Friday, January 03, 2014

The Remains of the Day

The evening's the best part of the day. You've done your day's work. 
Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.  
The Remains of the Day

Sunset over Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Rangeley, Maine
Twice in the past few days The Remains of the Day has been on some obscure channel, way up the dial from the regulars that I peruse on any given day.  I've watched it both times, although I only caught the end each time.  I read the book when it first came out and loved it--reveled in the beautiful unveiling of character, the slow, deep contemplation of life.  Looking back on it, though, I don't think I really understood what Ishaguru was trying to say.  1989 was a long time ago.  A few lifetimes ago really.  Then, I had all the energy and ambition of a thirty-something single woman, devoted to her work and her family.  Most of my life was very focused on one geographic location.  I had no idea then how my life and my horizons would expand on almost every level within the next few years:

  • 1991--quit my job, go back to school at UNH to work on my PhD, join NEYE (orchestra), begin to travel the world (China-Thailand-Singapore tour)
  • 1992--move to Brunswick, Maine to be Kaitie and Christopher's nanny, continue to travel the world with NEYE (Egypt, South Africa, Jordan, Israel), play in Carnegie Hall numerous times
  • 1993--move to Boston, take job at GBA
  • 1996--continue world travels to England and Russia, begin work as recruiter/fundraiser
  • 1998--go to Russia again
  • 1999--take spontaneous long weekend trip to Paris
  • 2002--take a Western Caribbean cruise
  • 2004--take writing course in Aix-en-Provence
  • 2005--explore Norway with family, become principal of GBA, take seniors to Peru on a mission trip
  • 2010--move to Phoenix to "just" teach
  • 2012--go to the Grand Canyon for the first of several times, take on administrative responsibilities at TAA
  • 2013--go to Zambia for mission trip, take a cross-country road trip
Sunset outside my back patio
Now, today, I hardly know what it is like to come home at the end of the day and put my feet up.  That is until a couple of days ago when I purchased a rocker/recliner and was literally able to put my feet up at the end of the day.  It was an extraordinarily indulgent feeling, one I've not been familiar with, one I could grow accustomed to. Except that would mean my work is actually done at the end of a day...when in reality, it seems as if it's never done.  Even now, as I sit here writing this, there are so many other things I should be doing--including work.  And the question comes, can I really afford to indulge in what remains of the day?

Sunset over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
One of my academy schoolmates passed away this morning.  I remember her as a quiet, gentle soul.  One who was so kind and soft-spoken.  It had been many years since I had seen her when I got a call from her a year or so after I moved to Phoenix.  Turns out her mother lived very near where I was teaching and she was here, visiting her.  We met at a school program and enjoyed some conversation.  We said we'd have to get together more often now that we were in the same area again.  I never saw her after that.  Life got busy for me and she got cancer.   And now she's gone.  The lights have gone down for her,  her work is done, and she has put up her feet and is resting.  I, on the other hand, have daylight remaining.  I am determined to make the most of it before I, too, put my feet up and enjoy the evening.


Christy Woolum said...

We were just discussing this film after we saw Saving Mr. Banks and remembering Emma Thompson roles. I loved this post and your pictures are spectacular,

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