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 4, 2018

The rain just won't stop

Pussy willows
I was walking home from the bus yesterday and saw the first signs of spring beginning to emerge. These pretty pussy willows caught my eye, a sure sign that we are now through the darkest days of winter. Two days ago, we had Groundhog Day, February 2, the day right between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. I also notice that there are green shoots of daffodils sprouting out of the ground in many places. It would be nice to capture some of the signs of spring, but it's raining again.

This rain is more than I remember from years past, but it's probably more likely that my memory is selective. Usually, though, we will have respite from the rain with blue skies and fluffy white clouds interspersed between the periods of rain. Not this year. Fortunately for me, tomorrow afternoon I'll arrive in Florida and will have more than a week of sunny weather to enjoy with my sister and nephew. By this time on Tuesday, I'll have had at least one lap swim at sunrise in the outdoor pool at my sister's Y. Everything is packed and I'm ready for a change.

It's been fourteen months since I was in Florida. It was December 2016 when I last visited, and I decided then it would be better to visit later in the winter; it was so hot, mostly in the 90-degree (32°C) range for the entire visit, and I wilted like a fragile flower in the heat. But now it's in the 70s and sunny, simply perfect. Florida had a couple of cold spells last month, but they are behind us for at least the upcoming week. I might have to "endure" a day or two in the low 80s. The forecast for here is, you guessed it, more rain.

I'm hoping that we will all stay healthy for the rest of the season. This is a very bad flu that's going around, and I'll be carrying wet wipes and trying to keep myself from getting sick from the close proximity to others while traveling. I had a scare earlier this week when I woke on Wednesday with a sore throat, thinking it was the prelude to the flu, or at least a cold. But within a couple of days, the worst I suffered was fatigue and some chest congestion, but not even the sniffles. It worried me that I would be sick just in time for my vacation and would bring my sister an unwanted present from the Pacific Northwest. Hopefully that will not be the case. It seems that the flu is more prevalent all along the East Coast, including Florida, with only moderate outbreaks here at present. There's not much more I can do to protect myself.

When I first felt the onset of the bug, I went to the local wellness store to get advice as to what I might be able to take to get over it more quickly, and I learned about oil of oregano and bought a bottle of capsules (Gaia brand). And of course then I went online to find out all I could about how it works. Apparently it's a bit of a wonder cure:
Oregano oil is one of the best natural remedies if your immune system is under attack by a cold virus, the flu, respiratory infections, or any other illnesses. This is due to its expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties. 
Well, I don't know if it really helped me get better, but I didn't get any worse. There's no way to tell how I might have recovered without it, since there's only one of me to test it. I'll take the rest of the capsules with me and maybe I'll be able to offer it to Norma Jean in case we have any other unwelcome symptoms during the week.

For one thing, we are continuing to get older, with all the concomitant hazards that come with aging. I have reached (according to some studies) the middle-old age group.
The older adult population can be divided into three life-stage subgroups: the young-old (approximately 65–74), the middle-old (ages 75–84), and the old-old (over age 85). Today's young-old age group is generally happier, healthier, and financially better off than the young-old of previous generations.
There are other breakdowns of the period of old age, which you can read all about here, but this is the one that resonates with me. It's true that once you reach middle-old age, things begin to break down more quickly, and you realize there's only one direction to travel. Our hike leader has been absent for more than a month now because of heart problems, and I see many people I've known for a decade beginning to slide from vigorous health to frailty. Many of the hikers who were energetic and enthusiastic when I joined them a decade ago are no longer active. And I know it's just a matter of time before I join them. Meanwhile, I'll keep going as long as I can.

And there's still so much to look forward to! I've geared myself up for a voyage, and it's going to be a lot of... whatever it becomes. It's always restorative for me to be with my sister, my lifelong companion, and I'm grateful that I have the chance to travel from coast to coast in this wonderful country. Just the thought of my upcoming trip makes me smile.

And I'll be thinking of all my friends in the blogosphere while I play in the sun and the water for the next week. I'll be writing from my sister's home then, with hopefully lots of adventures to share. Be well until next week, and don't forget to be grateful for all that we share. Thank you.
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. --Meister Eckhart
Oh, and one more thing: (click to enlarge)


Linda Reeder said...

