Recycle your Possibilities

Recycle your Possibilities!   Driving along our favorite and irresistible highway–California’s Route 1 along the Pacific coast we passed a hiker bearing those words on a he-man backboard sign explaining in three simple words his purpose for trekking along this route. We drove past him climbing a steep uphill road. He was needless to say, walking slowly, reserving his strength and waving to passersby.

It makes you wonder about his story and choices in life, propelling him to devise a hike for all to witness. What conversations he must share when he has company trekking alongside or heads off road for a snack break, a meal, or night’s sleep in his sleeping bag and tent. What an adventure. But then again, isn’t that life? Seeking a new direction, healing, adventure, change, choice, struggle, hopefully with the support of others who care.

An oft recited cliche states that people typically make an average of seven career changes in a lifetime. That was said well before the electronic age now providing finger-tip opportunities for research, outreach and choices. I have had the experience of making choices and investigating new opportunities, but never imagined them in terms of recycling. For me, the first thoughts that come to mind when I seeing the word recycling are the obvious matters of dealing with material goods; discardables, electronics and the like. But the concept of recycling possibilities raises a whole new connection beyond the stuff we acquire. It is the stuff of life that matters the most, our emotional and intellectual well being. When I think of the hiker’s terminology, Recycling Your Possibilites, I play the Alphabet Soup game, turning it into RYP or ripe. Ripe for new direction and fresh thinking. 
I recall grabbing all of my strength and resources to cope with family members or friends behaviors in directions away from expectations, accepting the loss of dear friends at young ages, their divorces, and other happenstance that came their way, What difficulty I had coping with the loss of my father at the young age of 71, my mother’s sudden onset of cancer.  Spiritual healing often became a big issue.  I remain in constant need to rethink my expectations and goals and learn to understand and accept who I am and to try to “be there” for others who need support and understanding. I am sure I am not alone in this quest.
This is another chance for interaction with my readers. I have in the past asked you to share book titles you have enjoyed, share photographs or other ideas. I seek feedback on what RYP recalls to your minds, to share your interpretation of the three words. Meanwhile, I hope this has been a pathway to food for thought, a chance sighting of a hiker with a purpose and has spurred thoughts for you to recall and to share. 

Not at This Address

Our rig was perched in a campsite high above the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean. Our mail-forwarded package arrived on time (from our address in Texas.) Following our usual routine, Paul opened the large envelope and scanned through the mail that included most of usual items; magazines, bills, updates of accounts, Medical reports, agency and organizational letters and brochures (“tree-killing hard copies that we beg companies and agencies to only send via email.  (They don’t always honor those requests) and a few other items. A letter addressed by hand was included at our address. My name, Carol was quite legible, the last name was illegible and we never checked it and it was routinely slit open. The return address was an address in Denver  (no name, a place that we have visited and have acquaintances.) Paul nicely placed it on the table for my reading. 


Indeed I did remove the letter to read. It was beautifully written by hand, double sided on white lined paper measuring approximately 5″ x  8.” Every line was filled to the final word, lacking a signature. However the author’s name was contained several times in the text. I was compelled to finish the letter, even though I did not recognize the name nor the woman or her situation. She poured out her heart to the intended recipient; thanking her profusely for her cards, letters, caring hugs and love over 2-3 years and apologizing for the belated response and for the slightly shaky handwriting, due to her MS and other health complications. As I mentioned, I thought the handwriting to be beautiful and flowing with a hint of quiver. 

Needless to say, I was in tears by the time I read the final words. First of all for her life story and second of all, because I felt like a voyeur, an intruder. At that point I looked harder at the front of the envelope. Our address was correct but the letter was indeed intended for another client of the mail forwarding service. Again, the first name was legible, the last name indecipherable. I placed the opened letter in another envelope with a note to the forwarding service to PLEASE PLEASE determine the correct box number and forward this letter to the intended recipient. I placed it on the dashboard to mail in the morning. 


The next morning came and we prepared for our departure to visit our wonderful son and family in LA. That means carrying lots of stuff to the toad re;tow car or Jeep (purse, cameras, totes, promised paper goods and food items and the letter. Paul pulled up to the mail box and lo and behold, we could not find the letter. I know it was in my hands getting into the car. I was sure it was on the rig, therefore we would mail it this evening upon our return. What a great day as everyday is with our kids. Back to the rig late at night, the letter was not on the dashboard. 

I was devastated. How could I make sure the recipient knew what a difference she had made in this woman’s life. A life of pain, disease, dialysis, late onset of that horrible mid life disease  MS, wheel chair bound and loved by many people like the letter’s author. I had a hard night getting to sleep. The next morning we prepared  once again to drive into LA. As we packed the car our neighbor from the rig next door addressed Paul, wheeling himself towards us in his wheel chair. He handed us the letter that he had found near his Porsche. As you can imagine, I thanked him over and over again. Yes, he is disabled but extremely independent, strong and always smiling. Another neighbor mentioned that this man refuses any help, gets along very well and does indeed drive a Porsche. 

I ached to relate to him the irony of the letter that he rescued, another person with a life story of suffering, pain and overcoming hardship. However, I was not sure it was appropriate and we had a schedule to meet. My heart was singing. When we said our goodbyes to him on departure day we promised to see each other in the same spot next year as he is a long term resident of the campground overlooking the Pacific. We hope to spend more time that visit in the campsite and have time to get better acquainted. Maybe  next year, I will tell him the story of the rescued letter.  Days later, I still think of our neighbor and his great self sufficiency and of the woman in Denver pouring out her heart to a recipient whom I hope and pray will receive the letter, a little late, a little battered, but whole and heartfelt. And to you dear readers, thank you for reading this longer than usual Message in a Minute and letting me pour out my heart. 

Descent

Descent; descending; going down; it is all downhill from here. Reaching your low, down and under, all cliches that come to mind when thinking of simply going downward. But, I am thinking in simpler, physical terms. Our last week was spent camping in our rig in the mountains of southern California in Jojoba Hills, an SKP co-op park sitting 2200 feet above sea level, Our purpose, to audition” a possible location to call our western base. Besides our Rochester apartment, our Eastern base is our son’s and family’s wonderful farm nestled in a hollow in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia–altitude, 1250′ above sea level.

The location of Jojoba Hills is glorious and the membership so caring and friendly that we are now #18 on the waiting list for a lot of approximately 50′ x 70′ with views to raise your spirits and offering every amenity, class, activity, volunteer opportunity to fill a life time. Today, we tore ourselves away from the mountain refuge to spend a wonderful holiday–Pesach in Los Angeles with our other son and family. That is where the descent comes in.

I am presently looking through the windshield staring at the Pacific Ocean, vast, swift and beautiful. We are in Malibu Beach at about 12′ above sea level. The views are still breathtaking, the sea winds match the sweetness of the mountain breezes, the air is fresh if not a bit misty. The only problem is the relentless drought that has the Southwest in its tight grip (and of course, dense traffic.)

It is hard not to be grateful for the beauty of our planet and our common voices expressing disdain for the environmental problems, social behaviors, wars and conflicts that plague our world. Let us not fall into the pit and hit bottom, Working together (Utopian I know) we can return to the heights and breath the truly fresh air and see the stars in all of their glory.