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 23, 2020

Sometimes the magic works

Forest in July
I am a bit flummoxed about what I might write about this morning, since last week's Sunday post turned out to be such a big hit. I realize now that I cannot repeat it, and after spending a good long while rummaging through my pictures, wondering what to start this post with, I ran across this one, and it brought back to me all those wonderful hikes in the High Country that I've made with my friends over the years. I could be wrong, but I believe this is the trail to Church Mountain.

When we first moved here in 2008, I never expected to find such a great group of friends, people I've now known over the last dozen years, people who have become kindred spirits as well as fellow hiking partners. Although many who were there in 2008 are no longer hiking, that's to be expected when you are in a group of senior citizens. Fortunately, I am still able to join them on most hikes. There are a few I will probably not do again, ones that challenged me even a decade ago and now don't hold much interest for me. But I can still enjoy most of them, even if they seem harder than they once did. Life goes on.

My friend Lily is still in Guatemala with her ailing mother, and she will return early next month, if all goes well. Getting her back across the border should not be a problem, since she has a green card and a job waiting for her, but you just never know these days. In the back of my mind, there is a little worry that our government will find some reason not to let her back in. And although she has been here long enough to apply for citizenship, it has become prohibitively expensive: you need thousands of dollars that may or may not help. It was not always this hard.

And then there's my friend John. He finished all the tests his doctors ordered to see if his aggressive prostate cancer has spread. He sees his doctor to find out the results on Wednesday, which just happens to be the eve of his eightieth birthday. Some of his friends are gathering on Thursday, and as of now we don't know whether it will be to celebrate good news or not. At least the biopsy was able to catch the disease early, before any symptoms developed. I've got my fingers crossed.

Caring about friends and family is a side effect of loving them so much and hoping for the best. But to be truthful, the older I get, the more we suffer from the debilities of age and infirmity. It's part of life, and the only way to avoid suffering along with them is just not to care so much. That is one coping mechanism that I haven't seemed to master, and I'm not sure I even want to. Distractions are helpful, though; yesterday I curled up in my easy chair with a good book, and when I finished it, I streamed a movie on my laptop. Turning on the TV was a mistake, since there was nothing on but the Nevada caucus and the interminable talking heads. Sigh.

It's really raining outside right now; I can hear the rain drumming on the roof, and the wind blowing as well. We had several fabulous days of full sun and mild temperatures, but that is over for the moment. We expect plenty of rain today. Good thing I've got all the right rain gear for the weather, since I'll be heading out to the coffee shop as usual but will work out indoors, if at all. Sunday is usually my day off from trying to get my 10,000+ steps. I am such a creature of habit, though, if I don't at least walk around for a short bit, I feel like I'm cheating.

See? I told you I am uninspired this morning. There is nothing pressing in my life that I haven't already mentioned, and I don't have any wonderful stories to lift me up out of the moment. This is where I usually open a new tab and go looking for some relevant quote, but I cannot even do that, since I don't seem to have any focus. I even keep changing the title of the post, looking for the right one for the moment.

On that note, Chief Dan George played the part of Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man, a 1970 film that I have seen a few times and really enjoyed. There is a scene in the movie where Old Lodge Skins decides it's time to die.
Back at the Cheyenne camp, Jack accompanies Old Lodge Skins to a nearby hill, the Indian burial ground, where the old man, dressed in full chief's regalia, has declared "It is a good day to die," and decides to end his life with dignity. He offers his spirit to the Great Spirit, and lies down at his spot at the Indian Burial Ground to wait for death. Instead, it begins to rain. Old Lodge Skins is revealed to still be alive, and says, "Well, sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't." They return to his lodge to have dinner.
 That is as good as I'm able to do this morning, and it seems a fitting ending for this post. Yes, it's a bit on the lame side, but that's what you get this morning. I'm looking forward to having more to tell you next week, but until then, I always have to take this moment to give thanks for the great life I am able to enjoy right now in this moment, with you along with me on the journey. My dear partner still sleeps next to me, and I hope he will have a wonderful day, as well as you, dear reader. Until next week, I wish you all good things.


gigi-hawaii said...

That quote made me laugh. Imagine expecting to die at that very moment, but you don't. Instead, you get up and go home to eat. Haha.

