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, November 17, 2013

Warts and all

Winter wonderland
I hope the fact that I cannot think of a title for this post is not indicative of how it will go as I try to write my Sunday morning post. I'm not sure what you will see up there when I'm finished, but for now it's "Post title is escaping me." I woke just before my regular time, with the feeling that I need to organize my thoughts. That picture? It was one I took by accident last Thursday, when my camera clicked unexpectedly as I was putting it away. The picture was 45 degrees off level, but I learned that my new operating system, just installed, also upgraded iPhoto and where before it would only correct about 15 degrees, I was able to straighten this one all the way.

I use the "straighten" feature on iPhoto all the time, since it seems I almost never take a picture without a two-degree list to the right. Once I download my photos, I make the horizon level and fix the exposure if needed. Pictures taken with my cellphone are a little better, but even though I use the helpful grid to indicate level, they still list to the right. About the only time I don't have to correct is when someone else takes the picture, so it's something about the way I hold the camera. Is my right arm attached lower than the left? I doubt it. I notice in pictures of myself, I often have my head tilted, so the world must not look normal to me straight on.

I'm reading two books at once right now. Both of them are really fascinating but neither one is the kind of book you can't put down. My sister was reading one and another blogger recommended the other. I've seen Neil deGrasse Tyson on TV before, but I had never picked up any of his numerous books. This one is Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries. It's a collection of essays written by an astrophysicist; who would have guessed that it would be interesting? But it really is, and he makes me think and occasionally smile as I read it.

The other book, completely different, is written by Dan Koeppel, To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifelong Obsession. I started reading it yesterday and find it very fascinating to learn about the world of birding, or "listers" as they call themselves. My blogging friend Red wrote a review of the book on his blog, so I went right over to my online library app and placed a hold on it. Someone else was obviously reading it, because it took a couple of weeks. When the email appeared in my inbox, I had forgotten why I had ordered that particular book, but once I picked it up, I remembered Red's book review. I haven't gotten to some of the parts Red mentions, which he refers to as "warts and all." If you describe or show someone or something warts and all, you do not try to hide the bad things. I wonder if Dan Koeppel's father is still alive and has read the book.

Ah, there it is: the correct title of this post: "Warts and all." That's what you get when you read this blog, because I don't think I've hidden any of the uncomfortable facts about myself. Of course, this blog has been going on now for several years, and nobody goes back and reads old posts, not very often anyway. When I first started writing here, I began by chronicling the events of my life that have led me to this place, to right here, tapping away on my laptop in a small apartment in Bellingham, Washington on a dark Sunday morning. I distinctly remember cringing as I composed some of the early posts. Warts and all. But there is so much more than the bad and the uncomfortable, which are part of every single person's life.

I was walking somewhere yesterday, and I felt myself smiling for no good reason. I just felt like smiling, the sun was even peeking out every now and then from behind a cloud, and it felt good to be alive. But it was a little surprising to find myself walking along the street (I was on my way to the library, I remember now) with a spring in my step and a smile on my face without any particular reason for it. There are times when I feel low for no good reason, too. I like this side of the equation better, but if I could only remember that it's all ephemeral and ride the waves, the ups and downs with equanimity, maybe this state of ebullience would last longer.

One of my warts is my tendency toward worrying about every little thing. My sister has often told me, when I would be recounting to her some nebulous concern or other, that worry is a misuse of the imagination. While that may be true, and I can attest to the fact that most of the things I worry about never come to pass, is it possible to simply stop? I doubt it, but maybe that's because I consider myself to be a world-class worrier. I come from a long and distinguished line of worriers, after all. My sister herself is not immune, but it's different when you're listening to someone else's concerns. It's easy to stand back and see the larger picture.

However, the worry that I had when I began this post has evaporated. I've been able to find a balance between what I have to say and what comes out of my brain so that I can get it all down, and my Sunday morning routine has begun. First the tea, then the post, and soon I'll get up and start the rest of my day. Thinking about all my blogging friends and how much you add to my life reminds me that I've got a few new posts to read, to find out how my online community is faring, warts and all.


Deb Shucka said...

Great post, DJan! I've read Every Bird and loved it a lot. I like knowing you've read it and loved it, too. I like you, warts and all. :-)

The Broad said...

I enjoyed your post very much. Love the picture -- it's hard for me to imagine living here, snow so early in the year.

As for worrying -- my advice is don't worry about it!!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I am a worrier also, and I am always relieved when the event I dreaded fails to happen. Lol. It's called an Anxiety Attack, which is almost as bad as a heart attack. Lol.

Linda Myers said...

A couple of things:

I have a quote by Mark Twain on my computer monitor: "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."

World-class worrier, huh? Me, too. I woke up terrified this morning about an issue that's not mine. I should stick to my own business.

