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, February 25, 2018

A pretty wonderful week

Cornet Bay last Thursday
With little idea about what will come out of my fingers this morning, I'll start by recapping my last week, the first since I returned from Florida. I returned to drastically different temperatures, from hot and steamy to cold and wet. I've had a chance to break out my down jacket, raincoat, and long johns. After a day of cold and snow on Wednesday, on Thursday the sun came out and nine of us drove south to walk on snowy ground on a beautiful but cold day. It was below freezing in that picture above, but you wouldn't know it unless I told you. Snow in the foreground belies that beautiful blue sky and water.

And then yesterday, the whole day looked like it would be a bust, as it snowed most of the previous evening in parts of the area. Interestingly, it was spotty and one place got several inches of snow, where others (like where I live) received only a few flakes. So I went out for my walk with the ladies, and even though it was snowy underfoot and we ended up with a few flakes falling from the sky, we had a very enjoyable walk anyway.

I considered not going myself, worried about slipping on the snowy trails, but my worries were for naught. Nobody fell, and we walked more slowly than normal (which I much prefer anyway) and never broke up into faster and slower walkers. It was quite lovely, actually. We skipped the uphills and downhills and stayed on level ground. Even though it was early in the morning, there were plenty of other people out enjoying the trails along with us.

Then I went to the movies with my friend Judy and saw Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, a movie starring Annette Bening and Jamie Bell, based on a memoir about Gloria Grahame, a legendary actress who died of breast cancer at the age of 57. Bening is really wonderful in this, as she is in most of her films, and I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to anyone who wants to see a great actress portraying another great actress.

I was devastated, as were most of us, by the school shooting that occurred the day after I left Florida and wonder if my country will ever come to grips with assault rifles in the hands of so many. I remember when they were banned, briefly, at a time when I knew little about them, but now every single mass shooting we have recently endured has been carried out with assault rifles. An article from US News says this about them:
Guns modeled after the AR-15 assault rifle -- arguably the most popular, most enduring and most profitable firearm in the U.S. -- have become the weapon of choice for unstable, homicidal men who want to kill a lot of people very, very quickly.
The entire article is a very interesting read about the history of the gun culture in our country. I try to avoid reading about guns and have never fired one myself. My nephew Peter suggested going to a range while I was in Florida and firing his guns, but I declined. Just the thought of holding a lethal weapon in my hands feels antithetical to everything I believe in. And yes, I know that many of my readers are gun owners and aficionados, but I am not. The closest I ever got to a gun was when my dad came home from active duty in the Air Force and placed his gun on top of the refrigerator out of harm's way from his two young daughters. We (the daughters) pulled up a couple of chairs, peered at it, and looked long and hard at the gun and thought about touching it. But we never did.

Norma Jean has taken Peter up on his offer and he tells me she has good marksmanship. I hope I never get any closer to a gun than I did when I stared at Daddy's so long ago. With so many mass shootings occurring throughout this country, I realize that I might end up being a victim myself, I know that. But taking up arms does not seem like a proper solution to me. I don't know what might change our gun culture from what it is today, but either banning them or adding more into the world doesn't seem like a solution. What do you think?

In lieu of going to the rifle range in Florida, instead I went to Busch Gardens with Norma Jean and Peter and enjoyed a theme park for the first time in simply ages. I rode a roller coaster and got thrills and chills galore. Another ride that is designed for maximum scare takes you up hundreds of feet into the air, tips you face to earth, and then drops you terrifyingly fast towards the ground. I dreamt about it a couple of times, very vivid dreams. In one dream, nobody clipped me into the seat and I had to do it myself, and I worried that I had done it incorrectly. Someone yelled at me to tighten it up, and I tried but still felt I might slip out of the seat. The ride began its ascent and I was afraid when it tipped me toward the ground, but when it dropped, it very gently headed downward. Someone said I never got the parachute over my head so the ride was aborted. Parachute? Where did that come from? Dreams are strange; it felt so real at the time.

The extreme cold we have been experiencing the last week seems to be over for now. I just checked the weather, and we will remain constant throughout the day, with the temperature not going up or down from the current level of 42°F (5°C) all day long and into the night. I guess I can leave my long johns and down jacket behind today, as I head out into uncharted activity. The only thing on my agenda is heading to the coffee shop, as usual, and sharing a bagel with John while we sit and read on our tablets. We share funny or interesting articles with each other, usually with Gene as well, and then go our separate ways. It's a good way to spend a Sunday morning.

And with that, I have finished my post and will send you, my dear reader, a sincere wish that the coming week will bring us all good fortune and, if we have wind, that it will be at our backs.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. --William Arthur Ward
Be well until we meet again next week, and don't forget to hug your loved ones. It's good for us all.


Linda Reeder said...

