The Known and Unknown

Everyone kept asking me all summer, “How are you enjoying your retirement?” My answer was always the same, “It really hasn’t begun yet.” My summers are my summers. I rest, read, write, and bake. It’s what I do. What will be different is when the school year cranks up, I will no longer be on that bus. After thirty plus years of teaching, I won’t be at the first back-to-school breakfast. My room is no longer my room. Romeo and Juliet will be in the competent hands of another. My yearbook staff is not my staff. The reality of it all is beginning to settle in my bones. I am retired. It is a strange, scary, and exhilarating feeling.

So today in honor of my first “official day of retirement” I made two pies, apple and cherry. The apple pie is an old stand by. I can see the recipe in my head, but I usually still glance at it so I won’t forget an important step or ingredient. The cherry is a new one I found online. The crust is a variant on my usual Martha Stewart. In fact, the bottom is a totally different recipe from the top. The cook who wrote the blog stated, “The bottom crust is like a shortbread cookie and the top crust is light and flaky.” Each pie is unique yet familiar. 

The apple is for what I know. It is the plain and simple. It is the journey where I have experienced every step and each stop. I acknowledge the smells. As I peel each apple, I meditate on the conventional, the customary, the ordinary beauty of a pie fresh out of the oven. I can taste each bite. 

The cherry is for the unknown. It is the path not taken, the journey not yet begun. I will recognize the tartness of the cherries, although I have no real concept of the crust. I do have a notion it will be curious and even a bit strange to the palate. I’m not sure what to expect.

Both of these pies will be snuck into book club tonight...a special contraband. My group of fabulous women who love to discuss books will get a taste of my labors. I won’t be hurt if they don’t like the taste of one or the other. That’s okay. Life is like that. 

So these pies are like my life at the moment, full of knowns and unknowns. It is an expedition down conventional trails and up wild mountainsides, but I do know there will be pie. There’s always pie.

And for the question, “How are you enjoying your retirement?” I’ll let you know....