I'm really glad that wasn't the flu that tried to attack you last week. I have been doing much more hand washing these days whenever I go anywhere that is not home.
It looks like another dreary day is dawning here this Sunday. But the forecast for the week does look mostly DRY! Yay! We'll be going into the city twice this week and it would be great not to have to scurry around in the rain.
Have a great trip. We'll look forward to your posts from Florida.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I will look for some Oregano can't hurt. We both enjoyed the cartoon...it was perfect for us this Sunday morning.
I hope you have avoided the horrid cold that I had, I tried to fight it off for about four days before it cam e on like gangbusters. They say it lasts a month...I am on week three. When you are soaking up that sunshine think of me. It was -27 here this morning :(

Marie Smith said...

🙂 Love the cartoon. Have a safe journey and a wonderful week!

Gigi said...

Glad you didn't get sick. The Husband and I have been trading the same cold back and forth for about a month now. *Knock on wood* I think we've finally beaten it.

It's rainy and cold here. But the forecast is calling for sun tomorrow - but still cold.

Have a safe trip and enjoy that Florida weather!

I saw that comic in the paper this morning and loved it.

Arkansas Patti said...

As long as you don't have a fever, you are good. Seventy might be cool for Floridians but perfect for you. Have a wonderful visit, enjoy those healing rays and loving visit with your sister.

Rian said...

DJan, have a wonderful visit with your sister. Glad your sore throat didn't turn into anything worse. Do try to avoid picking up something traveling... but happy that you don't let that fear keep you from enjoying your life. Loved the cartoon!

Red said...

If you stop and think about we've lost many friends and acquaintances. Our skating group is very vigorous but in 20 years we've lost many.

Tabor said...

I have a BIG trip coming up at the end of this week and having attended a 'cheer' session with lots of parents and young ones I am holding my breath to stay as healthy as possible so I can at least be healthy enough to catch something on my upcoming cruise. That cartoon was the best!!

Galen Pearl said...

So glad you commented on my blog because I clicked back to find your wonderful blog!! How lovely. I just spent some time reading some of your story. What a remarkable person you are! And a model for all of us. Thanks for your inspiration. Enjoy your trip and thanks for the cartoon!

The Furry Gnome said...

Have a wonderful week! Think of us up here in the snowy north!

Rita said...

I am glad to be in the young-old category, I guess, but I feel like I have reached the deterioration stage already--LOL! Thanks for the tip on oregano oil. Never heard of that one and it sounds helpful for the immune system. Have a wonderful time. Be safe. Enjoy!! :)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, This post makes me happy and yet, at the same time, a little afraid. Well, I'm happy to be in the 'young-old' category, but afraid of such a short time left there. All is made well by the pearl of wisdom you included at the end. Thank you for that ... may I share it on my blog too? As I'm writing this I'll bet you are on your way to SeaTac for that flight to Florida. I hope your day of travel goes smoothly and I hope you have a wonderful visit with your sister. Enjoy that warm weather too! See you next Sunday! John

Dee said...

Dear DJan, thank you for the info on the three tiers/stages of old age. I'm in the middle one and it's so true that one's health begins to deteriorate. But this new journey brings with it new realizations that I'm treasuring.

Thank you for the cartoon strip. The wisdom therein is another treasure.

By now--when I'm typing this--you have been swimming and have done your lap--or more! Hope you feel fresher and energized and that any vestige of your sniffles and congestion is long gone.


C-ingspots said...

Oh my gosh, the rain!! Been driving me nuts this year, because like you said, it just doesn't stop. :( Wreaking havoc with my psyche and well-being on so many levels. *sigh* But, I'm so happy to hear you're visiting your sister in sunny Florida! That will do you a world of good. Just protect your health with everything you've got, because this year's flu/cold, whatever it is, is indeed a bad one. For the last couple months I've been struggling to rid myself of this cold thing, but it just keeps hanging on. Gets better, comes back, nagging cough remains. And I never get sick, or get bugs. Just sayin' - whatever might help, do it. Thanks for the tip on the oregano oil. Will do my research on that. Like you said, couldn't hurt.
Be well dear friend, and most of all, have fun and enjoy the companionship of your dear sister. Come back glowing from the kiss of the sun...maybe spring will have arrived by then. Love to you DJan!

The Furry Gnome said...

I'm trying hard not to catch that flu or a cold. Mrs. F.G. Is threatening to keep me in isolation until the big surgery next week.

Mage said...

That's it...laugh as much as you can.