Linda Reeder said...

While you may not feel inspired this morning, I am just fine with your ordinary "ho hum". For me it's that kind of a day. It's raining and that means an indoor day and time off from the heavy work we have been doing outside this week in the sunshine. As they say down on the farm, and I am still a farm girl in many ways, "Make hay while the sun shines".
Today we will do the house keeping we usually do on Mondays, so we can be back outside on Monday to finish up our big mulching job. We need to rest up for Wednesday, when we will leave early in the morning to get the light rail into the city for a full day of fun at the Northwest Flower and Garden Fest. Thursday evening we'll be at the stadium for a Sounders match in Champions League play and then Sunday is the Sounders season opener here.
We got our primary ballots in the mail this week, but I have no idea who I'll vote for. I might as well wait until after Super Tuesday to see who's still in the running. I'm afraid this will be another lost opportunity to see a woman in the White House. Sigh.
Have a good week. You may even get another dry hiking day!

William Kendall said...

Quite contemplative.

Elephant's Child said...

Your ordinary day sounds pretty special to me. I love the philosophy you bring to your life and to your posts.
I continue to hold Lily and John (and you) in my heart. And continue to envy your regular rain.

Rian said...

The story you told reminded me of a Greg and Dharma episode where Dharma takes in an old chief is ready to die. It is funny, sad, and a bit uplifting at the same time.
You are lucky to have found such a good group of friends to spend time with. I really hope Lily doesn't have any trouble getting back into the US. As things stand, I would worry too.
And as for John, I hope all goes well with him... will keep him in my prayers. DH has also only recently been diagnosed with this type of cancer.

Far Side of Fifty said...

love the story. One day my wonderful husband said he was going to give up and die. I said "Well then just walk down to the cemetery (a mile away) and lay down on the grave until you come to your senses"
One foot in front of the other. Sometimes it ain't easy.
I hope you have a good week. The sun is out again today, Far Guy is taking his afternoon nap, I am headed outside for some sun and then to crochet or the big sort.
My best to John. It is good to have friends to support you one way or the other.

Arkansas Patti said...

Loved that quote. What a bummer but had to laugh.
Please let us know about Lily. I hate that she may have to buck the system to get back into the country. Also let us know about John. Wishing both all the best. We have kind of gotten to know them through you and care what happens.

Gigi said...

Your posts are never "lame" to me. They always end with a smile and gratitude - both of which remind me to live with a smile and gratitude.

Have a wonderful week, my dear friend.

Marie Smith said...

My friend will be starting chemo then having surgery. It’s a long road ahead.

Hope John gets good news.

Red said...

I don't post every day so I don't have to panic and push things. Even then I have times that I don't know what to say. Anyway you mention some very important things in your post. You've made very good friends and kept them.

Anvilcloud said...

You do very thorough posts, but not much happens in many weeks. Such is life.

Rita said...

I hope Jon gets good news.
I love that scene in Little Big Man. Love that movie! One of the few I have seen more than once.
I hope Lily's return goes smoothly. She has had enough to deal with.
Have a great week. :)

Tabor said...

Life does go on and we have to roll with the punches. We have to, or we will curl up waiting for that last breath. I do find as I age, my sensitivities are stronger and I have to stop thinking and distract, distract.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, thank you for the updates on John and Lily. Please do let us know what his test results are. I've been keeping them both in my prayers. Peace.

Friko said...

Lame? Not in the least.
There is a German saying: not everyday is Sunday, we don’t have wine wine everyday . . . . .
It means that we are not on festive form every day, even when it is Sunday.

I always enjoy your meditations, they give such a clear and admirable insight into the person you are and the life you lead.
I hope those you love will stay with you for many years yet.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hello DJan from a fellow blogger who came for a visit after reading your comments on other blogger’s posts. I enjoyed reading this first to me post and plan to read others, although I may not comment on all. I also hope that your friend, John, receives encouraging news.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hello again, I forgot to ask in my earlier comment if it would be OK with you if I included a link to your blog on a sidebar on my blog. It helps me to easily return to blogs I enjoy reading and perhaps other fellow bloggers might enjoy too. Please feel free to let me know in a comment or by an email reply. It has been enjoyable “meeting” you through your earlier posts.