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, September 18, 2016

Contrasts

Beautiful Mt. Baker 
I saw this picture of Mt. Baker when I happened to turn around at the end of the long day's hike on Thursday, seeing her backlit by the sun, dark hills in front, making for a set of contrasts, which sort of defines the weather I've experienced this week.

This morning (just a few minutes ago), I woke to discover that I had overslept by an hour. Usually I wake naturally around 5:00am, which gives me plenty of time to get my tea, write this post, then get up in a leisurely fashion and do my exercises, dress and get to the coffee shop for a half-hour of visiting before heading to my yoga class at 9:00am. This morning I'm already late. For most people, waking up on a Sunday at 6:00am would NOT be sleeping in. For me, it's sleeping in. That's a contrast: usually I am sitting here contemplating the post, not thinking about what I might slap on the page to allow myself not to be late.

I really dislike being late for anything and am usually the first to arrive at any event or party. I leave the house in the morning to catch the bus so that I can arrive at the stop three minutes before it's scheduled, leaving the house at 7:06am to walk a two-thirds of a mile and arrive at 7:17. I get downtown by 7:30 or so and walk to the coffee shop (five minutes) and hang out with my friends as I drink my latte, leaving for the gym by 8:20. That gives me plenty of time to walk to the gym (seven minutes) and change into my workout clothes and get on the treadmill to warm up before the 9:00am class. That's my usual weekly schedule, except for Thursday when I hike with the Trailblazers. After the workout, I shower and dress back into my street clothes and stop at the grocery store to pick up any items I might need and catch the bus at 11:00am back home.

Am I someone who loves routine? You know I am. I've been keeping this same schedule now for years, and I watch the change of seasons as I head out for the bus in the early morning. In the summer the days are long and the early morning light is beautiful, and the birds welcome me with their song. In the winter, it's very dark out, and I wear a head lamp so I can see where I'm going and be seen by other early morning risers. My clothes also change from light slacks and shirt in the summer to warm long pants and a coat, winter gloves and a warm hat in the winter. And of course, there are those days when it's raining, and I add my rain gear (I've got lots of different coats to choose from) and a rain hat.

My car sits in its spot at the apartment complex while I walk to the bus in all kinds of weather. The worse the weather, the more thankful I am that I have a bus to ride in, rather than driving in it. You also might wonder if it ever gets bad enough that I don't actually get out and go to the gym. The answer to that is no. The only time I stay home is when I am sick. The instructors know me and if I don't come to class, I am always asked about it when I return. I like that.

This week ushers in the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, and the first day of spring Down Under. One of my blogging friends in the Southern Hemisphere has been posting pictures of the burgeoning spring in her area, while the rest of us have been putting lots of pictures of changing weather and turning leaves.

Although we had just about the most perfect day in the High Country last Thursday, when that picture was taken, yesterday was the complete opposite: I woke to rain and a quick look at the radar on my weather channel confirmed that we would be walking in the rain on my Saturday walk with the ladies. When I first starting going on these walks, I would skip the wet ones, but I knew that some people would show up, no matter what the weather. The only time Cindy, our leader, cancels the walk is when it's icy. I know to check my mail on a morning when she might decide it's too risky, but that has only happened twice in five years or so. And now that Saturday walk is part of my routine. I don't miss it willingly.

And yes, we walked in the rain. We changed our destination from the mountain trek that was scheduled (see that walk with the ladies in 2014 here) and instead took a walk in the nearby park. It rained the entire time, but there were moments when it was a deluge. We didn't go very far, less than five miles round trip, but we were all so soaked by the end that we just got in our cars and went home to change, no stop for coffee. If you go to the linked post, you'll see fifteen ladies enjoying the mountain on our first time at that location. Yesterday eight diehard ladies showed up in spite of the rain. It could not have been more different than our Thursday weather. I just looked at the rain gauge and learned that we got three-quarters of an inch of rain yesterday. After I got home and dry, I was glad that I'd braved the rain.

Another contrast that I'll share with you is this post. Last Sunday I thought about the post during the evening before and woke with a clear idea of what I would write about. Yesterday my mind was a blank when I would try to think about it, and I hoped that maybe during the night something would pop into my head, but no, instead I had lots of dreams and then overslept. So today you are getting potpourri, a meditation of contrasting moments during my week.

I'm not sure why my readers keep coming back, but you do, and so I will always try to give you at least something, but it's not an easy task to write extemporaneously and be interesting every time. I write from my heart, sometimes, and there are other days like this when I write out of a sense of duty, wanting it to be good and interesting, but not knowing quite how to make that happen. Some of my followers start their Sunday with this post, and in the same sense that I don't like to be late, I also don't like to disappoint. But how can I do that? There are days when inspired words simply flow out of my fingers and I finish with a sense of accomplishment. Contrast that with today, when I hem and haw, start sentences and erase them, start over, and finally limp my way toward the finish line.

