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 6, 2016

Sunshine on my shoulder

Mt. Shuksan behind me with a new coat of snow
I look happy in that picture, don't I? It was such a glorious day on Thursday that I am still filled with joy when I think back on that wonderful hike up to Goat Mountain Overlook on a (mostly) sunny day.  The entire month of October was so rainy that we weren't able to spend even one Thursday in the High Country, but instead hiked on the trails around town in the rain. It takes some pretty awful weather to get me to stay home on a Thursday.

Although I work out in exercise classes at the gym, they are just not the same thing as getting outside. I found this article about the Top 10 Health Benefits of Hiking, just because I was wondering what the difference might be between indoor and outdoor activity. It turns out that being outdoors increases my sense of well-being and happiness when I commune with nature. Yep. I agree.

It was so different yesterday morning at 8:00am when I met with nineteen others to go on our walk around town. It rained all night long, and although when we met the rain had tapered off, I looked at the future track on my phone and it indicated plenty of rain. We ended up walking for the first half of in a driving rain, but it had again slowed down towards the end. At least a dozen of us stayed for coffee afterwards, and I have to say I was really happy with my new raincoat: although I wasn't completely dry, I was way more so than I expected to be. We got two full inches of rain yesterday, and although it was quite warm, the wind and rain were quite a challenge.

Today I have an extra hour, what with the time change last night. Of course, my body didn't know about the difference, so I woke up at the usual time. I decided to just go ahead and start my day, with this post and reading the blogs of my internet friends, and let the day play out as usual. I might show up at the coffee shop a little early, but otherwise the hour should be absorbed into my daily routine without much hassle. Tonight, however, I'll try to go to bed a little later than usual so that I won't keep waking up early. It's funny, but I have a harder time with the extra hour than I do when I lose an hour in the springtime.

On the bus the other day, I overheard a conversation between a young woman and her companion. She said, "oh, is the election next week already? I had forgotten about it." I couldn't believe it. We were on the same bus but existing in two different universes. If there had been some way for me to lower the volume on this election, I would have. It never occurred to me that there are other people out there who aren't even paying attention to it. It has been, without a doubt, the most acrimonious and dismaying election of my lifetime. I did see an article yesterday that compared this election with some of our early ones and realized that this is really not new in American politics. You might enjoy reading the UK Guardian's take on it here. It was informative and gave me a little perspective. We had some pretty awful elections 200 years ago, it seems, and we survived. From that article:
Actually, the US electorate has been here before, many times, going back to the 1780s, in elections replete with assassination, corruption, rhetorical vitriol, and good old “dirty tricks”. The meat-grinding process by which the American democratic sausage is made has always fallen a long way short of edifying.
Whew! I'll sure be glad when it's over, although whoever loses isn't going anywhere. The hatred and vitriol that has been unleashed will give the victor a terrible hangover of hard feelings to deal with. But still, we will go forward and have, in my opinion, a very good chance of making progress toward a better future, no matter what. Of course, that's just my opinion and only helps to make me feel a little better. I mean, what alternative do I have other than to fall into despair? That doesn't help anything and only affects me negatively.

Having sunshine on my shoulder, playing outdoors with my friends and breathing in the smell of pine trees at high altitude, that is the best cure of all. It looks like we might have one more trip into the High Country this coming Thursday, with another expected break in the weather in the forecast. No matter what happens in my little life, the magnificent trees and forests will be a balm to my spirit and will continue to inspire joyful mindfulness to all who visit them. Ah, yes, just thinking about it makes my heart soar and dispels the darkness.

Not to mention the darkness outside my window will soon be dispelled, since the sun will rise an entire hour earlier this morning than yesterday. Let's not talk about the other end of the day, though, shall we? I'm concentrating on the good things about returning to Pacific Standard Time. Walking to the bus in the morning means I won't have to use my headlamp to see the sidewalk, at least for awhile. And I've got a yoga class at 9:00am that I'm looking forward to, so life is good right now. And the rain has stopped, at least for today. My very special latte is waiting for me at the coffee shop, and today it will be free. Every 12th cup is free when you use their award system. I like to save it for Sundays.

