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Notes to Self … Re: Letting It All Go

By Peter Anderson

You could begin with everything in the house: the phones, the tools, appliances, the knick-knacks, the paintings on the wall. Clear out all the piles of paper – bills, tax returns, term papers written in graduate school, back issues of obscure magazines and journals. Take all your books to the library. Give all the furniture to Goodwill, all the old canned goods to the soup kitchen, all the old tools to Habitat for Humanity. Get rid of anything that needs to be plugged in. Make your will. Leave the kids what they will need to get started. Give the rest to all the good causes that live in your mailbox.


You have already abandoned your youthful dreams – remember when you wanted to live in a lighthouse? You have criss-crossed the country a dozen times, seen the backside of the all-night raves, said goodbye to your peaking sex drive. Your demise is no longer a distant horizon line. Soon you will say goodbye to your last parent – welcome to the cosmic orphanage. Before long, you will see the backside of your youngest as she goes off to live her own life.

This could get gloomy, but it doesn’t have to. If you play the hand that’s dealt you, you no longer have to worry what anyone else thinks, no longer have to question decisions you made decades ago, and you can unload the freight of all those lingering ghosts who haunted your head on thousands of sleepless nights. Now you are a lightweight traveler in a new country and all you have to worry about is the moment at hand which, in this case, involves a ruby-throated hummingbird that has zipped in through an open door and imprisoned itself in your sunroom. It is poking its beak at the invisible and incomprehensible barrier that is your plate glass window. So you wrap a cloth around the bird, cup this seemingly weightless puff of feathers in your hands, release it into the open air, and watch it trail off until you can’t see it anymore. Isn’t this what you wanted all along? 

Peter Anderson recently retired from teaching in order to become a full time word wrangler. He lives in Crestone.