Burned Bridges and Torn Up Roots 

When we told people about our early retirement plans, some assumed we would rent our home in the northeast, “in case it doesn’t work out”.  When we explained that, no, we were selling up, they sometimes, replied “how can you burn your bridges” or “tear up your roots like that?”

Such violent images.

We thought we were lucky to “embrace” new adventures.

Such a tender image!

And, so far, the truth has oscillated between these two extremes.

Hard:- to give, recycle, toss the detritus of our past.
Harder: to drive away and not let our eyes swivel back for one last lingering look at the places where we’d inscribed our story.
Harder still: to say “goodbye” to communities we held dear.
Hardest: to hug “adieu” to friends and remaining family honoring all that was.

And yet, after the long drive south and traversing many uncharred bridges,  a web of fine, fresh, mycelium roots has begun to knit our lives together in a new weave. The new weave does not replace the old, we simply wear a more complicated tweed.


Since we arrived at our new home we have been welcomed by new friends and neighbors and have tasted many new activities. Truth to say, Chris didn’t leap to accompany me when I went to the belly dancing class, or the Thai massage, yet he has developed talents at finding fossilized shark teeth, and did a jaw-dropping Elvis impression when he was invited, (at the eleventh hour), to sing Pharaoh’s song from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!”. Check his website: tomuzy.com –  “Songs” button, to see how creative he has been in the past few months.

We’ve taken boat trips, one on an alligator-infested swamp, attended parades and eaten unforgettable barbecue, prepared by Oprah’s chef. Our little community offers theatre and music including a performance by virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, haunting Taize chants, and a startling one-woman show by our  (youthful in spirit) yoga teacher.

Did I mention yoga?

I’ve been a practitioner most of my life, and an instructor for almost three years.

There are many styles of yoga and more misconceptions. The pretzel theory’s a popular one. It shouldn’t be about forcing or coaxing the body into awkward positions, although some strong and highly flexible people can do this and make it look effortless. It’s about the whole being. I wish that didn’t sound so vapid. “Yoga” means “union”,  in the sense of “yoking” things together.  Having an understanding of the body and how it integrates with everything else that makes us human.

 Not clear?   Give it a try!

And there’s nothing like going to a new place to persuade a (growing older) dog (or the female equivalent), to do new tricks.

Jean practicing yoga at the beach

Eager to make “yoga friends” and perhaps to substitute teach, I’ve attended many yoga classes. Styles have ranged from the anatomically demanding Iyengar classes to heated power yoga, to yoga perched on a little drum. As the days grow warmer, sunrise yoga on the beach is beckoning….

Thoughts of the inner and outer beauty I find in yoga, led me to think about the beauty of human expression.

The poet Keats reveled in beauty.¹ We can too.

A newborn with curved spine and silk-soft skin.

Taut tendons stretched under an old woman’s wax-paper skin.

When a kindergartner stumbles upon a soccer goal – and his whole being rejoices.

A belly laugh when an old man’s belly does a jig.

A dancer’s reach and stretch, a diver’s jackknife, a skater’s spiral, a gymnast’s power and grace. Focus etched on an athlete’s face, oblivious of blossoming beads of sweat, a trapeze artist for a shimmering, suspended second, in mid-air.

Dignity in a limp, a flattened chest, scars, missing limbs and polished heads. Eyes that cannot track, but a heart that does.

Beauty in us all, bent or straight, from the high-wire or the wheeled chair.


¹For example,

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever “ from Endymion, Book 1.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty – That is all Ye know on earth – And all Ye need to know”   from Ode to a Grecian Urn final verse.



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