Friday, July 11, 2014

"When You Come to a Fork, Take It"

Yogi Berra is remembered as much for his "Yogiisms" as for his distinguished career in Major League Baseball: sayings such as "It ain't over till it's over" and "You can observe a lot by watching." One of my favorites is: "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Lately I've been coming upon lots of little forks in the road of my daily life, opportunities to do activity A or activity B. Should I accept a new friend's invitation to go with her on a Saturday morning to the farmers' market in downtown Roanoke, or devote the day to writing my chapter book? Which chapter book: should I be working on my spelling bee book or on my third Nora-with-the-ant-farm book, both with looming due dates? Should I go with my friend Rachel to Williamsburg (on the other side of the state) for opening night of Julius Ceasar, where her son worked on the set in summer stock? Or use the time to catch up on some work before two girlfriends from our University of Maryland days descend on us for a delicious reunion?

Inspired by Yogi Berra, rather than trying to decide which tine of the fork I should take, these days I'm trying to find a way to take the whole fork. Which one should I do? Both!

The farmers' market/writing choice was really a no-brainer. Get real, Miss Claudia! You already know that an hour a day of writing is plenty! Write for your hour, write HARD for your hour, and then head off to buy South Carolina peaches (so good!) and have a Bloody Mary with lunch in the courtyard of a Creole restaurant. With the book writing: the spelling bee book is shorter and due sooner, and I was stuck on the other one, anyway. So I'll do both, but first this one, then that one. For this weekend's fun, I'm so glad I decided to do all of it. I had a 30-hour jaunt to Williamsburg where I saw beautiful scenery in Shenandoah National Park, walked in the rain down Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg with my author friend Brenda who lives in the area, had dinner with Brenda and my wife-and-husband librarian friends Noreen and Alan, saw the play (focusing as much on the ingenious set as on the famous speeches), and am now back at Rachel's house awaiting the arrival of our friends Robin and Lori. As for the work I meant to do, it will get done. Work always does. In fact, I might take a few whacks at it right now.

When in doubt, do both. While no one wants a life that is uncomfortably crammed, I want to err on the side of saying yes to it all, stuffing each day full of joy, love, and beauty. Just about all of my regrets from the first sixty years have been not for things I did, but for things I didn't do. In Act III of my life, I want to grab the whole fork and eat my way through the full buffet of the glorious possibilities laid out before me in this, my one and only life.

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