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I awoke with this dream:

It is late afternoon. I wander around a hilly wooded estate. Beneath the milky sky winter’s austerity deepens my melancholy as I kick piles of leaves that litter the path. Stringy sweet potato vines spill over the sides of a cobalt blue planter and trail along the ground. I’m dismayed to discover the leaves are heavy, molten together. Exhausted, I head toward the great house and one of the bedrooms. I huddle beneath the comforter. No one is around.

 In the dream I have little energy that mirrors ILD, a terminal lung condition I’ve had for several years; the late afternoon suggests its duration and perhaps the length of time I can expect before passing.

Images of death abound. What had been a greening woods filled with bird trills, insects, squirrels and rabbits have been silenced by killing frosts; burnt beyond recognition are leaves of sweet potato vines and tree debris languishing in wind-tossed piles. No warmth to warm my body. No moisture to soothe the scarred lung tissue.

I am alone. Rage crimps my psyche, eviscerates change. How water this acutely dry condition? How restore urgently needed color? I need help.

Then I remember. “In my Father’s house, there are many rooms…” I’ve been welcomed here before. Again, someone in the estate has made my oversized bed, for sleep, for more dreams and more direction, one day at a time—and the rains do come, despite shortness of breath and weakness and fatigue.

 

 

My inner child giggled with this morning’s dream:

 I happened upon a field of plump blueberries ripening in the sun.

 So lets talk about blueberries.

Blueberries, known to have the highest antioxidant capacity (flavonoids) of all the popular fruits and vegetables; blueberries, folded within many pastries and breads for delectable munchies; blueberries, stewed for jams and jellies; blueberries enjoyed upon unsweetened yogurt—the list could go on, and does.

Blueberries also block free radicals from compromising our immune systems, counter memory loss, enhance heart and digestion functions, and minimize arthritis.

So the image of blueberries mirrors my Dreamer’s total nurturance and protection; it counters nasty eruptions with the grace of living, breath by breath, with terminal illness. Still another day passes, this one, sweetened by plump blueberries that still linger in my psyche.

 

 

 

Such is the perspective of Leah Friedman, octogenarian author of this slim book of essays that is available on Amazon; its sepia photo of a framed drying bulb, one taken by her, portends to the richness found on each page.

Through the lens of seasoned wisdom, she counters the strictures of ageism with anecdotes from her kaleidoscopic life as an academic, wife, mother, widow, grand- and great-grandmother, photographer, author, lecturer, friend. Beneath them, stirs a vibrant and inquisitive spirit, because of which her aging readers readily identify with her. In unvarnished words she lays out the terrain of her sixties, seventies, and eighties, each with their tasks and challenges, not without losses and unexpected surprises. Referencing poets, psychologists, and theologians nuances her impressions within a larger frame.

An adept with life-long change, she can now say, “On one level I am awaiting my demise, while at a deeper level I am continually in the process of discovering who I really am.”

 

Available on Amazon

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