Oh, will you look at that? Another post just got written, and it's still early! I can post this and go back to reading my news sites and check out Facebook. I usually don't have the time to do it all, but this morning I will. Anyone who uses Facebook knows it can be a real time sink, but I like to see how my family and friends are doing. It takes a little discipline, but I really enjoy it. I have plenty of friends who post inspirational quotes and they lift my spirits. I've blocked all the ones who post negativity, so I can enjoy the others.

And my tea is gone, my dear partner is breathing softly next to me, and I've got a good full day ahead of me. I hope that you have a truly wonderful week ahead, and that you might get a chance to spy a pine tree and say hello to it. Until next week, be well.


Marie Smith said...

Nature is so soothing. I can feel the muscles in my face relax when I get outside to walk a trail, beach or boardwalk. Such a wonderful part of life and free. I hope to get out every minute possible.

I also hope the week ahead is a great one for you, Jan!

Linda said...

Funny how we react to the time change. I love this one but the spring one is a real killer for me. By the way, I followed your advice and ordered the waterproof pants. I'm committed to walking some outside every day this winter, rain or shine. Yesterday I walked in the rain. You are right that there's just something different about walking/hiking outside that you don't get from exercising inside. I'm looking forward to the election being over to see what kind of work is going to have to be done to clean up the mess and get on with running a country. I've also been reading a lot of history. That usually puts things in prospective in times like this.

Meryl Baer said...

There is nothing like getting outdoors and moving, you are so right...It is amazing there are folks oblivious to the craziness of this election year. Not sure it is good or bad.

Linda Reeder said...

Yesterday turned out to be way to inactive and indoors for me. Tom and I will soon go out for our exercise walk, dodging the puddles yesterday's rain piled on.
I have wasted that hour and more this morning, caught in the Facebook trap mostly. So many links to follow and a few people to fact check and set straight, not that it does any good.
I am anxious and excited for Election day. I can hardly wait for the results to be totaled. But before then we have the Sounders on TV tonight with a good chance of advancing in the playoffs, and the Seahawks on Monday Night Football here in Seattle. And if that sun continues to shine out there, coming in the window over my shoulder, I'll be able to get back out in the yard for some good sweat producing gardening exercise.

Elephant's Child said...

Nature is heart balm isn't she? Sometimes almost essential heart balm.
Even on this side of the world I have been watching your election process. With horror and dismay.
I am so glad it is nearly over, and you (and we) can start building a new order...
Have a wonderful week. Inside and outside.

Arkansas Patti said...

I'm like you. The Spring time change I look forward to--this one not so much.
I too hope some of the vitriol calms down when this is over. Wishful thinking I fear. Still I look forward to a big exhale on the morning of Nov 9th. Yep, I am waiting till morning to find out who won. Plan to watch a movie and have a good night's sleep election night.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I don't like the time change...it makes me cranky...okay crankier! I sat outside for a long time today and am headed back out again...it is a beautiful Fall Day in Minnesota, in fact it looks like a warm week..all week!!! Love the jet stream that is keeping us warmer than normal!! Have a good week my friend:)

Tabor said...

As you many know from the post before last I had a lovely mountain walk. Today was a walk in our local wooded park. I need the outdoors and the dark cold days such up my spirits. This election is so intense, but much of that is because we can see these people and their surrogates every single day. We hear them talk we read their words. In the old days most people had not a clue what their "elected" officials said until months later.

Rian said...

I too don't plan to observe the election drama Nov. 8th. Having voted early, we will rent a movie in the evening and find out the results later that night or the next morning. As for the time change, DH and I slept the extra hour away... so no prob.
And I do believe getting out and about in nature is healthy!

Red said...

You keep mentioning the rain. I know the west coast is rainy and wet. However , your posts really emphasize for me how much rain you get and how you live with it. You just carry on...don't miss the latte!

