|Harry, Alton, me, Mark, on our first jump last April|
I had a wonderful time last April, except for the fact that out of the five days I had to skydive, only one of them was jumpable: low clouds kept us out of the air. Then when I returned there in October, I made eleven skydives. I'm hoping for that many, or more, again. Nice, fun, safe skydives with soft landings. And they will be my first skydives of the year. Although I hoped to get a jump or two at Skydive Snohomish, the weather has not cooperated. Every weekend has been rainy, and when you have to drive 75 miles to get there, you want nice clear blue skies. It's been the wettest March on record for Washington state.
Last night I heard the rain falling outside, which got me to thinking about those people working in the awful conditions where the mudslide buried the town of Oso, a few miles south of here. This morning I learned that the number of missing has been changed from 90 to 30, and that many of those people will probably never be found. The mudslide was caused partly by all the rain loosening the soil, as well as nearby logging activity. It happened last Saturday as we were driving down to Snohomish to get my parachute system after the reserve was repacked. We saw many emergency vehicles on the road, not knowing what had happened or where they were going. Now the whole country knows.
It just goes to show how fragile life is, how nothing is guaranteed, not even when you think everything is safe and sound. I am comforted by the fact that most of them, maybe all of them, didn't know what hit them. That they didn't suffer. The arbitrary timing of the slide, a Saturday morning when all the kids were home, people home from work... if it had happened the morning before, the number of lost would have been fewer. But that isn't what happened. Oh, I have to get off this before I begin to obsess over it, which accomplishes nothing except to work myself into a state.
Okay, something more positive. Yesterday I went to the movies with my friend Judy, and we saw a documentary called Tim's Vermeer. Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, made a movie about his attempt to solve one of the greatest mysteries in art: how did Johannes Vermeer ("Girl with a Pearl Earring") manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? It's a fascinating film, which I enjoyed very much. I think he solved the mystery, after ten years of research and study.
It also made me wonder what the art world thinks of his theory. Of course, there is no way to find what actually occurred in 16th-century Holland, but I wonder, if he is correct, whether Vermeer was really as good as his contemporaries. His art is definitely very different from other artists in the same era. If you want to read more about Vermeer and the controversy, here is a link. He was only 43 when he died, in debt and relative obscurity. He and his wife struggled to support 11 children. He produced relatively few paintings, and almost all of them were painted in the same room, which gives a little credence to Tim's theory. Anyway, it's a fascinating look at how one might use optics to create a very realistic painting.
What else is on my mind this Sunday morning? A little worry about the condition of my left knee, which is giving me occasional difficulty. I think perhaps I've got a bit of the damaged meniscus that catches and makes it difficult to walk without pain, because just as suddenly as it starts, it clears up as if nothing was wrong. Yesterday I started to walk with my walking group and decided not to continue, as it was hurting quite a lot. Then I went to the Y and figured I'd walk on the treadmill and see if it got worse, where I would be able to stop if it did: no pain at all. I'll be wearing my brace on all my skydives and treating my knee with care, so that shouldn't be a problem next week. But there's that nagging worry about it, still. If I mess up my knee, I'll be unable to hike and do all the other things that give me so much pleasure, so I'm being careful.
Of course, as we grow older these trials and tribulations of the body don't usually get better, as we just begin to wear out. I'm aware of that, so I will take it in stride. A short, careful stride if necessary. I'm grateful to have the health I now possess, and I will make the best of it. Ah, I hear the rain starting up again outside. It's a nice sound, if I don't have to be out in it without good rain gear. I do hope the coming week brings you some lovely weather so you can go outside and enjoy it along with me.