August 5, 2008
About two weeks ago I was looking out over the Welsh countryside at this vista of the rolling hills, dotted with sheep and little lambies. I painted it in my journal to remember the view from my window. If I knew I had only 37 days to live I think that I would keep on painting and recording my wonder. I’d look at moths as well as roses, at our queen -sized bed with all its pillows and puffy quilts. And, I’d look more slowly at everything in my house and yard.
I don’t want to go anywhere other than where am I now. I love this house, this room where I am typing looking out on a picture window that is engulfed by the pine tree we planted twelve years ago. It is one of the happiest trees I’ve ever seen.
Everyday life is my miracle, my magic, my dream come true. So, I would savor it, including whatever aches and pains or potboilers I’ll run into over these fine gifted days.
The one thing I would add is to write a letter every day for the next 37. Each letter would be a thank you and love note to someone who has made my life what it is: a blessing beyond measure. I am in the process of making the list of the 37 people who will receive the letters. I’ll start with my husband, Ronald Whitney Madson as #1 and then on day 37 I’ll write him another letter, so he’ll get "the last words" of Petrushka. In between I’ll look for and identify those folks living or dead to whom I need to give my thanks and/or apologies. It’s pretty clear that 37 days isn’t exactly enough time to do this completely. So, heck I really do have to start this now so that if for any reason I get lucky and get to hang around beyond the day XXXVII, then well, I’ll be able to keep on going and maybe catch up on the full list.
So, a letter a day . . . and a bit of time to paint or draw something. And, all the rest, I’ll just improvise my ordinary life. I will taste the warmth of Earl Grey tea, the salty sweetness of tomato soup with Gorgonzola cheese, the savory delight of pasta with pesto and peas, and I’ll pull that homemade cherry pie out of the freezer. I will hold hands with Ron a lot. I’ll keep an eye out for things I own that I know friends would love and write little notes saying, "this scarf is for Dalla" and "this book of poetry for Trudy," and "these silk paints for my sister, Kathleen."
There is nothing lacking in my life. There is nothing lacking in my life. I have had joy beyond joy and a field of blessings. So, 37 more days of this paradise will be a lot, thank you.
-Patricia Ryan Madson
August 5, 2008