Anonymous said...

Well, we in Hawaii do not experience the time change at all. It's always standard time here.

The Furry Gnome said...

Glad you're getting some sunny days this late in the season. I enjoyed both of those links you provided. I think about those benefits of hiking often these days, and canfeel the difference it makes - even if I couldn't keep up with you! As for your election and the Guardian article, that provided a different perspective too.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I wish time was constant, at least in terms of standard versus daylight! The extra hour of sleep was divine, though!

Sally Wessely said...

My father believed that we as children had to get outside and play every day in order to be healthy mentally and physically. I've always believed he was right. Hiking and walking in the fresh air is so good, but the rain is another story. I'm glad you were able to get some sunshine in.

I will be so glad when this election is all over.

Carole said...

Oh, you do look so happy in that photo! You have found one of the secrets to a happy life; exercise and the great outdoors. Thanks for another inspiring post DJan. I kind of look at this blog as my "going to church". You always inspire me :-)

Janice C said...

I love walking along the river where we live, even if it's getting pretty warm here. I don't do gyms, although I do a dance class inside. But outside in the fresh air is where it's best.
We had dinner with a couple visiting from the US the other week and they commented that they felt the US election is getting more press coverage in Australia than at home in Colorado. Interesting!

Rita said...

I am always thrown off by the time change--both ends of it. Don't like it one bit.

It's possible the woman forgot because she already voted by mail and doesn't watch regular TV. I am one of those. The only vitrol I see is online and that is pretty easy to avoid. It will all be over soon.

Rhapsody said...

That is a lovely photograph. I am glad the residue of happiness still runs through you.

There is nothing like fresh air, it rejuvenates you and at times puts perspective on things because you mind has time to slow down and work stuff out.

Have a grand week.

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information, but makes our life in harmony with all existence”-Rabindranath Tagore

C-ingspots said...

Oh, I am in total agreement with you about getting in the outdoors, and especially into the wilderness for exercise, mental stimulation, breathing deeply and just being thankful...nothing better for body and soul. :) Glad you enjoyed a wonderful hike. And thank God today is it. No more political ads, a new president whom some will like and some will dislike - same old, same old. As a nation, I believe we usually get whomever we deserve. I voted. Let the chips fall where they may. Have a good week.

Glenda Council Beall said...

I love fall and always spend time outside when the weather is crisp and the nights cool. But we have forest fires going on all over our mountains. We are in a terrible drought. Wish we could get a good rain. I can't go outside because our air is polluted with smoke. With my respiratory illness I have to stay inside. I published a post today that was written about two weeks ago before the fires. I am delighted this horrible election is over but so sad about the outcome. We will go on and live through it, but I feel so much progress will be halted.

Jenny Woolf said...

It is always good spending time with nature. Here in London it's harder than if I was somewhere like you, but we do have some wonderful open countryside just 20 mins walk from our home in a preserved heath land. You could almost believe you were in the country!

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, A good Friday morning to you. Wow, I’m late getting my comment in on Eye, one of my favorite blogs! The events of this week have been quite distracting for me. On the good side I did have an excellent visit with my Cardiologist in our annual follow up for 2010 open heart surgery … I am lucky to be doing so well six years later. On the other hand, I’ve been dealing with a new challenge: How to support our President Elect. I’m so old fashioned that I do feel it’s my obligation to do so, even though I did not vote for him. I’m not surprised, that with extraordinary prescience, you said in this Eye, “The hatred and vitriol that has been unleashed will give the victor a terrible hangover of hard feelings to deal with. But still, we will go forward and have, in my opinion, a very good chance of making progress toward a better future, no matter what.” Excellent! As always, I’m looking forward to Sunday’s post. Will you be giving us your thoughts re the new world order? :-) Take care and be well DJan! Thank you for writing and sharing!

baili said...

of course you look happy and beautiful and reason is just behind you .i agree that hiking or out door activities specially being close to nature is best cure of every kind of mental and physical disturbance