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, May 17, 2015

May morning

Taken last week by Roger Iverson
Years ago, I joined the Whatcom Birding listserv and receive pictures from the group on a regular basis. This one showed up in my mailbox last week, a picture of a hooded merganser with her new babies. It's always wonderful to see these new hatchlings testing the waters of life, and my hope goes out to them that they will survive their first months.

It's hard for me to believe that it's already the middle of May and that everything is in full flower, but it is. The seasons fly by so fast, and every time I mark the moment with a post, like this lovely May morning, it's time to think of summer, which is pushing spring out of the way so we can bask in summer's heat. Well, we don't often get temperatures into the 90-degree range, so I'm talking about relative heat. Some people are already experiencing temperatures hotter than we get all summer long.

But that might change this summer. Everything is topsy-turvy, weather wise, around the world. One of my blogging friends in Australia laments that her spring flowers are coming out, and they are moving into winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Never happened before. And I learned that Artist Point, the terminus of the Mt. Baker Highway, has just opened, six weeks before its normal opening date. It's usually buried in snow until around the end of June, but not this year. Because of the record-low snowfall in the wilderness this past winter, crews were able to clear this road of snow to open the hiking season early. Before this year, the earliest the road had been opened was June 29. Now that's scary.

I fear we have a very hot summer ahead for us, with lots of wildfires and unaccustomed heat during our usually rain-free July and August. All the lushness of the Pacific Northwest fuels fires when everything dries out. But what am I doing? My sister would say I am "awful-izing," worrying about events that may or may not come about.  Instead, I think it's much more fruitful to enjoy the moment and let the future take care of itself. Whatever is going on with the weather, there's not much I can do about it, in any event. Right now we are enjoying mild temperatures with lots of sun and a bit of rain, so I'll concentrate on that.

Last evening I attended a wonderful concert by the Bellingham Chamber Chorale, which I enjoyed very much. My friend Al (our hiking leader) sings in the chorale and keeps us hikers informed of the concerts as they come around. Otherwise, I would have missed this incredible experience. This particular concert concentrated on music of the Pacific Rim, singing songs in Spanish, Korean, Japanese and (of course) English. I still have some of the music reverberating in my head, and moments from the concert keep coming back to me as I sit here thinking about it. There were plenty of soloists last night, and everyone performed flawlessly. My hands were sore from clapping so hard at the finish.

But rather than mingle with my friends who also attended the concert, I quickly made my way to the parking lot so I could drive myself home with a bit of light still in the sky. I don't drive at night very much any more, because the cataracts in my eyes cause the glare of oncoming headlights to make driving difficult. And I was in a part of town I don't know well, but I made it home safely. At this time of year, we have light in the sky well past 9:00pm, a time when I would normally be horizontal in bed. It was worth it, though. It's nice to know I can still stay awake and enjoy an evening concert now and then. During the long days of spring and summer, at least. The sun didn't set until 8:47pm last night, and we are enjoying more than 16 hours of daylight right now. Some people love the long days, but I am happiest with a compromise between the dark nights of winter and the long days of summer.

In fact, now that I think of it, May is probably one of my favorite times of the year. Everything is bursting with life, and we are shedding our old familiar raincoats and showing some skin. Well, everybody but me, that is. I keep a couple pairs of shorts for those times when I visit my sister in Florida, but otherwise I don't expose my legs, and it's been ages since I've worn a sleeveless blouse. Short sleeves, maybe, but sleeveless? I'd be so self conscious that it's not worth it.

Funny when I think about how much I've changed since I've gotten old. There was a time when I had no problem at all (and it wasn't that long ago) making a naked skydive with a bunch of friends. I think I might have written about it one time or another. In fact, I looked it up and here's the story. I wrote it five years ago, if you're interested in how we accomplished it. But these days I look at the beautiful blue sky and the first thing that comes to my mind is not rushing down to Skydive Snohomish to make a jump. Instead, I think of my garden. And nobody is calling me and begging me to come down, either, so you know what? I might be done. By the time this season is over, I think I can call it part of my personal history.