It's a strange relationship we have, me here with the laptop sitting in my bed in the dark tapping away at my keys, and you in your own respective home reading this sometime later, but somehow your presence is with me in this moment, and I look forward to reading your comments, knowing that everyone of us is connected through some unseen tenuous force, living our different lives but gaining knowledge and comfort through the connection. Most of you have blogs that I read regularly, and they are all different from each other but give me a sense of your life. It touches me throughout my day, and perhaps I'll think about a difficult journey some reader is facing and send wishes for a good outcome their way, or a blessed event in another life. Through it all, I feel your presence with me.

And with that said, I also sincerely hope that your week will be a good one until we meet again next Sunday. Who knows what will transpire between now and then? I hope you will remember to be grateful for your loved ones, and that you might include me in that number. Be well, dear readers.

23 comments:

Kailani said...

Jan, just know that you are one of my most favorite 'reads'. For sure. I know if we had the opportunity to be living close, you would've already gotten me into your hiking group, and I'd be 20 lbs. lighter right now. LOL No seriously, I do consider you a good online 'friend', and I'm a better person because of it/you. :)

Have a beautiful week!

Linda Reeder said...

Well, I for one, found it very interesting to read about your morning routine. I have known all the bits and pieces, but having it put all together, i can get my mind movie going and move through right along with you.
You do quite a bit of walking every morning just to get to where you exercise!
I think I was awake at 5:00 this morning for you. actually I was just then turning off my Kindle, ready to try to go back to sleep after several hours of sleeplessness. I finally awoke again at 7:30, long after you would be well on your way. I am not an early riser. Tom is just getting up after having a difficult night too. In an hour or so we will go out for our exercise walk. We have a slow day planned.
I'll see you on your other blog during the week, but we will be away most of the week, so Happy Autumnal Equinox. The seasons, they are a changin'.

Marie Smith said...

Your "eye on the edge" is a Sunday must read for me. Sometimes, for whatever reason, your Sunday post doesn't come into my blog feed until Sunday evening. When I don't see your post by Sunday afternoon, I go looking for it. Your post is an important part of Sunday for me.

I am amazed how people can be drawn together through blogging, making the world much smaller. We have so much in common but seeing the world through other eyes expands my world as I never could have imagined. Your eyes are wonderfully focused!

gigihawaii said...

You certainly are a creature of habit and routine. I tend to be more haphazard with my time. I tend to be impulsive, but David always tries to reason with me and force me to be less impulsive.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

As you pointed out you love your routines very much. They are your daily life. I read your posts because I get reminded of the value of that for my life is often chaotic. It is your purposefujness that attracts me. And of course your writing style.
I am blogging less because of factors that limit my time at my devices. Also I had to study to get my photos back into my blogs. I have achieved that. And now the new role of granny had me travelling twice in 2 months to UK to be with family.
I love that mountain photo you captured. Cheers from UK.

Elephant's Child said...

I am chronically early. And yes, 6am would be a sleep in.
I love that you are determined to exercise, your body and your mind. And that the blogosphere brought us together.
I hate, loathe and despise the hoops that blogger is making me jump through to comment here.
Enjoy your week.

Red said...

Sometimes I find it hard to write a post. things don't flow. I think at those times I have little to say. Keep on sitting in the dark on Sun. mornings and thinking about what life gives us and what we give back.

The Furry Gnome said...

We all keep coming back because we admire your dedication and commitment in writing it, and only wish we had the same commitment ourselves! And you have a way of saying interesting things even when you claim it's not that good. And thanks, I could use a good week!

Linda Myers said...

I commend you on your routine. My days are guided by my online calendar, but unless I have an appointment (massage, medical, or lunch or coffee with a friend), the order in which I do things is less structured. I'm inclined to follow the interruptions that happen, as they often lead me onto paths I wouldn't have thought of myself.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Your routine is down to the minute! That is impressive. I used to do that kind of schedule and found the routine a comfort...but now that I am retired not so much. I am a night person who doesn't much like the daytime especially the very early parts! I hope you have a good week! :)

The Broad said...

When I am in England I regularly wake up at 4.30, prepare my breakfast and watch a business news program from 5 until 6. After that I go back to bed for a few more hours! Here in France everything moves up an hour and I get up at 5.30.

Perhaps it is no bad thing for you to be thrown off schedule from time to time, since your routine is so firmly established, it is no bad thing to experience chaos as a preparation for the inevitable unexpected.

But I do enjoy knowing that come what may I can count on your Sunday post every week!

Tabor said...

Wish I was as determined and forthright as you. My nasty rash gave me a great excuse to be immobile for a week and to read and blog and play online games and watch TV. I should have gotten up before the sun and took a walk! Have a good day.

Arkansas Patti said...

For some reason I don't get your Sunday posts till Monday but they are always welcome. I admire how you can be so interesting off the top of your head. I got a bit tickled that you referred to Mt. Baker as feminine. Are mountains gender specific like boats? Google didn't help.
Like you, I have to be on time. Everyone else can be late but not me. Don't know where that comes from. Where we differ is other than that and feeding my pets, I have no routine to my day. My day goes by whim unless I have an engagement or appointment. Wish I were more like you. Think I'd get more done.

Rita said...

