I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving week

Foxglove in midsummer
Yesterday I was looking for some pictures to send to a friend who is creating a blog and asked for some of my pictures of flowers. I came across this one and for some reason I really like it. The pink against the soft green just delights me. It was taken on one of our Thursday hikes a few years ago, and it sure doesn't look anything like that today. The flowers are all gone, and the green, while still there, is muted with lots of brown. But come spring, it will all pop back up again.

But it's not ever quite the same from year to year, I notice. I've looked for this spot and haven't been able to find it again. I'm not sure what the green plant is, and I'm sure it only looked like this for a short while before changing its appearance. In any event, this picture reminds me of one of the reasons I love to go into the High Country once a week during the summer months.

We have already begun our winter hikes around the Chuckanuts in town. Although we'll take a few trips south to Baker Lake and Whidbey Island, for the most part we'll get in cars and drive a very short distance to the trailhead. That is in contrast to more than an hour's drive up the Mt. Baker Highway in the summer, through the little towns of Maple Falls and Glacier. And then there is usually another half hour from Glacier to the actual trailhead. It's a good thing the days are long, because we spend three hours on average in the cars, getting there and coming back home. Plus five or six hours on the trails.

It might sound like I'm complaining here, but I'm not, not at all. It's time well spent, and even the time together in the cars is pleasant, as I find out what's going on in the lives of the others. I rarely drive myself, since my car is small and not happy about navigating rough logging roads. But the biggest reason is that after the long hike, I don't feel quite up to driving back with a full load of people. Fortunately, we have several regular hikers who don't mind driving and have SUVs designed for the back country. And who can stay alert for the long drive home.

This week we will not be hiking, since it's Thanksgiving. And because Christmas and New Years fall on a Thursday this year, we are going to miss three regular hikes. Just thinking about that makes me sad, since it's part of my life to spend the day outdoors, rain or shine, on Thursdays. Plus, the buses won't be running and many stores will be closed to allow their employees to enjoy the holiday, too. I don't really mind that part; I'm glad that there are days when we lay down our usual activities and take the time to celebrate friends and family.

Unfortunately, in many homes it will be an excuse to overindulge with food and watch football games and whatnot on TV. It seems like these days many people are interacting with their devices and spend less and less time communicating with each other. When I'm on the bus, there are moments when I'm the only person not looking down at a screen. Or with earbuds listening to music; sometimes it's so loud coming from their earbuds that I can hear the raucous din. What must it be like inside at full volume, I can only imagine.

Our world has changed so much in just a few decades. I myself have lots of devices, and I enjoy reading books on them, getting caught up on the news, reading posts from my blogging friends, and streaming videos. In some ways, I realize that I'm no different from everybody else, but somehow it seems wrong to spend one's life connected to a little screen and not to notice what's happening in the world around you. It wasn't that long ago that we walked out of our homes and into the wider world, rather than bringing our micro-worlds along with us. There was a time, not so long ago, when our phones were connected to the wall!

Oh, dear. Now I'm sounding like my parents, who would often say, "what is the world coming to?" Yes, I am old enough to remember a time when we didn't even have a TV in the home, and we would gather around the big old radio and listen to Fibber McGee and Molly. And the telephone looked like this one. I had to laugh when I saw this cartoon, and I figured it might lighten up my mood. As I was writing this and thinking about what the world is coming to, I realized I was losing my sense of humor.

I will enjoy my Thanksgiving this year, with my partner, and we'll probably go for a nice walk together, nothing long and taxing, but something pleasant around town. We live in a place that has so many options for exercise, with lots of green parks and trails within walking distance. Or just a short ride to other parks, it won't be a problem enjoying the outdoors.

However, I'm also thankful that Christmas and New Years falling on a Thursday won't happen again for awhile. I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving week, celebrating it in whatever way gives you pleasure. If by some chance you are alone on Thanksgiving, thanks to technology, you can still call your loved ones, or even say hello by video chat. It's one of the best parts of the new world.


troutbirder said...

Actually I was going to write this post someday but since you saved me the trouble and expressed it way better than I could have......:)

Linda Reeder said...

I love your photo, too. the fluffy green plant kind of looks like horse tail.
As I come down off my travel experience and all of the photo work I have now completed, I am actually getting in the mood for the holidays. Tom and I went to the mall last night and actually had fun shopping for clothes for Irene. We hate the mall, usually, but it turns out that there are better sales this weekend than there will be right after Thanksgiving. I never shop on Thanksgiving or the day after. The day after is a good time for us to get out for a destination walk if possible.
We will be joining family about a two hour drive away on the crowded holiday freeway. I will be baking pumpkin pie. We will eat too much, although I will try not to. and the Seahawks are playing on Thanksgiving Day, a first, and I hope to watch some of it, either there or at home, probably with the rest of it on the car radio. I will word hard at ignoring my phone during the festivities, but I know the younger set will have phones out occasionally.
I will be thankful for my family, for all we have, including technology, and for that Seahawks Super Bowl win last year that it looks like we won't be repeating this year. :-)

Marty Damon said...