Everything moves on, it's just the way of things. There was also a time when I couldn't ride a bike and had to learn. Now bike riding is something I can still do, and I am thinking of purchasing a really good bike to take the place of the used one I bought a couple of years ago. I finally gave it away, since I rode it so seldom, but the problem was not riding it but the clunkiness of it, not to mention having to haul it up and down sixteen steps from my apartment. But I still enjoy riding a bike and maybe I'll take it up again. It's not out of the question. Having a seventy-something old lady riding a bike is much more acceptable than having her jumping out of airplanes. But I can still do that, too, if I want. I'm still current and my gear languishes in my closet, ready for action. For the moment.

And just like magic, another post is almost ready. I didn't have any idea what I would write about this morning, and although it's not all that deep and introspective, it's where I am at the moment. That's the point of this Sunday morning activity, anyway: to remind myself what's on my mind, and who I am on this beautiful May morning. I hope that the coming week will bring you, my dear friends, a wonderful week filled with love.


Linda Reeder said...

Good morning, dear friend. I think May might be my favorite month too, with everything bursting forth. It reminds me that tomorrow is Eruption Day, the 35th anniversary of the eruption of Mt St Helens. May is eruption month here in the Pacific Northwest, with an explosion of greenery and color and growth.
We'll be garden touring today, to me perfect way to spend a Sunday in May.

Rian said...

Naked sky-diving, huh? That one might be more than I could handle. But I can see youth considering it just another challenge. ha!

And I agree that the *weather* is acting a bit strange lately. Reminds me of that old show, "Land of the Lost" (anyone remember that?) We have gone from awful drought to constant rain, tornados, and flash flood warnings daily??

jo(e) said...

I too can't believe that it's already the middle of May. And yeah, climate change is making the weather so unpredictable. We've actually had some hot days already ( hot enough for everyone to complain about the heat) -- and I'm in upstate New York , where we used to never even plant anything until after Memorial Day.

Stella Jones said...

I love Sunday's too. I've always thought of it as a 'day off', a day to do what you want, whatever that is. For me too, the garden is top of the list, at this time of year anyway and like you I am happiest with the in-between seasons.
Part of my Sunday enjoyment so is reading my favourite blogs. Yours is one of them, of course.
I see you've already been to the concert. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.nthere is nothing like music to swell the soul.

Anonymous said...

So trading planes for bikes, that's not such a bad idea. Lol.

Keep going, DJan.

Marty Damon said...

I'm with you there, Djan, on the need to avoid awful-izing. We just finished a really ugly election here. You just reminded me to get up and go outside and enjoy this beautiful day.

Buz said...

In terms of overall statistics, I'm guessing bicycling is far more dangerous than skydiving. I've been riding again lately, but my sense of vulnerability (as I rapidly approach the age of 60) is causing me to take even slow turns with [possibly excessive] care. Please be super careful, sis.

Jackie said...

OK. I thought perhaps there was another meaning of "naked skydiving" so I jumped over to read about it via the link you included. Nope. It means exactly what it says. Naked. I had no idea there was such a jump...but smiled as I thought of your landing...and your promise not to do it again. You are an adventurous lady. I admire you in so many ways.
As you decide whether skydiving is in your history or not, I know that you make the most of every moment that the Lord gives you in the now and now. Continue to enjoy your garden...your biking, hiking, and your love of the world around us all. I hope that your temperatures stay moderate, and I send you a warm smile from here in South Georgia.

Elephant's Child said...

Love your focus on the undeniable magic and pleasure in the here and now.
And hope that your summer is not tooooo hot.
And yay for gardens. Even confused gardens (which go with a confused gardener quite happily).

Arkansas Patti said...

Had to check out naked sky-diving. Here I was thinking it would be as delightful as skinny dipping but "stinging nettles" never occurred to me:)) Admire your courage.
Weather everywhere is a challenge. Droughts, fires and terrible storms. It sure makes one appreciate the good or even the so-so days more thoroughly.

