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, July 16, 2017

Our changing world

Scarlet runner beans in garden
At the end of May, I planted some scarlet runner beans I received from my friend John into a seed-starting kit and covered it with plastic so that they would germinate. I've never done such a thing before, preferring to buy starts from nurseries already sprouted, but when John gave me the beans, I had to learn one more thing about gardening: how to turns the beans into plants. You can see them here from a month ago.

I planted them along my fence, and gave half of them to my gardening friend Hedi, who has a stretch of fence in full sun, and look at how they are doing! They are already beginning to flower, even though they haven't grown very large. The other half, along my fence, doesn't get full sun like these, so they are just barely beginning to flower, but hers are looking fantastic. I am so excited to see them flourishing, since I've once again learned a new gardening skill. Next year I might even start some tomatoes like this and keep them inside until the danger of frost is past.

Our community garden has given me so much pleasure in the five years since we began it here in my apartment complex. Although other gardeners have come and gone, I and one other person have been here the whole time, and the opportunity to be a gardener has been an unexpected delight. The person whose idea it was and who convinced the owners to erect a fence to keep the deer out is long gone, but he put it in motion and planted for a couple of seasons before moving on.

Nothing stays the same; it's the nature of life to have things evolve right in front of our eyes. And planting a garden is one way to see that metamorphosis from day to day. I'm pleased to see that my tomato plants are heavy with fruit and will be giving me delicious red tomatoes in another month or so. I might even branch out next year and plant something new. Why, I might even learn to can! The possibilities are endless.

But all that is just a lead-in to what I thought I'd write about today: how much our world has changed since we've entered the new century. It was only ten years ago that Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, and look at how much things have changed in that decade. There are places in the world where smartphones are the only communication devices available. Having a computer in your pocket has become commonplace. Who would ever have guessed in 2000 that we would take it for granted that we could have the entire history of the world in our pockets, available at a moment's notice to look up any fact? Certainly not me. I have become another addicted customer.

When I am in the mountains hiking, I don't have any connection, and I've found it's nice to have times when my phone is not available to me. I turn it onto airplane mode when I hit a certain spot on the highway as we make our way to our trailhead. It is still counting my steps, however. I look several times a day to see how I'm doing with my daily count, and being a competitive person I'm always hoping to up the number from day to day. Right now I average around 14,000-15,000 steps per day, but that's partly because when we hike I get almost 30,000 steps on a longish hike of ten or so miles.

I did notice that the hike up to Welcome Pass was so difficult for me that I might not be doing it again. Or, who knows, maybe I'll join some of the other septuagenarians for something a little bit easier. It's just another one of those milestones that come around in life, like stopping my skydiving habit at 72, or becoming a gardener at 68. We change as the days and weeks and months go by, and so does the world around us.

One of the biggest changes for me has been the social aspect of blogging. When my friend Ronni got sick and I wrote about it in here, many times I have realized our friendship has become as substantial as any I've had with "skin" friends. The people I follow (and who follow me) communicate with me more often than my family does, and as I've learned about the trials and tribulations of my virtual friends, they have become very important to me. The world shrank when I began to blog. I have friends in Canberra, Prince Edward Island and other places in Canada, Seattle, Hawaii, the boonies of Minnesota and North Dakota, Tennessee, the East Coast, and many, many more. I smile often when I'm reading what my friends are doing, or commiserating with them over illness or misfortune. Sometimes I don't even know where in the world some of my friends reside, because of their desire to keep it hidden. It doesn't matter in the least: when we write about our lives and share with one another, the location of our physical selves becomes unimportant.

In the car when returning from our hike last Thursday, I discussed Ronni's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer with my three companions. One of the women is a medical doctor, and I wanted to know what she thought about the Whipple procedure, which Ronni endured. I learned quite a lot about it, and I never thought to differentiate my friendship with Ronni from those people I spend physical time with. One person asked if I went down to Portland (where Ronni lives) to be with her during the surgery, and I hesitated, wondering if I should mention that I've never actually MET Ronni. I decided to discuss the friendship as I would any other, and not go into details. That led to a sea change in my thinking, realizing that I no longer feel a separation between virtual and physical friendships.

Yes, I am attached to my smartphone for many reasons, not the least of which is that it gives me a whole universe of friends right there in my pocket. Unless I don't have coverage, I am connected to my virtual community at all times, even if I don't actually go visit anybody. And here I am, on a sunny Sunday morning, talking with my friends once again through my blog. What a world! How fortunate we are to have such blessings.

And another Sunday post comes to an end. Partner is still asleep, which comforts me, as I type away in my bed with the laptop on my knees. I've got dear friends waiting for me at the coffee shop, and when I check here later in the day, I'll find your comments and feel my invisible community surrounding me with care and love. I'll read your latest blog posts and who knows, maybe even make another new friend today. Until we meet again next Sunday, I wish you all good things and hope that it's a wonderful week. Be well, dear friends.


Linda Reeder said...

Kay in Hawaii, Connie in Minnesota, Olga in Vermont, you here in Washington State, just a few of the dear friends we share through blogging, and two of you I have even met! Yes, you are all very real friends to me and I find myself talking about you all as if I spent face to face time with you. Blogging has expanded my world.
I'm addicted to my smart phone too. ;-)

We are about to resume our daily walks after a week of hard work and hard play, but there will be more hard playing tomorrow, as we spend the day walking all over the city and I pick up my free birthday latte at Starbucks and my free burger at Red Robin. I'll be 73 tomorrow, and my body feels it, but my spirit, like yours, is still young.

