Retirement and Unretirement (An April 1st Tale) 1990

I retired April 1st [1990].

For years I planned to begin retirement with a walking bridge between the world of work and a world beyond work. I would push a mail cart from San Francisco to the United Nations in support of peace and the U.N., from April 25 to October 24. But on April 26, at Martin Luther King, Jr., Park in Berkeley, under the city’s U.N. flag, I announced that I would not walk.

The doubts and fears about a solo walk which I had tried to push aside had finally overcome the energy of my dream, hopes and preparations. I became depressed and distressingly suicidal. For about two weeks I stewed in my own juices, ashamed, disappointed in myself and wanting to die.

Years ago my older brother had killed himself in his late twenties. I knew how hard that was on family and friends. That knowledge, my deep belief in the preceiousness of life, support from famly and close friends, and some crisis thereapy led me to loking for some way out of what felt like a self-made trap.

When I had announced the cancellation of the walk, our postmaster said something about the people on my route would like me back. Now I decided to find out whether there was a way to cancel my as yet incomplete retirment process. There was. I went for it.

June 9 I went back to work on my old route through a process part bureaucratic, part very human and part miraculous. I am still depressed with varing ups and downs. I am glad to be alive and back on my “appointed rounds”. Acceptance and affirmation from postal workers and patrons have been helpful factors for which I am grateful. I have no dates, calendars nor slogans for any second retirement. One day at a time sounds good.

I am in theapy and counseling seeking healing and understanding. Instead of walking “from sea to shining sea” I am on our inner peace pilgrimage across a personal continent of questions and cofusion, perhaps a pilgrimage from me to shining me.

Possible moral to this tale: Don’t put all your retirement legs behind one cart.

Bill Trampleasure

Five Ogunquit Poems, 1993

Ogunquit, 11-6-1993

The museum is closed,

and some of the sculpture garden critters
are wrapped snugly in blue plastic,
cocoons, hibernating until spring,
with here and there
a head, tail or toenail showing.

Some statues, pieces of scupture,
have been released
from their concrete anchorages
and hidden away
in deeper hibernation.

The anchorages, foundations
for me to choose my place to stand.

Shall I be "The War Machine",
facing the beauty of the ocean
and the sunrise?

Or shall I be the "Man from Assissi",
an instrument of peace,
calling others to join me
and all those others
already in the planetary pageant of peace?

Will you join us in
building bridges,
reflecting in and on ponds
(at Walden and elsewhere)

sitting in the sun
singing our songs

continuing our own
personal peace pilgrimages
along well traveled
or less well traveled paths

making our choices
taking our chances

risking our self-images

inhaling and exhaling
endless "Thank yous"?

Ogunquit, 11-6-1993

360 will do
or take in the view
around you

360 will do
to take in the view
within you

and if 360
is beyond you,
click off one or two

one or two
clicks of difference
may just do
to expand
  or create anew
  your point of view

Agamenticus Mountain, 11-11-1993, Veterans Day

Foot-on-moon disease
make me ill at ease.

What is this mostly
race for space?

Why not embrace
the whole race
here on Mother Earth
as one?

when that's done,

maybe some cosmic critters
from another place
will want to drop in
and get to know us
face to face

12-4-1993, Marginal Way and Bread & Roses

Christmas (A definition by an un-christian to those whom it may concern

is living
the love we have received

is forgiving
when we feel
we've been deceived

is unloading
and feeling so relieved

is loving
the life we have received

12-3-1993, Top of the Way (a bench)

San Francisco
I've been to the top
of your Mark.
I've gloried in its
wonderous view.

And Boston,
I've been to the top
of your Hub.
I love what
you can do.

But on this finestkind
Ogunquit day,
seated at the top
of its Marginal Way,
I must confess,
when all is said and done,
The Top of the Way
is my personal
Number One.