Gigi said...

Awful-izing...yep, I do that on occasion. It's good to have a word for it.

I would have never known that naked skydiving was a thing, if it wasn't for you! After that, I would think sleeveless shirts wouldn't be a problem. ;-)

As to the weather, yes, I can see that the weather is not at all following the patterns it has in the past.

Red said...

All of these changes in weather have me very very worried about climate change. 6 weeks early is just nuts. Let me tell you something. You are definitely not old! D' ya hear that? We have to keep thinking young and challenging ourselves as you do in skydiving. Now naked skydiving? I.ve never heard of that until now! I'll have to follow your link back!

The Furry Gnome said...

May is cat inlay the beat month of the year for me!

Rita said...

Naked skydiving--OMG! Parts would be flapping in the breeze that I would think might be sore afterwards--LOL! And here I thought you were brave before! I managed skinny dipping at night in the darkness a couple times when I was young...but skydiving--wow! I am impressed. ;)

Linda Myers said...

I'm way too modest. Good for you!

I remember the first year you planted your garden. You were heavily into skydiving that year, and a newbie gardener. Now you're an experienced gardener. Time passes, huh?

The Broad said...

You really are wonderful, DJan! May is also one of my favourite months -- though not necessarily in the UK! At the moment it is sunny out, but only 50F and the wind is blowing constantly -- not exactly good for basking. Makes those long hours of sunshine rather wasted.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Our temps are jumping all around. Yesterday was a t-shirt day, while today is sweatshirt plus windbreaker day (and cover the new plants because the temps are going down into the 30s tonight). The wind is ridiculous. I worry for my grandchildren. They have plans for enjoying their own grandchildren, and I hope they get that chance. Okay, too much awful-izing! Have a lovely week!

Friko said...

It may not be a deep and meaningful post but, as you say, it’s where you’re at at the moment.
Catching up with ourselves is a good thing.

Whatever activities you choose for the future I know you will perform them with all your great spirit and whole-heartedly.

Do what you enjoy most, at whatever time of life you find yourself.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I love these Sunday pots, wherever they lead.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I love these Sunday posts!

Retired English Teacher said...

Well girl, I learned something new about you today.

We are getting so much rain. I barely remember when I saw the sun last. No one has planted anything around here. I'm pretty sure of that. It hasn't stopped raining long enough to plant.

Weekend-Windup said...

Duck with its duckling looks beautiful. Nice shot...

John's Island said...

Hello DJan, Once again I enjoyed reading your post. My main comment is to encourage you to get going on your bicycle again. The reason I say that is I just did it myself. For several years my bike was in storage. The justification will not set well with many but it was simply a pain to ride a bicycle while living in a highrise in downtown Seattle. Not to mention a bit on the dangerous side. Now that I’m in a new location I decided to get the bike out of storage, clean it up, and pump up the tires. Luckily, the car I’m driving has a trailer hitch that takes the bike rack I’ve also had in storage, so that came out as well. Things were a bit tentative on my first ride in the new neighborhood. Even calling it a neighborhood is a bit of a stretch. Well, I loaded the bike on the rack, drove down to parking area near Pier 91 (about a 5 minute drive), and started my ride on the trail that leads from Ballard, and points north, down into the heart of the city right along the waterfront. The first thing I realized … I was doing the ride in the morning rush hour for lots of working folks. They were flying by me and I had to be careful to stay to the right. It was good and really a workout. I’ve been riding daily now for a while. There is not a doubt in my mind that I’m feeling better from the exercise. Now, getting back to blogging … I’m taking a bit of a break for a while. Posting less frequently and spending a little more time on other things. There are just a few blogs I’ve got to keep up with … yours is one … and I just realized this morning that I better check out your newest post before you will do yet another tomorrow! :-) Have a good week and take good care up in Bellingham. John

Far Side of Fifty said...

Well I am a week late..imagine that! If you are having trouble driving at night from your cataracts making the lights look like stars then it might be time to think about the surgery. Let your eye doc know. :)