|Looking out at a very wet landscape|
Today solar noon will occur at 12:22pm, with the sun angle at 22 degrees. That's 4 degrees higher in the sky than it was at the beginning of the month. It will continue to climb in the sky as the seasons progress toward the summer solstice. I know all this because of a website I have mentioned before: timeanddate.com. If you're interested in the angle of the sun where you live and other fascinating aspects of local astronomy, check it out. All you need to do is put in your location and it does the rest.
Groundhog Day (February 2) is the halfway point from the winter solstice to the spring equinox, which means after that date we are closer to springtime than we are to the winter doldrums. I haven't read the news yet, but I've looked at a couple of my favorite blogs to see how my friends on the East Coast fared in yesterday's snowstorm. I've seen some pictures that reminded me of massive snowfalls I've experienced in other parts of the country. When I lived in Michigan as a young mother, I remember one time when the snowfall and snowdrifts piled the snow higher than the top of the door! We had to tunnel our way out to the street, where snowplows would finally make the area accessible again. My son and I had a great time playing in it. He was five or six, as I remember, meaning I was in my early to mid-twenties.
What a long time ago that was. I saw a wonderful movie yesterday, Carol, a love story between two women set in the early 1950s in New York. The movie is based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt, which was originally written under a pseudonym and has since been published again under her name. Written in 1952, I found this wonderful link from the New Yorker that reveals Highsmith's backstory. She wrote thrillers for most of her career.
I loved feeling immersed in that time period. The director and producer captured it perfectly. The clothes, the cars, the music, the ubiquitous cigarette and cocktails at luncheon: all bits of our past history that are gone now, long gone. Although I was only a small child at the time, I remember the moment in time. One aspect of the movie that keeps coming back in bits and pieces to me is the difference in the way men treated women back then. If a man fancied a woman and asked her to marry him, she was almost expected to accept. It was what every woman apparently wanted to achieve. The days of Ozzie and Harriet, her with the lace apron and pearls while she prepared the family dinner, he coming home from his unknown office job. They were an actual family, the Nelsons. The sitcom ran for 14 years, with their two sons growing up in front of a television audience.
I was part of that audience and remember having a crush on Ricky. It's interesting to think how the worldview of many women like me was shaped by the mores and attitudes of the time. There were never any real problems in that TV family, and I guess that made it seem like I was not quite normal when I got into scrapes and troubles that were outside the reality of that make-believe world.
How much our world has changed. Much of the difference today, I believe, is because everything that happens all over the world is known immediately by anyone with a TV or a laptop. Smartphones were not even dreamed of back in 1952. Unfortunately for many of us, what the media chooses to focus on is what we think is happening in everyone's world, and heartwarming stories tend to be pushed out by stories of wars, disasters, and suffering. It's enough to make anybody depressed, especially when the days are short and the nights are long. For me, I realize that I can direct my daily focus to what really matters and what makes me feel better about the state of the world.
Nothing stays the same. The fact that today in my part of the world we are gaining almost three minutes of daylight every single day brings a smile to my face. It's never going to stay dark forever. I've got a roof over my head, a partner who loves me and takes good care of me, and an active daily routine that gives me a chance to enjoy the Pacific Northwest with all its ups and downs of weather.
Next Saturday I will attend an all-day session for those of us who wish to become End-of-Life Advance Care Directive facilitators. I've done all the rest of the work and am looking forward to this final step. I'm a little nervous about it, but I suspect that isn't unusual. Helping other people to make their wishes known to their loved ones and getting it in a form that hospitals and other facilities will respect is critical. I feel called to do this task, and I will join a larger group of people, mostly women, who are also completing their training. When I write in here next week, I'll tell you all about it.
Until then, I'll continue to stay positive and hope for the best for me, my own family and friends, and you, my faithful readers as well. Life is good here at the present, and today we'll even have some sunshine to brighten our landscape. Be well, dear friends, until we meet again next week.