|Rain falling at Lake Padden last Saturday|
One couple in Everson who were using their generator had set it up outside but with the cellar door opened a crack. Enough for the carbon monoxide fumes to enter the house and kill them. She was found on the kitchen floor, and he was sitting in his chair in the living room. Nobody knew how long they had been dead, since they were found by family members after they were unable to contact them. Here's the article in the Bellingham Herald. I didn't realize how easy it would be to inhale fumes from a generator that was set up outside.
You just never really know when your time might be up. The lives we live seem very safe and predictable, but then the power goes out and something happens that causes you to make a serious mistake. Or an out-of-control car careens into yours on the highway and it's all over. It reminds me that it's important not to take for granted each and every day I have on this planet. And to give thanks that I don't have to wonder where my next meal is coming from and that I am sheltered from the weather with a roof over my head. That is not the situation for many people in the world today. I can hardly read the news about all the refugees in Europe and the dispute over their right to cross into other countries. They are homeless and desperate, and I suspect hopeless as well. My chest gets tight and I can feel myself in danger of being dragged into hopelessness myself.
Okay, that's enough, I tell myself. Here I am wanting to write an uplifting post and I can feel myself getting dragged into despair. Sometimes I wonder if it's useful to stay abreast of the news, when there's so little to be done from my little corner of the world, other than to commiserate and give money to relief organizations. I've learned little tricks to keep myself in a positive state of mind, and one of them is to look at the larger picture. Although I realize that people have suffered throughout history, there are just so many more of us today that it's impossible to comprehend 7 billion souls going through every single aspect of mortality all at once. Now if I take my consciousness farther out, to the Milky Way, I feel a sense of wonder that somewhere in that vast collection of stars lies our little planet.
|Andromeda Galaxy from APOD|
I've been thinking about skydiving the last couple of days. On my walk yesterday, one of the ladies told me that she went down to Skydive Snohomish and made a tandem jump. Her tandem instructor is someone I know quite well, and I looked at her pictures on Facebook and smiled to remember what it was like to gear up and get on that airplane myself and then jump out. Although I've been reminiscing about it, I still think it was time for me to stop. My Parachutist magazine also came in the mail yesterday and I looked through it briefly. There was a time when I looked forward to its arrival and read everything in it from start to finish.
Yesterday I realized that the sport has moved on, away from me. People who are just starting in the sport now are able to get instruction that I never could, and they can fly in positions that I find amazing (like upside down to the earth). Not to mention wind tunnels, where you can learn the techniques to use in freefall without having to actually be in freefall. Lauren, the young woman who bought my skydiving gear, is giving it a real workout. I see her on Facebook doing things in the air already (with a mere 200 skydives) that I never did.
I also realized that I spent more than a third of my entire life as an active skydiver, so it's no wonder that I kind of miss it. But there was a time when I also was a rock climber and backpacker, and those times are gone now, too. It doesn't mean that I need to forget it all, I will always have my memories, but there is also a time when one needs to let go and move on. It makes it much easier to do when one has a comfortable life that is fulfilling. And that I have in abundance.
I found this picture on Lauren's page, and it speaks to me of all that abundance. I have opened my parachute more than 4,000 times, just like this, and I have been in beautiful places like this one. Her pilot chute has just been released into the windstream and will pull out her main parachute and she will glide to the ground for a wonderful landing after a wonderful skydive. I am with her in spirit, as I am also with you, my dear readers, in spirit. I hope that this week will bring you all good things and that you will have a safe, warm place to enjoy.
|Lauren over Puget Sound|