|Crocus outside the YMCA|
I've lived here for five years now, after more than three decades in Colorado's sunshine and high altitude. Here I experience short, often gray overcast days with little to no sunshine during the three long months of winter, when the sun sets early and rises late. It's very green here, in contrast to Boulder in the wintertime, but the constant sunshine in Colorado caused me to take it for granted. Here I rejoice in the sunshine and the few days of full sun during the winter months.
Yesterday I headed south on a gorgeous sunny day, no clouds in the sky at all, to the Snohomish Drop Zone. Not to make a skydive, but to attend the all-day-long Safety Day that Skydive Snohomish provides for its skydivers. It was the first weekend day since the beginning of the year that was so beautiful, but the owners made the decision months ago to have Safety Day rain or shine, and so they did. I attended five different seminars and pretended to have a malfunction and pull my handles as if I needed to deploy my reserve parachute. I was reminded how to inspect my gear and even learned a few tips I didn't know.
In the old days in Colorado, it was me who gave those seminars and taught young jumpers how to be safe. I had forgotten things I didn't think I would ever forget. This year, and now that I am a seasonal skydiver, I needed Safety Day. But it was not easy to wander around outdoors between seminars in the full sunshine and see those aircraft sitting idle on the ground. This particular operation is committed to safety, and I really needed a refresher. Today the weather is not so good, with the clouds and rain having moved back in, so I will need to wait until at least the upcoming weekend to "get my knees in the breeze" for real.
I thought last season would be my last one to skydive, but I'm not ready to give it up quite yet. Perhaps this will be my last season, as my aging gear and physical body keep reminding me that there will be a day in the not-too-distant future when it will not be a choice; it will be time. I hope I make that decision wisely, not after having hurt myself on landing or otherwise. Keeping myself fit and eating right has delayed the inevitable moment when I hang up my gear for good.
My regular jumping companions were all there yesterday, and we commiserated about the beautiful weather but enjoyed Safety Day. After five seasons of jumping together, it amazes me how close we have become. I have developed a family at Snohomish, and we are all looking forward to playing together in the sky, for at least one more season.
Back here in Bellingham, I have my other virtual family, those seniors with whom I hike every week. For five years now, I have explored the wilderness and experienced the good days and the bad ones with another group of like-minded people. My life is full, and spring is here, with the promise of sunny days when I can pull out my sunscreen and put away my rain gear. Now that's one kind of gear that I don't mind hanging up for awhile. Again, it's seasonal; there are hardly any more beautiful summers than we enjoy here in the Pacific Northwest, with all the shades of green to contrast with those gray days of winter.
It's again dark outside as I sit here with my laptop. This time yesterday there was light in the sky, but we lost an hour of sleep overnight, and I will notice how long the days have become tonight when the daylight lingers in the sky and the sun takes its time to set. By midsummer, it will be the long days that feel like they will never end. I wonder what it's like to live even farther north, when the sun never sets in the summer and never rises at all in the winter.
I'll probably never find out what it's like, since this home I've made here in Bellingham is just right for me in my later years. Now it's time for me to post this, but first I'd like to make a toast to you, my dear readers: I wish this upcoming spring and summer season to be memorable to every single one of us for all the right reasons.