Have a great week. I bought a shirt at Paradise Lodge on Wednesday that has a John Muir quote, "The Mountains are calling, and I must go". I thought of you. I know you will be answering the call on Thursday.

Cloudia said...

Yes! Kay is a dear! Glad I came by to meet You DJan

Far Side of Fifty said...

Jut me from the boonies:) When I count my friends I count you twice! :)

Meryl Baer said...

Great post. Making new connections, maintaining old ones is simple and a joy with today's communication devices. And a blessing to people confined to limited spaces, whether because of age, disability, finances, whatever. So many people I feel I know even if we never met in person.

Marie Smith said...

Blog friends fill our lives with new places, experiences and perspectives. It expands our lives in a wonderful way! So true, Jan. I am glad to have found blogging and you, dear friend.

Linda Myers said...

I agree, DJan. I have met a few of my blogging friends - including you - and I really want to meet a few more. We're all the same, and we're all in this together, after all.

Bonnie said...

I don't have a blog but yet I feel I have many friends all over the world simply from following blogs. It means so much to me because since I retired I don't see people very often. However, when I read blogs like yours DJan I see and feel this wonderful world of friends! Thank you!

Gigi said...

Yes, who could have predicted the change in the way we communicate when the smart phone was introduced? I, too, am addicted. I love to be able to look up the answer to whatever question I have on the fly.

And blogging - yes, it is truly a wonderful thing and way to "meet" so many lovely people, like you!!

Have a wonderful week!!

Elephant's Child said...

Blogging friends have become very dear to me. I laugh with them, I weep with and for them. And am so grateful for the warmth and the wonder I find here.

Rian said...

DJan, I guess I never would have admitted to having an addiction... except possibly 'dark chocolate'... but maybe my iPhone actually is one. Being able to communicate with almost anyone at any time as needed as well as look up and share info and pictures is amazing - especially to those of us who didn't even have TV's at one time.

And being able to share our lives in some small way with others of like mind (even if we never get to meet them physically) is comforting and enjoyable. I love hearing what is going on in your life, DJan... and no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, it's nice to know that someone is interested. That's where blogging beats journaling... the comments add a bit of interaction which add 'spice'.

Arkansas Patti said...

Yes, our blogging friends are real friends. I often repeat things said or done by friends of mine who come from England, Tennessee, New Jersey, California or Washington. I never say they are blogging friends, just friends. Let's face it, we bloggers know a lot about each other's lives, dreams, ups and downs. We laugh with them and cry with them. That sounds like a regular friend to me.

Red said...

You made me think back to when I was 7 years old out on a farm. We had no idea what was coming in our lives. Computers were only an idea. Phones were primitive. TV? I never thought I'd see a TV. Yes how things have changed and one of those things that changed was me!

The Furry Gnome said...

That one's got me really thinking!

Rita said...

Yes! Housebound for over 13 years and yet feel I have met new friends all over the world! What a world we live in. I am so very grateful for the internet. Besides friends, it has brought me movies, series, documentaries...I can shop online for almost anything I need...can even do video calls with my grandson. Could there be a better time to be housebound? I think not. I felt much more isolated years ago when I was perfectly healthy and moved away from Minneapolis to Green Bay at a time when it was too expensive to call long distance. Truly--the world in your pocket. :) :)

Happy gardening, my friend.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Love these Sunday posts!

Dee said...

Dear DJan, thank you for this reflection on what blogging can mean in our lives. I feel the same; think the same. Peace.

troutbirder said...

Adjusting surely goes with aging at all stages. At 76 now I've modified many of given up some for safety reason. Flower gardening for me keep going on and on. I see on this post how you learning something new. That's the way we stay young...:)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Once again you’ve written a post I enjoyed reading and relating to my own life experiences. On July 10th you said, as part of a comment on my blog: “I feel like you’re a good friend, even though we’ve never met in person.” I certainly feel the same way! :-) I look forward to your comments as they are always kind and thoughtful. We have a lot in common in the way we look at the world. So, you can see why I really liked this post! The “virtual world” has opened up a whole new fascination for me, and, honestly, I can’t imagine retirement without the world wide web at my finger tips. Someday I do hope to be able to say Hello to you in person, but, until then, thank you for sharing your blog and being a part of my virtual world. And congrats on getting those seeds underway! I admire your ability to get out and do some gardening around your place.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

DJan since much of each day is spent with Buddy who tends to be quiet a lot it has been a joy to be able to communicate with bloggers . Many of us seem to love books or have been in careers where we interacted with people qa editors, writers, or teachers. Blogging justs seems to fit as we leave those carreers and move on. I have so much more about my many experiences to share but am finding it tough as my eyes are seeing less more now. The iPhone allows me to snap a lable or an entire written document to enlarge the print to read it. That has become my super tool.
Gardening was let go when I develped a mould issue years ago and then cancer. The mould in the soil seems to be an irritantant for me. However, I do love gardens and nature as we are all a part of one huge connected system there. Internet is a more recent interconnection and we can only imagine what it may do for the future on our planet and beyond.