Sap Rising


March 20, 2015 by Jean

maple syrupAs the days get longer, the snow begins to melt, and the sap rises in the sugar maple trees, I find that my enthusiasm for getting out, doing things and meeting people is also rising. Last week, I went out to a movie with my friend Anne on Sunday, went to a lecture at the McLaughlin Garden on Wednesday, and met my friend Jan for breakfast on Friday. This week, my W.O.W. retiree group met for lunch and a book discussion on Monday, I gave a talk on garden blogs as part of the McLaughlin Garden’s winter lecture series on Wednesday, and planned a trip to Portland to visit with my friend Joyce on Friday.

Beginning next week, I’m going to be adding two scheduled activities to my weekly calendar. My Senior College course on “Forests and Fields of Maine” begins on Friday and will meet every Friday afternoon for six weeks. On the spur of the moment, I also added a Thursday activity when I received an email from the Portland Public Library announcing a new “creative aging” program, a 10-week free vocal workshop. The announcement described the program this way:

Participate in exploring a variety of musical genres, with lots of laughing, and time for coffee and socializing as well. Meet your neighbors, learn (or re-learn) to sing with abandon, and reap the benefits of adding texture, connection, and years to your life.

I did a lot of singing early in my life. I sang a solo for my kindergarten’s end-of-year program for parents and was regularly called on by my first-grade teacher to stand at the front of the class and lead the singing of rounds. Later, I sang in the church choir. In high school, I sang in the glee club, performed in the production of “Oklahoma!”, and did occasional vocal performances as part of a trio I formed with friends. In college, I sang in the chorus and also in a smaller choral group. But once I graduated from college, my participation in formal singing ended. I’ve missed it, and I’ve been aware that my vocal skills have deteriorated for lack of practice. As soon as I saw this announcement, I knew this program was for me and I registered immediately by return email.

Both the Senior College class and the vocal workshop should provide  opportunities to meet new people. The McLaughlin Garden events have also turned out to be a great way to get to know people with shared interests. I’m heeding the lesson of my friend Atsuko’s gift for developing a diverse array of friendships from different parts of her life (see A Community of Caring).

For the past several months, I’ve felt like a bear who just wanted to hibernate. Now, with the (literal and metaphorical) sap rising, I’m up and awake and ready to leave my den and get out to explore this new world of retirement.

10 thoughts on “Sap Rising

  1. You are indeed busy Jean….I applaud you as I still am hibernating not sure what i want to be involved in yet. I haven’t found anything of great interest yet. And a friend who I was getting together with is dealing with her mom’s health issues as I have been. So we are both on hold a bit right now. I am hoping to add a monthly day trip as the weather warms. But you still inspire me.

    • Jean says:

      Donna, Having the weather get a little warmer has made a big difference for me. I just feel more energetic. I was trying to do a monthly day trip last summer and fall, and I’d also like to get back to that as spring arrives.

  2. Stacy Moore says:

    I’m glad you’re finding such satisfying things to do during your retirement, Jean! The mix of things sounds lovely–I hope the vocal workshop is a great return to an old love. My brother retired from teaching this year, too, and is just now beginning to stretch out into the experience and explore possibilities. He was caring for my sister-in-law through a terminal illness for the first months, so things are different for him, but I still sense that he would have needed a while to find his “sea legs” in an ocean of free time.

    I remember the forecaster for Vermont Public Radio once talking about the “strong February sun” in a year when the weather had been subzero for weeks and stayed that way well into March. But he was talking about deeper seasonal changes–things fixin’ to prepare to wake up again. I think about that sometimes when that hunger to start stretching out a little begins to stir. Enjoy the sap rising!

    • Jean says:

      Stacy, LOL, “things fixin’ to prepare to wake up again” is a great description of where we are now. Even though our temperatures are still below average for this time of year, they aren’t as far below average as they were in February, and we’ve had some days in March that have had temperatures above average. Most importantly, it now gets above freezing on most days, and that has made a big difference. Today I went out to do some errands and was amazed at how much bare ground was showing just a few miles from my house.

  3. Diana Studer says:

    sing, yes – nothing like that companionship of singing together in a choir!

  4. Jean R. says:

    Spring has lifted a lot of spirits this year in particular, I think. I’m glad you have found some inspiring things to do. I love the idea of a singing workshop! I was trying to sing along with the radio in the car the other day and realized how rusty I’ve gotten over the years. I would imagine the workshop could even improve all over health by increasing lung power.

    The OLLI classes for seniors are such a blessing! The idea of taking classes just to learn without the pressure of tests is wonderful.

  5. William Saints Newspaper says:

    Reblogged this on The High Street Music Shop.

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

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