Last year I got a  flock of chickens. In retrospect, to commit myself to care for living beings while the love of my life was dying, was a risky enterprise. At the same time, it was a necessary act, an affirmation that the catastrophe visited upon us  would not permanently wither my heart. My beloved was very much in favor of my decision. He  wanted me to savor countless  joys for myself and for him. Watching the day-old peeps grow into pullets delighted him. It reassured him that I would have  something he was about to lose–continuity.

Throughout the year, I endured many losses. A raccoon broke into a temporary coop and slaughtered several of the chickens. My adorably eccentric old cat died. Though these may seem to be tiny dramas, they loomed large in my world. I did not know than that they were but a dress rehearsal for the greater tragedy–the death of the man who had been my friend, my lover, my family, my source of passion and joy.

How I traveled from that autumn to current one mystifies me. Old friends told me that they marveled at my strength. Oddly, I did not feel strong at all. In the privacy of my bedroom,  raged, I wept, I cursed fate. My body rebelled at so my much grief and sent distress signs I could not ignore. I had a couple of anxiety attacks that landed me in the emergency room. My glucose levels rose alarmingly.  Driving anywhere gave me–and still does–palpitations. Worst of all,  I became unable to read all but a few paragraphs at a time. Even now, much to my annoyance, my concentration flags after a short chapter, no matter how well written. My own writing become a dreaded chore. Entries in the blog where I used to publish book reviews dwindled to zero. Somewhere, somehow, I misplaced my life long  love for the written word. Two novels I had barely started continue to  languish. Correspondence is limited to short e-mail messages.

Lest this become  an endless jeremiad, I want this autumn to be a season of good beginnings. That is the reason for this new blog. I want to live up to the promise I made to my beloved–I want to  be happy for both of us. I want to leave evidence of  my passage through a world that still imbues  individual experiences with a certain universality. So much of I experience goes unrecorded because I tend to think that my life is too ordinary.I want to challenge that assumption. No life is ordinary.   I want this blog to be a modest signpost to the extraordinary uniqueness of being alive, of surviving  grief and moving on  to joy.  Ideally,  want it to be a modern equivalent of Neolithic images that say, “I was here, I was present in my own life.” Unlike those who painted aurochs  on rock walls, I have this miracle, the internet.  I understand that nothing ever vanishes from cyberspace, so it is possible that a century from now someone will stumble upon my blog entries and learn that essentially, I was not that much different from his contemporaries–yet I was, as every human being is, ordinary and unique at the same time.