|Hiking above the clouds|
It has caused a few problems, though, as that marine layer has sometimes been slow to burn off the past few weeks. Last Wednesday I was scheduled to skydive with my friend Jonelle (who would be making her first skydive, a tandem), but the weather never cleared all day. Then we rescheduled for this past Friday, and the same thing happened. (We have rescheduled for this coming Wednesday.) Yesterday the clouds didn't leave the Puget Sound area until 3:00pm. This means that today's planned activity, skydiving with Linnie and friends, might not happen. The past several weeks I've gotten at least three jumps each weekend, usually four. I get accustomed to things going a certain way, and when it changes, my schedule goes awry. The recent holiday on the Fourth messed up my internal clock for more than a week.
Last night I slept like a log, the first time in several nights. It sure makes a difference in the way the world looks to me when I'm well rested. And at my age, my body is harder to roust out of the doldrums when I'm physically tired. A decade ago, I took for granted that I'd have boundless energy for everything I wanted to do, but these days I need to pick and choose my activities. That's not to say that I am not happily continuing to play in the sunshine and rain, but I've definitely slowed down. My sister Norma Jean makes me feel like a slacker, since every day she swims, has a vigorous walk, and attends yoga and Pilates classes weekly. She is probably in the best shape of her life right now as she approaches her 68th birthday. We spend a couple of hours every week together on video chat, and I must say that she simply glows with health. She continues to inspire me.
We've got a new hiker who has joined us the last two weeks, Doug. He shows every sign of becoming another regular, someone who shows up every week. Of course, the weather hasn't been especially challenging, and it's only the hardiest of the hardy who show up for a hike in the rain. We'll see. Many of the people I have grown to love and appreciate in that group are not hiking with us right now, either because of health issues or, in the case of Fred, having taken on a full-time job. It was so nice to see him on a hike a few Sundays ago, and he promised that he would be coming back to join us as soon as he's trained someone to take over his job.
Some of the people I exercise with at the gym have become good friends, such as Judy, and although she has a very full life, we find time to be together. During the summer I see much less of her because of her family activity, when her daughter and grandkids who live in the East visit, but it's during the long winter that I really appreciate us doing things together. We have taken day-long bus tours as well as the usual "dinner and a movie" that is our usual fare. Just last week she snuck away for a quick movie with me, but I won't be seeing much of her until late August.
Sitting here propped up in bed, laptop on my knees and partner sleeping beside me: this has become the time when I think about my life, contemplate where I am today and where I might be headed in the future. There are not many of life's hurdles left to climb, like those that young people are facing right now, since I'm retired from the world of work. Social Security and annuities are deposited in my checking account monthly. We will never be wealthy, or even have enough extra money to take long vacations, but it's enough that we don't have to worry about how to pay the bills. That gives me an opportunity to concentrate on what I want to do with the rest of my life.
One thing I've discovered I need is intellectual stimulation. Reading and writing blogs has helped to fill that void. My blogging friends are like part of my extended family, and I know as much about the lives of several of you as I do my own flesh-and-blood family. I feel very blessed to live in a time when virtual friends can become this important to me, and it's because of the vast changes in technology that have emerged during the past decade. I read recently that more than half of all Americans now have a smartphone. I myself need a keyboard to write, but I see more and more young people writing texts to each other on their phones. I wonder if any of them have made friends that they only know through electronic media.
This morning as I ponder how to wrap up this post about nothing in particular, I'm thinking of that Judy Collins song that inspired the title:
Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides nowWhatever you choose to do with yourself before we meet again, be well and, if you can, spend some time looking at those beautiful, mysterious clouds.
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all