Sunny day. Good coffee. Office window open to the breeze. Coop at my side. Sunday media, in which I am no longer complicit after 40-years of toil, a mouse click — or not — away.
I have been on leave since December, but tomorrow is the first real day of my new status
. I cheated on my wooden sailing boat calendar, turning it ahead on the last day of May to June. The new photograph is of a beautiful English-built ketch, gaff-rigged with fore and top sails, close hauled, rail under, but sliding smoothly through blue chop in a stiff breeze off the south coast of France.
I got a little wistful remembering my modest retirement plan. This boat will remain out of reach. But I can still dream. The plan for now is to stay home and sail away at my keyboard.
I scan the New York Times, New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal, my stable for 33 years. Beau Biden, son of the vice president and reportedly an all-around good guy, died yesterday of brain cancer at 46. Islamic State is making gains in Libya, in addition to Syria and Iraq. Poverty, education and mental health issues weave through New Mexico stories. A 28-year-old hard case in Albuquerque, accused of killing a police officer last week, complains on a Facebook page that life has not treated him fairly.
I still my jerking knee, tell myself not to wade back in. I am still too close to my career to see it entirely. I was learning right up to the end and many answers are still at sea. And, this morning, the only thing I want to rush into is a lazy day.
I am encouraged by the reading of a PET scan last week of my now-heavily radiated and chemically attacked lung cancer. Surgery is still up in the air, but doctors say the scan looked good and there is a 40 to 60 percent chance that I am “cured” now. I’ll get a little more chemo, but this is good news a few months after diagnosis and treatment.
I am tired of being bogged down by health concerns. My energy has slowly returned, and I feel close to my former self even as my clock ticks to 66. I am ready for the day in shorts and t-shirt and a snootful of French roast. Joints and wind might argue otherwise, but I don’t feel like 65.