Several years ago my husband and I moved to Arkansas with the intention of retiring there, but sometimes intentions collide with reality. Our Retirement Plan A crashed when unforeseen medical issues led us back to Texas.
Rick and I shared four and one half years in the forests and mountains of the Natural State, experiencing the inspiring beauty and relentless wrath of nature. In those woods I found pieces of myself I didn’t know existed, and unearthed passions I could have only dreamed.
The forest captured my heart, stirring instincts I’d never acknowledged, and inner strength I didn’t know I possessed as I surrendered preconceived notions to her mossy floors, and released the burden of loss into the canopy of her open arms.
Unity with the earth blossomed as I followed the umbilicus between us, and when I fell in love with my garden, I began a second blog at WordPress: Aunt-Bea-Me was born.
Growing up was not Mayberry-eske but the delightful Aunt Bea character in the television series of the old Andy Griffith show was the stuff of my fantasies. She was sensible and silly at the same time. She was consistent. You could count on her for everything from a fried chicken dinner to common sense. She laughed a lot and was never pretentious.
When the world was too harsh, I pulled Aunt Bea from the recesses of my mind and looked to her for comfort. As an adult, Arkansas became my Aunt Bea.
Rick and I have been back in Texas for four years. Texas is more than my state, it is the root on which I planted my seeds. Once again I am living in the garden of my children, and am deeply blessed by their love and attention. Surprisingly, I find my voice much stronger than before. I have grown into an opinionated old bird and lost any fear I might have harbored along the way.
I’ve toughened with the times.
Months ago I considered abandoning the Aunt-Bea-Me blog, but before I made a final decision I did a little research on Frances Bavier, the actress who played Aunt Bea. I was surprised. Ms. Bavier grew tired then aggravated with the role assigned her; it turns out she and Mr. Griffith were never really friends. They were much more adversarial than I could have imagined. Ms. Bavier said she felt she no longer existed as an individual because people associated her with a single role she played.
She admitted to having a love/hate relationship with the character Aunt Bea; so in an effort to break away from something that seemed to own her, she shifted directions to save herself. Ms. Bavier began to isolate herself from the world through a long, lonely process of withdrawal, and in 1989 she died alone. In the presence of a dozen plus cats and a rundown dirty home, Frances Bavier made her escape.
My decision was made.
Life’s amazing whirlwind sweeps us to corners or to the middle of the room. Frances Bavier chose a corner. I’ve moved closer to the middle of the room myself. The fantasy of a dear, sweet Aunt Bea carried me through many a storm, but the reality of Frances Bavier’s life reminds me today that isolation can overtake the spirit if it stays too long in a corner.
My Aunt-Bea-Me blog is coming down.
It has served me well and I have enjoyed the sanctuary it provided, but the time to move away from my safe space has long passed, and I am moving on.
Because time is precious. And because there is a season for all things.
It’s never goodbye, just “catch you later!”
You can catch me anytime you want at ittyMac.wordpress.com