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, May 20, 2012

Ring of Fire 2012

From Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Today we will have the first solar eclipse of the century visible to those of us in the United States. The map above shows what parts of the country will see it best, and I've learned that even here in the northern part of Washington, we should see 83% of it. Wikipedia has a really good link with everything you might want to know about it. It tells me that the last annular eclipse was in May 1994. The meaning of an "annular" eclipse is that it occurs when the moon's orbit passes relatively far away from the earth, so when it moves in front of the sun, a "ring of fire" remains around the moon.

Unfortunately for me, I've also learned from those two links that my chances of seeing anything at all is very low. After weeks of cloudless weather, they have returned today, Sunday, just in time to obscure any view I might have had. The Cliff Mass link gives the probability of cloud cover in our area around 6:44pm when it will begin. Sigh.

But anybody who follows these celestial events knows that you don't have to SEE it to enjoy it, or to be affected by it. Sometimes I think of how it must have seemed to people when they didn't know it was coming. We know all about it, but they must have thought the world was coming to an end. The world I live in is connected in ways that would have seemed like magic to them. In fact, this blog post I'm writing right now will be available to anyone with a computer in a very short while. How much like magic that seems to me, even today.

Yesterday I spent the entire day skydiving. It was the fourth time I've gone to Snohomish for the activity so far this year, and the difference between the way I felt yesterday and the first jumps of the season last month is surprising to me. The day after I made those first two jumps, I was sore from packing, climbing outside the airplane, and flying my parachute. Even though I get a fair amount of exercise, it's such a different usage of my muscles that I felt tired and sore. Yesterday I made twice as many jumps and packed for myself all four times and this morning (so far anyway) I feel just fine.

On Thursday I went with the Trailblazers on a long drive to hike part of the way around Baker Lake. I wrote about it here, and I was plenty sore after somewhere around twelve miles and a 150-mile car trip (75 miles each way). When I tried to climb out of the car, it took me quite a few moments to get things going again. But again, I woke the following morning and headed off to my exercise class, with a bit of stiffness but nothing major.

Friday was the only day between these two events. What amazes me is that I am capable of such activity at my age. It not only makes me wonder how long I can keep this up, but what I am doing right that allows it? I know people much younger than me who couldn't possibly have done these two things in a three-day period, even if they wanted to. Most people don't want to skydive, and a whole lot of people don't want to walk such distances. But I do, and as long as I can manage to drag these old bones out to play, I will.

It must be related to the old adage, "use it or lose it." I could not have begun with such a long trek, but now it's been a weekly activity for almost four years. And as I noticed with the skydiving activity, I'm getting accustomed to jumping again after the winter's layoff. Whatever the reason, I'll take it. Right now, on this day of the Ring of Fire, I'm grateful to be here on the planet, interested and involved in the world, even if I'm not exactly leaping out of bed yet.  Once I hit "publish," I'll get up and start my day. Watch the Ring of Fire if you can!


Rubye Jack said...

I think you nailed it with "use it or lose it". It's all in your attitude combined with habit. The times I've been successful at hiking on a regular basis were when I was in a good place and able to get out enough times to make it habit.

Thanks goodness you said something about the ring of fire. Otherwise, I would have been thinking the world is ending because I had no idea. I didn't hear a thing on our local news last night. Maybe don't believe in eclipses here in Oklahoma.

Linda Myers said...

Practice, and a good weight, and good genes!

Linda Reeder said...

It's raining here now. I think our chances of seeing the eclipse are slim to none. But it will still get dark, and then light again, since sunset is about 8:45 now.
I remember the last eclipse, having it get dark in the middle of the day. Yes, if we didn't know the science behind it, we would all be freaked. Thank you for science and technology.
I am reveling in my new mobility, but I am not where you are. Could I be? I'm not sure.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

"Use it or lose it" ...That and the fact that you are one of the wonders of the world.

Rita said...

I'm too far away to see it, but I will try and see pictures afterwards online.

I think you are so right! Use it or lose it. That's why I am losing it--LOL! I try to keep my mind busy so I don't lose that, too. ;)

You are an amazing woman and inspirational to so many people. Keep climbing and jumping, lady!! :):):)

Anonymous said...

Have you had a bone density test done yet? I would be interested in knowing the results. They say that bones improve with weight bearing exercise, so I would be surprised if you don't have great bones, DJan.

Sally Wessely said...

I agree with the "use it our lose it" remark. I think that you are a shining example of that. We live in an interesting time for so many reasons. I love how you remind us of that.

Bragger said...

You are my inspiration!

Gigi said...

It doesn't look as if we will be able to see the eclipse here on the East Coast. But that's okay, because I'll probably be asleep before it happens anyway. So I will just use this magical box to find the pictures tomorrow.

*Note to self: Start using it, before you lose it!

Red said...

Once again good on you for maintaining a high level of activity. Along with that comes some type of mental toughness to keep you in the game. "Keep on truckin!)

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I think you keep up because you stay active. that's the key to it.
You have taken a good path so just carry on.

Jackie said...

You amaze me...and inspire me, Jan. As you continue your hiking and skydiving, I know that you enjoy both. I take pleasure in knowing that you are happy being out in nature (land and sky) and that you are good at it. Keep trekking!

Dianne said...

don't question it, just keep on enjoying it
you're my heroine you know :)

Dee said...

Dear DJan, you continue to astound. Thank you for your enthusiasm. It keeps beckoning me to do more, but so far, I haven't done anything, partly from the stress fracture in my foot and partly from pure, unadulterated laziness.

As to the "ring of fire" and the ancients, I thought of that when Mount St. Helena erupted back in the early '80s or maybe the late '70s. To the ancients that surely would have meant that the gods were angry.


Trish said...

Habit, attitude, exercise, eating well, attitude, attitude...You've got it all, DJan!

Robert the Skeptic said...

I find that if I don't go to the gym every couple of days, I get incredibly stiff.

I saw a Reddit post, the eclipse from Oregon... it was a picture of the clouds. *laughs*

CrazyCris said...

I too am amazed by all the activity you do! But I'm a firm believer in the "use it or lose it" so keep it up!!! ;o)