We're not a football family at all, thank heaven. However, the grandkids will be campaigning to their parents for time on their electronics while they're here. I'm glad to say my daughter tries to limit the usage, but it's still high.
I can see myself on that bus, too. People don't know what they're missing by not just sitting quietly, observing the people around them and thinking about whatever's going by outside.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Ack you always get in a funk when you know you will miss a hike...it is that part of you that likes the schedule!! I hope on Thursday on your walk something marvelous will happen so you can say...so glad I wasn't out hiking...I know dream on:)
Our plans are to go to dinner...I think I am taking stuffing and pumpkin bread and probably a salad.
I don't do electronics when I am out and about. I used my Kindle for reading at night...no phone..lucky me:)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Reading your Sunday morning musing has become one of my Sunday traditions that make it such a cool and different day. Thank you for the efforts you put into your reflections. We are so much on the same page today regarding devices and how they are affecting the way we relate to others. I am trying to keep a good-humor attitude about all this, but in some ways I find it annoying to be out in my neighborhood and see so many people walking along staring down at their little devices. Honestly, here in the city, it can be a bit dangerous … I’ve seen more than a few close calls for pedestrians nearly involved in an accident. And, just a few days ago, I noticed a young couple walking together but each looking at their own device. Just thought that was kind of weird. Now, getting on to other things … Thank you for your comments on my blog. Regarding your question today about snow plows … I added an update and photo for you … please take a look. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Smart Guy! John

Meryl Baer said...

I am one of those weird people who enjoy cooking, even for a small crowd of the 10 people we will be sharing the holiday with. No traffic jams! No traveling!

Jackie said...

I'm glad that you will enjoy your Thanksgiving with your husband, and I pray for the blessings of our Lord to completely surround both of you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Jan.
Love to you both,

Elephant's Child said...

Happy Thanksgiving. And I love that you and your husband will take a walk together.
I try and ensure that I am NOT connected at least some of the time. And it works for me.

Gigi said...

I'm sure the guys will watch football - and while they are doing that, I'm sure I'll be online. Generally, this isn't how we do Thanksgiving, but since it is going to just be the three of us this year I figure I might as well be realistic.

Red said...

You really think ahead if you find that your Thursdays are on holidays! Yes, many people only follow their phones. There are some things to be said about a time with out the devices. Have a great thanksgiving week.

Arkansas Patti said...

Oh dear, Christmas and New Years will be on Thursday? So sorry as I know you really enjoy your outings.
I love that cartoon and yes I totally agree about people who go through life with head down watching a tiny screen.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving stroll with your partner.

Retired English Teacher said...

Happy Thanksgiving, DJan. It sounds like you have the day covered even if you won't be going hiking.

I love the photo of spring and pink and green. We got snow today, but hopefully it won't last long. I always worry about the kids driving in the snow on holidays. The forecast is for nice weather for Thanksgiving.

CiCi said...

Yes, this is Thanksgiving week. I have been visiting with my son on the phone more than usual. He and my daughter-in-law are so far away but we find ways to stay close. I actually look forward to some quiet time on Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful day with your dear Smart Guy. Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about what is the world coming to. David and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving at my nephew's home on the other side of the island. It's potluck so I will be bringing fruit salad and a pie. Happy Thanksgiving, DJan.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Lady Lilith said...

I am sorry to hear you are missing your hikes. I am sure taking local walk will be pleasant but nothing beats being surround fully by nature.

Friko said...

What, no darkness and pondering? I feel bereft! :-)

You are so right about people interacting with their gadgets, sometimes I think kids are going to lose the power of speech.

I have to admit though that my phone and earbuds come walking with me and Millie (we are alone) and my camera comes too, but I can still stand and stare at the scenery and get lost in it.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy your partner’s company. Your hiking mates will still be there afterwards.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Just today I talked with my massage therapist who said the younger generation is becoming a heavy head group that will suffer problems from holding their heads over their devices. I got a smart phone for one week and then asked to have my number changed back to my flip phone where I get no email or text. I found I don't want to become a slave to others who expect me to be there whenever they want to reach me. It has become a problem and my niece said when I didn't get an email while out of town, "Well we are just so used to everybody having email at their fingertips, we didn't think."
I am with you - what is this world coming to? My Thanksgiving day will be spent with my sister and some old friends. We will eat out and visit at my house in the afternoon.

Deb Shucka said...

I hope your Thanksgiving was warm and full of love. I share your gratitude for the world we have access to, and for the fact that no place is ever the same twice. I am so grateful you're in my life.