By the time this column appears in print, I shall be contemplating where to plant a crab apple tree at our cottage on an island in Indian Lake, Ohio. Then I will move on to the flower beds, where an invasion of wild violets has choked the Jack-in-the-pulpits and laid waste to the lilies of the valley.
In between chores, I will sit on the seawall chaise, drinking my morning coffee as I watch the giant blue herons soar over Orchard Island.
I shall be retired from the Bradenton Herald, starting a new adventure in the next phase of my life, but a piece of my heart remains behind, for I love my job which makes my decision bittersweet.
I turned 64 in May. My father turned 95. Time is precious. But the opportunity to spend more time with my dad is offset by the loss of chasing a story, tracking sources, moving with the ease only journalism can provide, from one layer of society to another, from chatting with the homeless in a wooded camp to interviewing executives in tony boardrooms with sweeping waterfront views.
I will miss suiting up in scrubs to watch robotic surgery or observing from sidelines how public health teams work in concert to identify and isolate a TB outbreak.
Up to the last minute of my last day of work, I was having second thoughts, especially when I heard that dates may soon be set for trials in Tallevast lawsuits and the One Stop Center will soon open their medical and dental clinics to serve the poor.
I have been richly blessed, first as an editorial writer working under former Editorial Page Editor David Klement and then covering health and social services on the metro desk.
Those positions helped me see the ever-changing tapestry of change and I have never encountered any community that had a stronger sense of civic participation than the one I am proud to call home.
We will return in the fall, God willing.
If you want to keep in touch, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.