Looking at a large garden plot of flowers and vegetables right outside my kitchen window? Deer grazing on a lush green lawn and even visiting our bird feeder that we brought along when we moved recently? Enjoying country flavour living in the city? We never expected that!
Yes, we finally took that inevitable step that faces all of us in our advancing senior years. We sold our house with the beautiful fenced backyard with lots of trees and flowers, a comfortable two-bedroom bungalow with a large deck and recreation room with extra bedroom downstairs. In the middle of August we moved into a two-bedroom seniors’ condominium in the southern part of the city.
Emptying every shelf and cupboard in preparation for our “downsizing” move from a house that had been our home for 22 years was not easy. It was a rather challenging, stressful and emotional process.
Being a sentimental pack rat, I had kept a lot of our four children’s papers from their school days. Their first attempts at careful printing of the alphabet, their art projects and the many precious handcrafted cards for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and our birthdays over the years. Some were real tearjerkers. Reading a few of their letters they wrote us when away at college sharing their “first time away from home” experiences, I realized the reason why we are close as a family. We kept connected regardless of the miles and their individual life journeys.
Thinking I’d have to discard them, my daughter said, “No, Mom, I want to have them all. This is part of my life at that time. It’s almost like a diary.”
Now we are trying to get settled into our much smaller living space – challenging, but it is also a freeing experience in many ways.
There is a condominium complex for retired teachers next to ours and the residents actually have garden plots at the back. This is the “country delight” sight we enjoy looking at daily. This large garden plot is enclosed with a wire fence to keep out deer venturing out from the wooded area near the river and it is full of flowers and vegetables, just like a country garden.
Every day we saw the hobby gardeners out harvesting the vegetables. There were even some cucumbers and tomatoes placed on top of the concrete block fence that divides our properties, free for the taking. What a generous gesture, sharing their bounty this way.
It’s always a pleasure watching the deer coming around; even a doe with her two fawns still bearing their white spots.
In an attempt to take a little bit of our backyard with us to our new home, we brought one of our bird feeders hoping we could put it up somewhere outside. Hanging inconspicuously from a metal shepherd’s hook stuck in the ground right against the concrete post just outside our balcony, it is not in the way of the riding lawnmower when the grass is being cut. Even the occupants living above us enjoy the birds coming to visit the feeder.
One day we stood spellbound behind our balcony doors, watching the mother doe stretching her neck to reach the birdseeds in the feeder which she obviously enjoyed, despite the feeder swinging back and forth, making it difficult for her to get some. Her two offspring, being too short, frolicked around her. And this just outside our balcony!
These country delights have helped us in our transition and adjustment to a new and very different lifestyle at this stage of our life. We already feel right at home. – Maria Rogalski now writes from Winnipeg, Manitoba