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, April 13, 2014

Sure feels good to be home

Ward, Linda, Karen, Carol, Diane, me, Peggy (Al's photo)
A week ago I was sitting in my hotel room at Lake Elsinore, halfway through the Masters Skills Camp and with the World Record attempt to make the largest formation of women skydivers over sixty (WSOS) still ahead of me. We did make that record, nine of us, and we had a great time doing it, too. It was a fine way to finish last week's skydiving. But it's just wonderful to be home.

I spent Tuesday at the hotel just resting up from my exertions, and I discovered the hotel had a laundry I could use. It was nice to be able to wash all my clothes before packing them for my return trip. Everything was covered with a fine layer of dust. Although my landings were much better than I experienced last October, I still had grit on my clothes and sand between my toes. And it was so hot! That last night I went out to dinner with my friends, new and old, and when we parted, I wished them all well in the larger formation record attempts they were beginning the next morning. The SOS record is sixty, and as of this morning they have still not broken that record. Today is the last day they have to try. I can barely imagine how tired they all must be; they have made four attempts daily to join up 72 skydivers for the last four days. Each time something happened to keep them from the record.

For me, I only made 11 skydives and I was very tired. I've got my fingers crossed that they will make it today. But for me, I'm happy to be here, picking up the threads of my own life. I arrived home Wednesday evening after a day of travel, and the next morning I drove to the Senior Center to join my friends for a hike up to Oyster Dome. Although this is a hard hike, 11 of us were up for the challenge. It was simply wonderful to be back with my friends again. Al took that picture of us as we basked in the sunshine at Lily Lake. You can see from the way we are dressed that it wasn't warm, but that sun felt just wonderful. I was just happy to be getting back into my old routine.

Yesterday was another sunny day, with the temperature getting up to 60 deg F (15 C). A light jacket was all I needed to be very comfortable as I joined 18 other women for our early morning walk. I couldn't help but smile and grin as we kept a brisk pace; we walked more than five miles and then sat around the coffee shop and visited. Peggy and Linda (from the Senior Trailblazers) got me started with this group, and they were both there yesterday, too.

Afterwards I went off to Joe's Garden to buy some starts and seeds for my garden. It was packed with like-minded gardeners as I perused what was available. I bought garlic starts, since I didn't have any planted. They will be available to eat in midsummer. Also broccoli, beets, mint (for the community garden), and two kinds of lettuce. I also bought purple carrot seeds. They will go into the ground today, another sunny day. The weather here right now could not be better, but the rain will return Tuesday, which should be perfect for my garden.

Do I sound contented? Well, I am; I wake every morning with a smile on my face, glad to be home and enjoying the natural air conditioning of the Pacific Northwest. I guess I'm a bit like a flower that thrives in cool conditions. When the plane took off from southern California, I looked down at the brown landscape and the smog over Los Angeles. In a few short hours, Seattle appeared as we descended through fluffy white clouds, and I saw the incredible green of my home, with the sparkling water of Puget Sound in sharp contrast to the dry desert I had left behind.

Yes, this is where I belong, where I am thriving and enjoying life to the fullest. It's nice to visit other places just to come back home and appreciate the natural beauty of this area. The only reason everyone is not flocking to this area relates to the long wet, dreary winters. If it were not for them, however, I couldn't afford to live here. And so far, I seem to have adapted; I don't suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), but I do find it difficult to go hiking in the rain, week after week. But then the days begin to lengthen and the sun returns to remind me why I love it here.

This very minute, as I sit here with my laptop and tea, the sky is beginning to lighten. As we move towards late June, the morning light will be coming through my window before I awake and the birds will start their morning sounds very early indeed. Right now they are all seeking for mates; the chickadee's two-note call, the white-crown sparrow's magnificent song, and the robin's unmistakeable trill. Together they make a symphony of birdsong that adds to my enjoyment, not to mention to attract someone to make babies with.

I would be remiss if I didn't also add the enjoyment of being back with my partner, who had prepared my favorite foods in abundance for my return home. Not one steamed veggie did I find while traveling, and now I have had three days of them to remind me of how much I need them for my own health. Life is good. I am sending out my sense of contentment to you, my dear blogging friends, and sharing it with you, until we meet again next week.


Anonymous said...

I often wonder why you don't combine your two blogs into one. Just think of all those readers who don't have a chance to read your Sunday posts, for whatever reason. It's too bad, because they are missing out on excellent writing.
I am glad you are happy in the PNW.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Oh DJan you put into words so perfectly how nature and friends keep you healthy and happy. It is good to read as it sends such positive vibes so thanks for that!
My world with Buddy is less active but we try each day for some sort of adventure and I am actively seeking out alternative meds to help with the memory issues we now must work out. All three of us will benefit.

Sally Wessely said...

I feel so uplifted just by reading this. You are going to have me moving to the Pacific Northwest if you keep writing posts like this. I don't know if I would have SAD or not if I lived there. I only know I love that area. I love the cool weather, the green lush environment, the colorful flowers, the ocean, the people, the sense of community, and the altitude. See, you are convincing me that I am really a Washinton girl at heart.

Elephant's Child said...

I am smiling so broadly at this post. And a bit misty-eyed too. Lovely to read in the morning, and wonderful to know that you are 'home' in every sense of the word.

Arkansas Patti said...

You are right. It is good to have a disagreeable part to your climate or the hordes would appear and turn your area brown and smoggy also. Keep it to your selves. I enjoy visiting your lovely area through your eyes.

Linda Reeder said...

I'm just getting to your post late in the afternoon today. We spent the morning and into the afternoon nursery touring around Pyuallup. What a gorgeous morning, filled with so much beauty. I'll do a post tomorrow.
Days like today are the payoff for cold November rain.

The Furry Gnome said...

Your life is sounding pretty good these days! And your spring still sounds well ahead of ours! No gardening here for quite awhile yet.

Red said...

Life is good when we can do some exciting and challenging things. We also need some routine to help us keep in order.

Glenda Beall said...

Your beautiful area continues to tempt me to at least make a visit. I live in the south, in the mountains of NC, and it is so pretty here now with spring bustin' out all over. But I imagine the cool green of the Pacific Northwest, and I know I would love it there. You continue to inspire me. Love this post.

Linda Myers said...

On a day like today there is nowhere more beautiful, is there?

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are content again! You really must share about your favorite vegetables and how they are prepared by Smart Guy..my guy could use some more ideas how to fix vegetables! :)

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Great post about enjoying the moment. Kudos to you, DJan. And I can taste those steamed veggies!

Rita said...

Yes, you sound totally and completely saturated with contentment! ;)

Tess @ Pro-tography 101 said...

Wow-congrats on doing something so brave! What a fun thing to accomplish.

A Joyful Chaos said...

Ahhhh.... home ...... the best place on earth!

joeh said...

I got tired just reading this!