My "morning routine" would seem quite borderless compared to yours. It's still got a very flexible form to it, though, if you ignore the clock--LOL! Things are checked off--sometimes before 10am and sometimes not until dinnertime. Would drive you crazy! I admire your faithfulness to your routine. I am easily distracted, have nowhere to go, and have never been great with mornings (prefer evening hours), and Karma is flexible once she's fed (lol!) so it doesn't matter. I love your Sunday posts no matter what you chat about because it is a visit with YOU. :)

Gigi said...

I, too, look forward to these Sunday posts - they one of my favorites. But like Arkansas Patti - here lately, I don't get your posts on Sunday instead they pop up in my feed on Mondays. But I've noticed that with a lot of other blogs - mainly blogger blogs, up to and including my own.

I also have to have a routine and being late always throws my day out of whack - particularly since all three of us trying to get out about the same time every morning!

Carole said...

You speak from the heart. That says it all! I love the fact that we can connect, even though we are many miles apart. We feel like we know each other, and for that I am grateful.

I, too, am a creature of routine. There is something very comforting in knowing that our routine takes us through our life, through our day with great peace and satisfaction.

Sending love your way DJan!

Barb said...

I agree that we are all connected, and I often think of my blog readers, especially when I'm hiking alone (so - I guess I'm not actually alone). I'm so surprised that even though you were "late" you managed a post. I don't have much of a routine, but I do like to rise early (5:30-6 most days), brew my tea, light the fire, and watch the sun begin to glow on the peaks. Sometimes, like my plan for tomorrow, I leave early for a hike. I do like a day now and then when nothing at all is planned.

C-ingspots said...

I love your Sunday posts as well, and look forward to them and reading your thoughts. In many cases, your posts get me thinking about something I otherwise wouldn't have and that intrigues me. For example, your daily routine simply amazes me. By contrast, I get distracted very easily and can be led astray. I tend to think of life as an adventure, and because of that don't accomplish as much. I love your writing and believe you have so many loyal readers because you speak from your heart and are genuine and kind. You are also inspirational to hopeful dreamers like me! I hope you have a wonderful week too.

C-ingspots said...

I love your Sunday posts as well, and look forward to them and reading your thoughts. In many cases, your posts get me thinking about something I otherwise wouldn't have and that intrigues me. For example, your daily routine simply amazes me. By contrast, I get distracted very easily and can be led astray. I tend to think of life as an adventure, and because of that don't accomplish as much. I love your writing and believe you have so many loyal readers because you speak from your heart and are genuine and kind. You are also inspirational to hopeful dreamers like me! I hope you have a wonderful week too.

John's Island said...

Hello DJan, Sometimes your post are so insightful and reflective on some aspect of life that I end up spending quite a bit of time thinking about them long after I've finished reading them. Even the posts you don't feel are so "focused" usually include something that leaves me in a very pleasant reflective mood. For example, in this post you said, "It's a strange relationship we have, me here with the laptop sitting in my bed in the dark tapping away at my keys, and you in your own respective home reading this sometime later, but somehow your presence is with me in this moment, and I look forward to reading your comments, knowing that everyone of us is connected through some unseen tenuous force, living our different lives but gaining knowledge and comfort through the connection." I just can't say how much I agree with that! So absolutely true! And yet, in my entire experience in the blogosphere there are only a handful of blogs that have this kind of connection for me. Thank you so much for sharing your routine and especially your Sunday mornings with us! Have a great rest of the week!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I can tell from this post that you really dislike being late, being rushed, having your routines broken. By contrast, your post about "alpenglow" is positively calming, soothing, peaceful. It just occurred to me that one reason I haven't written for a long while is that I'm feeling a little jarred, disrupted. Must think more about that. Meanwhile, have a great week.

Friko said...

You are a creature of habit, methodical and reliable. What could possibly be wrong with that?
Well, if you’re me you are neither. I have habit forced on me nowadays, and I am certainly not an early riser from choice. In fact, I welcome every morning when I can turn over for another ten minutes!

Your way of life means that you have plenty of time for the things you enjoy, whereas I prevaricate and dither, often losing the best part of the day.

Ah well. We’re all different, but enjoying blog posts is something we both do. Planned or unplanned, you always come across loud and clear, and I wouldn’t worry overmuch about content in your place. The real You is there, that’s all that matters.

PS: I’ve added a PS to my post on cyclamen: indoor and outdoor varieties differ in their preference for temperature. Neither like it warm, but they will not survive in the other’s environment.

Sally Wessely said...

Your routine is just a routine to you, but to me, and I suspect for most of your readers, it is a blueprint for those of us who find establishing a routine so difficult. I admire the way you stick to your schedule and how you follow your routine. Honestly, DJan, it was quite helpful for me. I am trying to turn over a new leaf where I work exercise into my schedule better and believe me, that is not an easy task for me.

I am not an early riser, nor do I go to bed early as I know you do. I used to sign off much earlier than I now do. I'm working on that.

I love blogging because I met you from blogging. I will so miss you when you all gather at Vashon. I hope you think of me just a little. I hated to make the decision not to come, but the expense of the flight just wasn't in the budget for every year. If I lived closer and could drive, I'd be there. Hugs.