In the twilight of my years (at least I surmise that I have reached that marker) I find that like a traveler on a path that has appeared only with each step, I cannot see beyond the place where each now is happening. Looking back these many years, I congratulate the Universe for not showing me where my steps were taking me before I got there. Had I known what was ahead, in some cases I would have eagerly anticipated that future and easily walked into it not being able to arrive fast enough. In other cases I would have wanted to drop my anchor and not taken another step in an effort to avoid what was coming. The former surprises brought me unimaginable joy; the latter surprises brought me unimaginable wisdom.

Traveling along this road which only appears as I move forward, I can notice the dust of the years settling step by step upon my shoes. It is the dust of a few dreams that died along the way. It is the dust of no regrets yet a desire to have known then what I know now. I often though how ironic it is to have not even begun to know how to be a parent to new born children until after they were grown. It is only in the doing that we learn what we need to know. My father loved to talk about bits of my babyhood emphasizing how I did not arrive with an instruction book. My father seemed to want to have children. He grew up in a large family as did my mother and that was very common back then in the early twentieth century. I know for a fact that my mother put her foot down about having any more children after she had given my father one daughter and one son. At times I sensed that the two of us were even two too many for her. How do I know this? Little pitcher have big ears as they say and so it went in my life. One had to be sneaky or sharp to know what was going on in the “grown-up” world. No one talked about things they did not want to discuss back then, even the things that should have been discussed or acknowledged. Putting my ear to my parents’ closed bedroom door I heard the no-more-children declaration from my mother’s own lips. Well, dang, there goes my chance to have a sister. I would have to settle for my pesky little brother. That’s another of those things I was glad to not be able to see ahead of time. My pesky little brother turned into a man I was proud to call brother, a man whom I admired and grew close to in the last few years of his life, a man who would be taken unexpectedly at age 42 with a heart attack. Yes, I did not see that one coming.

In spite of what I say now, I did indeed wonder about the future. I loved stories real or not about people, mostly women, who had a gift of seeing the future. My guess is that females seem to come with built-in, varying abilities to sense or intuit things whereas males have a more concrete approach to life. One of my favorite toys was the magic 8 ball. You ask a “yes” or “no” question then shake the ball and either yes or no would or other simple answers would float to the window of the ball. A more modern version of the magic 8 ball would be the use of a pendulum and that is not considered to be a toy per se. A vertical swing usually means “No”, a horizontal swing usually means “Yes”, and a circular movement means “Neutral”. Tea leaves readings, tarot cards, and other forms of deviation are still around. If those scare you, try fortune cookies. True confession time. I did try a Ouija board once but that’s another story. Suffice it to say I threw it in the fireplace planchette and all; but, that’s fodder for another story.

We are all curious creatures and want to know what the future holds. How many years will I live or how many children I will have or will I get that job I wanted? We have so many questions but do we really want to know all the answers ahead of time? Even if we thought we knew, we can still make different choices that will alter the odds and point our future in a different direction. It’s all a game of choice and chance. I’ll make my choices and take my chances. How about you?