I hope we are done with the snow and icy roads for a while.
I was actually a youth member of the NRA. My dad, who was a hunter, enrolled me in a target shooting class held in the old gym at our high school and drove me into town one evening a week for the six or so weeks of the class. I liked shooting the .22 rifle at targets, and was pretty good at it. I still have my Jr. Marksmanship medal around somewhere. I have done a little target shooting in my adult life, but not much.
I am not interested in arming myself, and I'm appalled at the push to arm teachers in our schools. This is wrong for so many reasons. I have been somewhat consumed by the guns in our culture issue this past ten days and have been involved in several debates on FB, which do no good, of course. But the arguments in favor of no restrictions on high capacity guns are so lacking in common sense that it disgusts me. I am happy to see that many businesses are now disassociating themselves from the NRA.
Students in Florida have organized the March For Our Lives campaign, and I have donated to their organization and hope to participate in the march in Seattle on March 24th. Maybe this time will bring change.

gigihawaii said...

Sounds like a nice week back home. I would prefer to see a garden than a rifle range.

Glenda Council Beall said...

My husband had a couple of handguns which are now mine. Before these military type guns became the guns of choice for murdering many people in just a few minutes I had no problem with ordinary people owning a gun. But no one needs these automatic murder machines. . I was a teacher and I know teachers should not have the extra responsibility of defending the kids. A handgun is no match for the automatic rifles. The teacher who steps out with a hand gun will simply be mowed down instantly. The deputy who did not go into the school alone with a handgun was no fool. I feel sure he was waiting for back up because he would have been killed and serve no purpose. These guns must be banned for the average person.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Well ...as you know I have a permit to carry and can shoot reasonably well. We live in the boonies...law enforcement is at least 20 minutes away or more. I will protect myself.
I don't get why everyone is so crazed about guns...how about Drunk Drivers or Opioids or abortion ...seems to me they kill many more people than guns. Lets ban liquor and opioids then we can talk about guns.
If that Coach that died protecting children with his body had been armed think of the children that would have been saved. Law Enforcement didn't sound so good in Florida either.
I guess it will be a debate for the ages...and some people will march...and the next school shooter will aim to kill more kids than the one before. One thing I noticed on the News is that they challenged girls...because they said it is always a male and usually under 25 years old.
Homeschooling may become more popular! I admit something has to be done to protect our children in schools...kids are not safe anyplace anymore...school used to be a safe place. Churches used to be safe...not so much anymore.

Rian said...

Djan, I think taking a walk/hike on a pretty day with friends is a wonderful way to start your day... as is having coffee with them on a Sunday morning.
As for the gun problem... I have no clue. Neither banning guns nor arming teachers is the answer IMO. There will always be crazy people and that the bad guys will always find a way. So what do we do? I really don't know... and it bothers me a bit that some are so sure that they know the answer. Personally I think that beyond *stricter gun controls* we have to figure out *how we got to this point*.

Marty Damon said...

In spite of the hunters on one side of the family - including a nephew with an excellent job at Smith & Wesson - I wish we could eliminate guns from the hands of our citizens. Look at the number of gun deaths in our country compared to other nations.

Marie Smith said...

I’m with you about guns! The only guns I’ve ever seen have been for hunting. Hand guns are not common here. Nor are automatic or semi-automatic weapons.

Have a great week, Jan.

Gigi said...

I abhor guns - but understand pistols and hunting rifles - and would never advocate for the banning of them. But the "machine" guns? Those are not meant to be in the hands of citizens. They are weapons of mass destruction, as evidenced by the news of late.

I'm so very glad that you are home safe and settling into your normal routine. Have a wonderful week, DJan. Sending hugs.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, First of all I wanted to thank you, as always, for your kind comments on my blog. I do look forward to your comments! I think we are pretty much on the same page when it comes to guns. I would like to see regulations preventing the sale of assualt weapons. Sadly, I expect things to get worse before they get better. I hope you have a happy week ahead and take good care! John

Red said...

You cover a wide territory in one post. The gun issue is one I just don't understand. the solution to the mass killings is some major gun legislation.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, to answer your question about guns, I do not think that arming everyone is the answer. All that will happen is that many will be killed in the crossfire and many killed when someone just keeps unreasonably angry at a party, etc., etc., The AR-15 rifle is for warfare. It can't be used for hunting as it would shred the animal being hunted. I wonder if for the NRA, it's okay to be a hunter of human beings. It seems ridiculous to me that anyone would think the 2nd amendment covers such weapons. We need to amend that amendment as we did with Prohibition and then no Prohibition or we many gun owners need to come to their rational senses and see that no one is trying to take from them their hunting rifles. Instead, we are trying to get rid of guns specially meant to shot repeatedly and decimate the "enemy." Peace.

Mage said...

Thank you so much for the lovely tale of your week, the movie, the frost and walk. I agree about the guns too.