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, March 16, 2014

Last week of winter

This is a picture of the pretty boy I have been feeding. As you can see, he's not starving or anything. But it sure makes me happy to watch him eat and then clean his face before hopping up into my lap and purring away as I pet him. He often is waiting for me when I come out the back door to feed him, which pleases me, even when he's too skittish to get into my lap for a pet or two. I have also stopped feeding him milk or cream, since my blogging friends informed me it's not good for cats. Who would have guessed? Certainly not me.

My neighbor Carol works late and odd hours, and she told me that when she gets home late at night she'll go out to the back porch and he will come when she calls. So he's quite a well socialized kitty. I've been told he's also been neutered, which is a good thing, considering the large number of feral cats around here. It should keep him from getting into cat fights. That's my hope, anyway.

The first day of spring will be this coming Thursday, with the Spring Equinox happening at 9:57am PDT. I know this because of one of my favorite websites, timeanddate.com, which I use fairly often when wanting to know something like the time of the equinox, or how many days there are between events, and other interesting tidbits. You might find it useful yourself. I'll be out hiking with my friends when the equinox occurs.

It's raining here right now, but the signs of spring are everywhere. We're accustomed to rain in this part of the country, and the temperatures have been on the mild side. I've been reading on my blogging family's sites that even in frigid Minnesota and North Dakota the temperatures (and snow levels) are moderating. As the days get longer and the nights shorter, as well as the rays of the sun become stronger, it's inevitable. Even though each season is only three months long, it sure does seem as though winter takes up more of the year than summer does. Maybe it's because during the summer months, we have the doors and windows open and we don't have to bundle up before going outside.

I'll be leaving for southern California in a little more than two weeks from now. I've been starting to plan for the trip, making shuttle reservations to the airport, getting my parachute down to the Drop Zone to have the reserve parachute repacked and inspected, renting a car and the like. I found out from my friend Gene at the coffee shop that Costco has a travel section and that I should be able to get a rental car at a cheaper rate. He was right! I saved myself almost $50 over the original price I was quoted through Orbitz, so that was a good move. This will not be a cheap vacation, but I figure since it's likely to be my last visit to Elsinore for a skydiving vacation, I won't worry about costs. My friend Frankie, with whom I shared expenses last year, is not going to attend, so I'll be paying for everything. I decided I didn't want to share a room with a stranger, even though last year meeting Frankie (who doesn't snore and was a perfect roommate) was a good experience. No sense pushing my luck.

I know many of my blogging family don't believe that I'm actually hanging up my skydiving gear, but it's true. I can feel it happening, and it's appropriate and even a bit of a relief. There's no doubt that skydiving is an extreme sport, and although going to places where I can skydive with my older peers is fun and exciting, everything needs to be allowed to fall away when the time comes. It's taken quite a few years for me to come to this place, and I've been skydiving for 24 years now. Starting when I was 47, I never would have believed I would STILL be indulging in this habit today. And it truly is an indulgence; when you are living on Social Security, you're not usually trying to figure how to eke out enough money for a skydive or two. That is part of what makes going to these Skydiving Over Sixty events so much fun: I realize that I'm not alone.

One of my blogging friends, Arkansas Patti over at The New Sixty, suggested when I wrote about all my recent health issues, that I'm in a period of "boils and sores," which we go through sometimes in life. It really resonated with me, after having lost my sister, caught a terrible cold, then developing a sinus infection and an infected finger. A period of difficulties, that's for sure. Now that I am on the upswing, I can see how tough the last six weeks has been. It also helps to see the days increase in length. The garden is beginning to call me, although the last nice day we had I was hiking in the woods with the Trailblazers. Today it will rain all day, so I won't be heading out there, but it's coming, I can feel it calling me.

Once I get my knees in the breeze, I might forget all about the garden. But I just don't think so. There's a shift happening within me, and it feels just right. I do hope that the weather is beginning to release its winter grip on your part of the country and that you are feeling that sense of spring renewal. And oh yes, don't forget to wear some green tomorrow, St. Patrick's Day!


Linda Reeder said...

DJan, there is a children's book that you should look into called "Six Dinner Sid". Sid is a cat with multiple "owners".
The garden is calling me too, and I can't respond and it is really bugging me. I will get a report card from the surgeon this week as to whether or not I am behaving myself and healing properly. I am nervous about it because I have probably been doing too much.
Today, since it is raining, I will be helping Tom in the greenhouse, transplanting seedlings. I should be able to handle that, but it is tedious and something I usually avoid since Tom rather enjoys it. The list of chores is long for him since I can't help.
My kitty is sitting on the other desk chair by the computer next to me. She is recovering too, having apparently blown out her other back leg "knee" now. She's pretty gimpy, but apparently not in pain. We spent a lot of time together. I think she's depressed too. Misery loves company.

troutbirder said...

