, the hand made ones, always have errors in their patterns. That way they can be recognised as originals. Once I was told by an old woman in a small village in the Ida mountains in western Turkey, these errors are proof that only Allah is perfect. But now, I have time and I go back and redo the row, unravel a whole section with one small mistake right at the start. No rush. But no need to be perfect.

I watched a long Terence Malick film without getting impatient. That's a first. We make elaborate plans for day trips, walks, swimming in cold water lakes and hot water springs, museums, galleries, Flemish cities across the border, the North Sea coast three hours drive away. And then we stay at home, get lost in the garden, make a pot of tea, listen to the news, talk with the neighbours, cycle a while along the river in the fading light at the end of the day. 


It's been cold and we had two nights of frost. This vine has got a touch of it but we hope it will recover. My father-in-law brought it back from the US many years ago, a gift from one the distant emigrant cousins. He nursed and pampered it in his greenhouse in Ireland and when the house was sold, R brought it here.


Meanwhile, mysterious stuff is going on inside our greenhouse.
While the vegetable patch is slowly coming along. The spuds survived the frost and the sugar snaps are up and climbing.
The colour theme this week is pink and purple.


Pixie said...

I think time is the greatest gift. Time to not rush. My husband had last week off, he had to burn some vacation time, he looked rested by the end. It was nice to see.

I didn't know you were a knitter. I knit, nothing fancy and I have a terrible time reading patterns, but it's relaxing and seems to help my depression.

Your garden looks lovely; my own is probably at least a month behind yours but that's normal.

Enjoy your time:)

ellen abbott said...

I've been retired for some years now and I still do that, remind myself what day of the week it is when I wake up.

the Navaho have a story guarding against perfectionism (which I struggled with most my life) about Spiderwoman wanting to weave the perfect rug. she worked night and day ignoring all her other chores and responsibilities until the rug was finished and she was nowhere to be found. she had been embedded in the rug until someone pulled a thread creating a mistake which allowed her to escape. All Navaho weavings now have an intended mistake in the pattern. the Navaho tell the story better and when I read it it was like an epiphany. I've learned to accept small blemishes in a finished piece, whatever it is I'm doing, knowing no one will ever see it but me. doesn't mean I don't go back and correct big mistakes or that I don't work on something until it's the best I can do. I just no longer think I can achieve perfection. which is good, less stress. and isn't a flower with a damaged petal still perfect? (this may end up on my blog.)

Ms. Moon said...

So often "imperfection" is just a difference. We humans are so funny when it comes to the concept of perfection.
Your garden is going to be amazing. I love how organized and set-up everything is. Dare I say that to my eyes, it is...perfection?

am said...

Every year I look forward to seeing the garden you and R share. I'm curious to know which Terence Malick film you watched. I may not have ever watched one without learning about his films from you. I'm ready to watch another one. I'm also curious about the vine that came from the U.S. to Ireland to Germany.

I'm recalling that in the past you showed photos here of your colorful knitting. Would love to see more now that you will have more time for knitting.

My mistakes are the best part of my art work. They challenge me, showing me that I am not in control of the creative process. Mistakes have been my teachers.

Sabine said...

The Terrence Malick film was A Hidden Life, based on the life of Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter, an Austrian farmer who refused to fight for the Nazis in WW II.

Barbara Rogers said...

Welcome to the other side of employment. Doesn't mean you stop being productive, and perhaps even sell or trade something in exchange for things you want. A friend recently retired and her main difficulty was that her life suddenly wasn't structured/organized. So she made her own structure, but some days she'll text and say, I don't have anything to do right now. What bliss. I think bliss time is important too. Your plants all look so lovely, but I also want to know what the vine is...can't recognized it by looking, but wonder if it bears fruit.

am said...

Sabine -- Not sure where I heard about that one, if not from you. I watched it in the last few months. Was inspired to learn more about Franz and Franziska and their daughters.

Colette said...

This is such an exciting time of the year, all the flowers and veggies. Retirement is also an exciting time of life. It can be a bit confusing at first, learning to relax.

Bathwater said...

I keep hoping that I get to decide when I retire instead of the other way around. I have seven more years.