“Happy Birthday!” my friends cry gleefully as I manage to gather the corners of my lips into an “Oh” and extinguish the candles on my vegan death-by-chocolate layer cake.
Bob takes my hand and leads me next door to the property we purchased last year. I think I know what’s coming because we’ve been building fence, but nothing prepares me for my first glimpse of the gorgeous pair of middle-aged, languid-eyed bays. Their heads hang eagerly over the new wooden fence, obviously spoiled and looking for treats. I run my hand along their glossy necks, inhaling their horsiness.
Everyone gasps and claps their hands. Looks like my dream of a retirement riding stable has just come true. No wonder Lyle’s been putting extra work into the trails. The neighborhood kids run for the fence, reaching up to feel the velvet muzzles and turn to me expectantly. “Riding lessons for everyone!” I laugh, “Starting tomorrow!”
Chatham Park had been a game-changer when it roared into action with the development of nearly eight thousand acres in our back yards. Like many others, we rode the crest of that bow wave right into retirement. We begin drawing social security payments later this year, and plan on keeping our hands in neighborhood business. It comforts us to know that when we’re too old to totter from bedroom to kitchen, we can sell our land and move to that lovely retirement community in town.
Bob and I stand on our back porch, fireflies twinkling in the woods, calling out good night to our neighbors as they wander off towards their homes. “They’re a great bunch,” I say, rounding up stray dishes. “We’ve made a good life for ourselves,” Bob notes, balling up tablecloths and folding our potluck tables. We light our bedside lamps, close the shades, fire up a stick of incense. “Yeah, well – I’m afraid I’m going after another piece of cake.” “Me too, I want one too!”
Sitting at my desk with my indulgence, I think back to that dark day January 20th, 2017 when the swearing in of the 45th president of the United States brought tears to my eyes. I hadn’t seen then how his taking a sledge hammer to the asphalted-in policies of capitalism would shake things up to the point that real change could grow up between the cracks.
Now, with our first woman president and VP Bernie Saunders, policies are geared towards preservation of our abundant natural resources, humanity toward man and beast, and equal rights for all. It’s been dreamy watching them dismantle the military-industrial machine, pouring dollars into education and health care. Global trade has dwindled, shrinking our world to human-scale. Local government has shrunk, giving counties and towns more sovereignty, and even here in podunk-ville, USA we’ve legalized marijuana and banned GMO’s.
We are rich and have been for a long time, thanks to our sweet circle of friends. Chocolate melting on my tongue, I close my eyes and see our future glowing ahead. It is everything I ever hoped for and much, much more