|Taken by Diane on the Keep Cool trail|
On our Thursday hike, however, we left Bellingham in fog and before we had traveled upwards more than a thousand feet, we were above the clouds. I suspect the same thing will happen again today: going into the mountains will be the only place the sun will be shining around here. And I was so hoping to get a chance to make it to the Drop Zone in Snohomish to air out my gear. The one thing about jumping in the desert is all that dust sticks to everything, not to mention having a few landings that caused me to eat dirt. One landing I tried unsuccessfully to run out ended up with a face plant. Not much fun, and no matter whether my landings were good or not, my canopy was covered with a fine dust anyway. I'm hoping that today I'll get a chance to blow the dirt off by making a skydive at Snohomish.
It will be the last weekend of the season for me, since next weekend I'll be traveling down to Vashon Island for my second annual retreat with five other fellow bloggers. We didn't know each other except through our blogs, but last year's retreat was so successful, and the place we stayed was so spectacular, that we are gathering there again. The Drop Zone will close for November and December, so it will happen today or not at all.
Whether or not I get a chance to go today, I've had the best skydiving season yet since I moved away from Colorado. More skydives, more blue sky days, and lots of new friends. I'm already thinking of going back to Elsinore next year. I'll see what the winter brings before I make any concrete plans. I will soon be hiking in the Chuckanuts with the Senior Trailblazers rather than in the High Country, but every Thursday I'll be out there with my friends, rain or shine. And hopefully we'll have a snowshoe outing or two near the ski area, which takes us back up the Mt. Baker Highway to gaze at our favorite mountains. It's a good place to live, if you can deal with the dark days and rain during the winter months.
I don't suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) that causes many people to leave the area during the winter months. My friend Jonelle left last Friday for her winter home in the Palm Springs area. She leads hikes there with other seniors all winter long. She kept stopping last Thursday to soak in the view, which is so different than where she is now. But the upside is that the sun shines almost every day in the desert, so being outdoors is much more pleasant than having the rain dripping off your visor as you hike.
Travel always reminds me about how nice it is to have a home base, somewhere that I can come to and find my daily routine uninterrupted. A bed that I can sink into at the end of the day, knowing that it is just right for me. My favorite chair with books to read on the table next to it. The fridge stocked with food that has been prepared just the way I like it by my partner. My classes at the gym, with people welcoming me back, feeling like I was missed while I was gone. And to think that I have made this place for myself in the five years since we moved here. I am counting my blessings and finding that I haven't even scratched the surface.
I signed up for Netflix's streaming video feature, and I have already watched several series I would have otherwise missed. It's a good deal for $8/month. I spent more than that last time I went to the movies. The other day I watched a documentary entitled "Happy," in which I learned how happiness is as much learned as it is a function of one's environment. There is a strong genetic component, though; many people are just generally happy no matter what is going on around them. Others are generally gloomy. Only 10% of our happiness, or lack of it, is situational, and the rest is up to us. One of the best ways to increase your happiness, according to this documentary, is to meditate on the positive things in your life, and I have been doing just that since I got home.
Which reminds me: tomorrow I will see that retina specialist and find out whether my macular degeneration is any better or worse. I've been taking all those vitamins he prescribed for me six months ago and researched it thoroughly. I suspect that there will be no change, since my eyesight has not gotten any worse, and my night vision has improved since I started the regimen. I will stay positive, as much as I can, and continue to be thankful for my life right now, right here in this precious moment.
I almost forgot about one of my very special blessings: you! Blogging has brought me friendships from around the world, and I cannot tell you how much it means to me to read about your own trials and tribulations on your blogs, and to hear your "voice" when you comment on mine. What a gift blogging has brought to me! Thank you for being part of my life.