Reclaiming Joy

In Ithaca, New York, Robin Botie and fiends make a campfire on her deck.“We’re comin’ over to your place with some wine,” the friends I’d just left phoned as I pulled into my dark driveway.
“But, uh … ” I sputtered.
“We’re almost there. Bye.” There was just enough time to pull out five wine glasses.

“Got any matches?” someone asked when the wine was poured. They gathered up their glasses and newspapers, found an old log, and made a campfire on the deck. The deck that once housed skunks; the deck that last year harbored a fox family and earlier this year was home to snakes. Squirrels and chipmunks scamper about daily on this deck, undaunted by the barking dog. The past week the dog, my son, and I watched woodchucks and raccoons dart underneath.

This year I’d only lingered outside my house briefly a few times to listen to coyotes and frogs or to photograph 2014’s super-moons reflected in the pond. In the three years since my daughter died, and the three summers in and out of hospitals before that, I had stopped reading and watching stars on the deck. So wild creatures found it a peaceful spot.

But on this night, between my son grilling his hamburgers, the prowling dog, and the friends stomping on the planks, raising flames and wildly whooping it up as they washed down the wine, on this first campfire of the year we took back the deck.

After, I went to bed with my hair smelling of smoke and slept through the night.The wildlife under the deck at the home of Robin Botie in Ithaca, New York.

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8 thoughts on “Reclaiming Joy

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Isn’t it strange how some things we can readily take over or reclaim while other things we need to allow ourselves to rediscover over time? Why decks, I wonder? In my case it was so much easier to face my daughter’s bedroom and closet.
      I bought your book for a friend but am loving reading it for myself. Looking forward to your launching at Buffalo Street Books. Cheers!

      Reply
  1. Lynne Taetzsch

    You certainly reclaimed the deck, Robin! So glad you have good friends helping you retrieve the joy in life. People make all the difference when we are grieving and learning how to live in spite of it.

    Reply
      1. Robin Botie Post author

        Thank you so much Franklin. And I’m loving yours and your videos. Still wishing I could do more with TinyTown but I seem to be focusing on Photoshop these days more than writing. Cheers to you and tinytowntimes.

        Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have good friends. You’re right, Lynne. I hope you have many too. Cheers!

      Reply
  2. Margaret Snow

    I believe you’re right Robin. Reclaiming Joy, or Gratitude, is the 6th stage of grief in my opinion, even if for fleeting moments. Thank you for your post.

    Love,
    Margaret

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I love that idea, Margaret. I never really got into “The Stages” but having them all wrapped up with Reclaiming Joy makes the packaging of stages a little more palatable. Thank you for reading. Thinking of reiki. Cheers!

      Reply

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