There is indeed a time and place and you've had a great run. I've reflected and felt loss of some of my favorite hobbies due to a faulty knee and the aging process. But giving up upland game, bow and arrow deer, tennis and wilderness canoeing in each case eventually lead to new interests like birding, photography/hiking, overseas travel and flower gardening. Thus the time was right. I feel sure with your adventurous spirit DJ you be the same...:)

Deb Shucka said...

Reading this made me really miss you. I love your spirit, your sense of adventure and your reflective nature. So glad you have a kitty in your life - there's nothing quite so satisfying or entertaining as feline affection. I look forward to following you on the next leg of your path, without skydiving, but I'm sure with something just as amazing. Just like you.

Anonymous said...

That's funny, wearing green. David is half Irish and Koreans are considered the Irish of the Pacific. So I guess we both should wear green tomorrow. I do have a green muumuu in the closet.

Elephant's Child said...

Whatever is right for you. I will miss hearing about your sky-diving, but that is me. And I am sure that other things (obsessions?) will fill its place.
Here on the other side of the world it is nearly cool enough for me to garden again. And the garden needs it. Big time.
Some cats seem to digest milk better than others. One of ours adores it, and every couple of days he gets a teaspoon or so - and shows no ill effects. The other considers milk poison.

Linda Myers said...

Sounds like you're ready for whatever comes along.

Joyful said...

Hi DJan, I'm fairly new to your blog and didn't know you were a skydiver. This is always something I thought I would do but never did...too busy working and taking care of extended family. I am wondering how fit do you have to be to be a skydiver (I'm thinking dropping onto the ground and needing to run and the impact on joints). Also at what age do you think it is too late to start? I know the answers are probably not cut and dried but it would give me some idea. Enjoy your vacation.

Sally Wessely said...

You have through a lot in the past six weeks. You are really moving on to a new time in your life. Skydiving will soon be a distant memory. I think it is good that you quit when you knew it was right for you.

Does one say, enjoy the last week of winter? That almost seems odd given the winter we've had, but then again, each day counts, so I'm going to say "May the last days of winter be good to you." Enjoy your vacation.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I somehow don't think skydiving will leave your life - and that you will leave it behind. You're a Sadge. This is your nomadic self. If you do give it up, then perhaps some other form of travel will take its place - out of body travel, perhaps?

amanda said...

I've been thinking of you & your garden, DJan, and how I look forward to it. I smile when I think of you snacking on nasturtiums. :)
I'm loving the added light each day and so glad you're on the upswing after a difficult late winter.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, your posting today was, as always, philosophical. You make me think and I'm grateful for that. Like you, I'm making decisions about what I'm going to hold to and what I'm going to let go of. And it does, as you say, feel freeing.

I am surprised that you are letting go of skydiving. I wonder if the decision came like a sudden dream or did you mull and muse and look at pros and cons.

This growing older brings with it health issues, but you have always exercised both your mind and your body and so these latter years of our lives will be, I hope, filled with new possibilities and gifts. Peace.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Hmm. My garden is still buried under several feet of snow, and the garden center where I bought everything for the past 30 years has closed. So I'm not quite thinking about it just yet, but that time will come! Glad you are feeling comfortable with the path you have chosen...and of course you did say you can always change your mind if you decide to jump again.

Far Side of Fifty said...

It sounds like you are ready...and I am sure you have thought it through. I hope this last trip is all you hope fore and that are your landings are safe and soft.
Of course with every streses you have had in the past months...I would just take it one day at a time.
Does that kitty have a name...male kittys are usually way more friendly than their counterparts. Good to hear you are done feeding the milk:)

Rita said...

I'm glad you aren't giving him milk or cream. He is a handsome fellow and I'm glad he has his village of people to take care of him. ;)

I think you know when it's the right time. You've sounded like you've been heading towards this decision now for quite some time. You will enjoy you last year to the hilt, I think.

You have hikes, walks, the gym, movies...and the garden will be calling. You will be very busy--even if you aren't jumping out of planes. :)

Anonymous said...

Pet animals are always company for us. Nice to see you kitty. Nice to hear about the rain! Take care of your health!

Glenda Beall said...

Although I am behind in leaving my comment, DJan, I am here and I enjoyed this post - well, except for your making the decision to give up the skydiving. I know you love it and it must be hard to quit. I was that way about horseback riding. From the time I was a very small child, I loved to be on a horse and I had one horse for 32 years. But I could not get up on a horse now and the last time I rode I had to be helped off, then held up as my knees had no strength.
So now I look at those beautiful creatures and remember wonderful rides, dear friends who rode with me and the great times my husband and I had riding together. You will continue to enjoy life because you are a person who appreciates what she has and what she has had. Enjoy spring and your pretty cat.