Photo taken by a former work colleague, CK Nadikat of Marie A Bailey

Hello, dear Medium readers and writers!

Well, that was easy but now for the hard part. Whenever I have to introduce myself, I always stumble. Who am I?

I grew up in north-central New York, where there are more cows than people. My hometown is very small, so small you often can’t find it on a map. Not only have people left over the years, but my hometown has also lost the few amenities I enjoyed during my childhood. It no longer has a post office, a school, a library, or a gas station. The post office was the last…

Does the home I want even exist?

Photo by Jacques Bopp on Unsplash

My husband and I have lived in only a few places as adults: a very small town in upstate NY (me); Hialeah, Florida (husband); San Francisco, CA (both of us); and Tallahassee, Florida (both of us and currently). While there is much we enjoy about our life in Tallahassee, we don’t want to live out the remainder of our lives here.

The problem: Where would be the ideal home for two aging introverts with cats?

We don’t have unreasonable expectations. …

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

Thirty-some years ago, my husband and I opted to leave our cozy one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, California, and move to Tallahassee, Florida. Why did we do that, you ask? Well, we ask ourselves that a lot now, but that’s not the point of my story. Yes, there are a lot of things we’ve come to not like about living in Florida, but there are a few creepy crawly things that remind me I live someplace special. And that’s what this story is about.

Now I knew I’d see alligators, and they are abundant in some of the places we…

Photo by Valentina Locatelli on Unsplash

The first 21 years of my life were spent in the hamlet of Fort Hunter, New York. It was a small, quiet town with a long story. Its story goes back to the 17th century, when, after a land swap with Mohawk clans, a fort was built as was a chapel named after Queen Anne of England. In 1820, the fort and chapel were removed to make way for the Erie Canal, which brought traffic and trade to Fort Hunter.

Photo by The Tampa Bay Estuary Program on Unsplash

Near my former workplace is a pond that I would always walk around during my lunch break. The pond is small, roughly a half mile in diameter and shaped like a stretched-out kidney. It plays host to dozens of pond sliders (turtles), minnow-like fish, and large birds such as blue herons and white egrets. The pond sits across an intersection, diagonal to my office building. When I would go for my routine long walks, I’d always start off at the pond, taking the asphalt nature trail (there’s something oxymoronic about an asphalt nature trail, isn’t there?) …

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

In February 2001, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I was 43 and scared shitless of cancer. My husband was scared too, but kept it to himself for the most part. I was freaking out. Somebody had to stay calm and it was him. That March, I underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy as treatment. Fortunately, my recovery was swift and uneventful.

It was, however, just our first test of the “in sickness” part of our marriage vows. I believe we passed with flying colors. …

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

I don’t remember exactly when I wrote “The Astronomer’s Wife,” but it was after a particular evening about ten years ago. I was curled up on our couch, trying to decide what we might watch on cable that night when my husband walked into the living room. He beamed a big toothy smile at me, and my heart sank. The smile wasn’t meant for me. He was excited because it was a perfect, clear night for stargazing, a rare occurrence in this part of Florida. He was going out to chart the stars.

He was so happy and, with a…

Photo by Alex Sheldon on Unsplash

You believed that I would always come back to you, if you wanted me to. After all, I had blindly followed you while we were both at community college in 1975. At your request, I sewed a white caftan for you, and you appeared like a Messiah with your long kinky brown hair and sparse beard. I studied meditation with you and accepted your theory that I was “messed up” because of my mother. Over pizza, you told your friends that I was a “cold fish.” One of them came to my defense with “No, she’s a hot tuna.”


Spent dandelion. Photo by Marie A Bailey

I don’t have a garden, unless you consider 15 potted plants to be a garden, which I suppose they could be but maybe that can be a story for another day.

I define the word garden rather loosely. A couple of blocks from my house sits a stormwater facility. (I keep calling it a pond and my engineer husband keeps correcting me … which is funny because the city thinks it’s a lake hence the name Lake Le Marc (major eye-roll here)). I digress (which I often do …), but in a further discussion as what to call this body…

Photo by Mor Shani on Unsplash

My day started off rainy, gray and cold, a bit unusual for this time of year in Florida. My clothes — black and gray — suited the day and my mood, but it was Thursday and so I ignored my mood and Zoomed into a yoga class at noon. The instructors for this yoga studio don’t often offer mantras to focus on during our breathing exercise but today’s instructor did.

Take a breath in, think to yourself “Just,” release your breath and think to yourself, “Let Go.” Inhale — Just. Exhale — Let Go. Inhale — Just. …

Marie A Bailey

Life-long writer. Four-cat mama. Introvert who loves solitude. Fledgling nature photographer. You can also find me at

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