Rian said...

DJan, we all worry. What is important is that we not *dwell* on it. My dad taught me as a young girl not to worry by telling me that if you "think about it too much, you will cause it to happen..." (I was worried about polio which was prevalent at the time). He scared me right out of that worry pretty quick.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

We all worry, but I'm another of those who worry about things that are probably unlikely to happen, and I can make myself as unhappy as if they were happening right now. Just last night, Peter had to remind me that the computer problems I had last week weem to have been resolved and yes, it was frustrating but now it's OVER. (I hope.) I think analytical people tend to be the worriers, since our jobs and general outlook have us seeking the flaws, the typos, the "warts" in life.

Mersad said...

So happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I often think about the lives my blogger friends lied, and what they must be doing at this very moment.

Arkansas Patti said...

I'm certain I don't worry enough. Being Pollyanna'ish and a professional optimist has its drawbacks also. I will probably be thinking, "this too shall pass" as a sink hole sucks me and my recliner into its depths.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I am a new reader of your blog. I should have known, that finding you on Saucykodz's (Lilly's) blog, you would be a great person to get to know.
I also read your previous post..about your son, Chris, and a bit about Veterans Day, which I skipped posting about. I was a Marine's wife for 43 years. I say that because "once a Marine, always a Marine."
I lost my daughter, Sandra, on February 22 of this year. I am doing alright but I totally lose it at times. When I read about your Chris..I felt she was right at my shoulder. I completely understand how you feel. This is not a good year for me.
Take care. I shall return.

Sally Wessely said...

I have a hard time believing that you are the worrying type. It is comforting to me to know that you also participate in that mind boggling activity that gets one nowhere. We all love you, warts and all. We love you because you let us know the real you!

Have a great week. Thanks for always being consistent and writing this Sunday morning blog.

Cynthia said...

I've always liked the saying that goes something like this:
Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere! A worrier from way back, I try to remind myself of this when I find my mind dwelling on something worrisome.

Gigi said...

You do not strike me as a worrier. But then again, I used to think of myself as one who didn't worry. Only to discover lately, that I do!I try to tell myself not to borrow trouble...but I can't help myself sometimes; particularly in moments of upheaval and uncertainty.

But those moments when you find yourself happy and walking with a spring in your step for no reason at all? Those are the best.

Hope you have a glorious week ahead; with no worries.

Red said...

The total of all are experiences is what makes us. We all commit some errors. Young males can do some pretty dumb things as they think they are invincible. We also do some great things. Your feeling on top of the world and down in the dumps reminded me of our life and things that contribute to who we are.
So I'm sure that the rest of your day was fine.

Anonymous said...

Reading is a good habit, but i don't have so.

Tree covered with snow looks great. So you will experience a very cold climate.

Mel said...

Lovely picture! Thanks for the book recommendations and the quote from your sister - worry is a misuse of imagination. I'm going to try to remember that. Have a great week.

Rita said...

Warts and all! :) Took note of the books.
I tend to be optimistic about most things, but then have my specific themes that can start my worry engine...even though I know it's a pointless waste of time and try to shut it off. I am discovering that I am becoming more successful with the suppression of a majority of my worry triggers the older I get...but the triggers are deeper when they do go off...closer to my core...if that makes any sense. I don't sweat the small stuff as much, I guess. ;)
I especially love your Sunday posts!

Anonymous said...

We all have beauty and warts... it is good for the heart and soul to be transparent with those who are 'safe.' I'm a Seattle blogger, I've created a co-op for Pacific NW Bloggers on my site, I hope you'll come by and join.. love to have you! At this link: http://www.theviewfromrighthere.com/blog/?page_id=10805

Friko said...

Your sisters phrase about worrying is perfect.
I am another of these worryguts, forever fretting over something.

Would it be any good to allow a daily worry slot? Say 30 minutes at most. Afterwards, put the worry away and wait for the next day’s entitlement.

Must try it some time.

Stella Jones said...

I didn't have you down as a worrier, D-Jan. I suppose we all worry more than we let on. It's a useless occupation, isn't it? It doesn't achieve anything at all except to make us feel out of sorts.

Linda Reeder said...

I did not picture you as a worrier either. It surprises me. But it also comforts me that someone so together can suffer from the same affliction that I do.
I don't have mindless worry, but I do worry about things over which I have no control.
We've been dealing with a steady stream of issues with Jill's new old house and there is just too much to worry about, so I try instead to just problem solve and be as helpful as I can be.
I see you as a beautiful person. What warts?

Far Side of Fifty said...

Warts and all...around these parts they say "if you worry why pray and if you pray why worry" It is easier said than done. I am married to a worrier...:(
I hope you are having a good week:)

Unknown said...

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