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 1, 2015

The rhythm of my life

Last year's tulip display
I have noticed that spring is in evidence everywhere around this part of the country. Although this picture was taken last April, it looks like the tulips will be very early this year, and I could see the same thing in less than a month! I took a look at the Tulip Festival Bloom Map, and it confirms it. By the middle of March this year, a month early, I could be looking at this same picture. The Festival is held during the entire month of April, but there have been years when they have all come and gone by its end. I'll plan on visiting and taking pictures either at the end of March or the first part of April. It's one of the springtime events that I've not missed since I moved here.

One really wonderful byproduct of writing this blog is being able to go back a few years and find out what things were like back then. I wish I had some way to go back even deeper into the past, but this sort of thing, a blog, didn't even exist a few decades ago. I kept a handwritten journal during the 1980s, 13 volumes which sit on my bookshelf. I will open one occasionally at random and read about what my life was like then. I have even posted a few excerpts on here, but mostly I try to live in the present, not the past or the future. I'm pretty happy with my life right now.

Last Sunday after I wrote in here, I packed up my skydiving gear and headed down to Snohomish to meet my friend Christy. We were both in danger of losing our currency, since we are required to make a skydive at least once every six months or we have to go through a lengthy renewal process, not to mention an expensive one, at our local Drop Zone. So we went up, after checking our gear carefully, and made a wonderful skydive together. It wasn't even all that cold, and it felt great to be in freefall again, and to feel my parachute open perfectly over my head. We landed right back where we started, both tiptoe landings, just perfect, happy and excited. Smiles all around, and then we took our parachutes inside to pack them up again. While I was doing that, I managed to tweak my back and realized that I probably shouldn't make another one. We had accomplished our goal anyway, so I drove back home and have spent the entire week feeling that pulled muscle.

Today my back is completely back to normal, and nothing is hurting anywhere, but I'll stay home and enjoy the first day since my travel to Turkey without having anything planned. My garden beckons, and I might go out and see how it's fared during the winter months. I haven't visited it for quite awhile. But then again, I might go for a walk in the sunshine and take pictures of the burgeoning spring. It's nice to have so many options.

Yesterday, my niece Allison (Norma Jean's daughter) gave birth to her second daughter. I wrote about Lexie, her first child, in an August 2010 post. Lexie is now four, going on five, and hopefully will be a help to her mother as she recovers from another C section. Allison is a very strong woman, and I think it won't be any time at all before she's back at work and managing her very hectic life with her two daughters. Allison is unmarried and has conceived both children through IVF (in-vitro fertilization). At first I was skeptical of the wisdom of this procedure, but in the subsequent years since Lexie was born, I've changed my mind completely. A baby is a blessing that is not to be missed, and each one of us is unique, no matter how we come into this world.

Allison didn't have nearly as easy a time of it this time, however. She was in labor for 32 hours before finally having a C section. Alicia Jean Stewart is 9 lbs 4 oz (more than 4 kilos!) and 20.5 inches long. In other words, a bruiser, in more ways than one. That's almost twice what Lexie weighed when she was born. Norma Jean is there, having traveled from Florida to take care of Lexie and help to maintain her schedule. I'm just glad it's all over and now the excitement of having a new baby will predominate, instead of the anxiety and trauma of the birth process. Welcome, little Alicia!

Today also marks the day in 1961 when I was first married. I always think of that every year when March rolls around. How long ago that was: fifty-four years, to be exact. I've met people who were born around that time who are now old, more than half a century old. My son Chris, had he lived, would now be over fifty. I guess there are at least a couple ways to contemplate this day: one, be thankful for all the years and decades of abundant life I've received; or two, be regretful about how few days and years are left to me.

No, there are many other ways to think about March 1, 2015. It's the day that a new life begins in my family, and it's the marker of yet another trip the earth makes around the sun. The beginning of a new season, and a time to think of enjoying the beauty of the tulips springing up out of the ground, and of contemplating what delightful vegetables to plant in my garden this year. Maybe today I'll head out to the garden shop and think of what I'd like to be harvesting out of my garden in July.

Whatever you decide to do today, I hope that you might stop for a minute and think about all the blessings you have in your life. You are one of mine, you know, and I hope I never forget to thank my readers and commenters for your presence in my own life. Until we meet again next Sunday, I wish you all health and happiness.


Red said...

What a great day when you get a new grand niece! I agree we have to stay in the moment and not get caught up in the past or concerned about the future. I did keep journals for a few years. They get more interesting every year. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are hopeful about the future, and that is good.

Lovely photo of the tulips.

Marty said...

Welcome back, DJan. I'm afraid that I've become so wedded to routine that sometimes I enjoy the return to my regular life as much as the trip itself.
I enjoy your observations and catching up with what you've been up to. And thanks for the reminder to enjoy the "now." I'll do just that today!

R. J. said...

You've had a long, eventful life. How generous that you share it with the bloggers. I remember reading about your niece's first daughter and it is good that it is working out so well for her. You must share that fearless gene. I enjoy your onward and upward outlook on life.

Rian said...

Hi DJan, So glad that you got to make your jump last weekend.

As for your niece and her baby, I have a niece that has done the same. She has one child that is about 4 now that she had when she was married, but decided to have another this past year even though she is now divorced and on her own. She used the IVF method also and has a beautiful baby girl. She has financial and emotional support as well as a loving family to help her. Life is about choices and this was hers.

And I think you are *spot on* when it comes to being thankful for the blessings we have... and for whatever time we have left. It may be a day or it may be 20 years, but whatever it is, I hope to use it wisely and to continue to share it with my online friends.

Linda Reeder said...

OK, I can start my Sunday morning now, and the month of March, with sunshine on my shoulder, and news of new birth, and the promise of tulips!

Linda Reeder said...

Oh, I forgot to say how happy I am that you got to jump last weekend! Hurrah for you!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Congratulations to everyone on the birth of the newest member of your clan! Lexie has a sister...how perfect. I bet Norma Jean is smiling from ear to ear!
I am not thinking spring yet, but I will enjoy it as you usher it in with your Tulip adventures.
Good to hear your back is okay after last Sunday:)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I do consider finding your blog a blessing. I enjoy Eye on the Edge each Sunday morning. Your writing is like a breath of fresh air. Always seem to be nodding in agreement with your take on things. Well, since your last post, last Sunday, I have moved to a new residence. We did not want to move but the highrise building we were in is going to have a major remodel and all residents were required to move out for at least 18 months. So the move for us is done but the sorting out and finding the new "rhythm of life" (like your title today) will take a bit longer. :-) It is good to see you back to your regular routing. Hope you have a good week ahead and thank you for sharing your blog and comments on mine. John

Elephant's Child said...

Another beautiful thought provoking post. Megathanks. And you are definitely one of the people I am grateful to have found.
On the weather front? Here, on the other side of the world, there are signs that OUR spring bulbs are shooting. Early. Too early. Daffodils and ranunculas are up?!!! And Autumn has only just arrived, and winter is months away. Weird. Very weird.

Meryl Baer said...

Welcome home!
It is wonderful to arrive home to a gift - a new baby in the family. Welcome the birth and look forward to whatever life brings on tomorrow. and the days after...

Arkansas Patti said...

So glad you got in your jump and kept your status current. Sorry about the tweak but so glad it was just a quickie and you are now fine.
Congrats to your niece and to you for the new family member. Some one new for you to spoil. Have a wonderful day Great Aunt Djan.

Gigi said...

Congrats on the newest addition to your family!! They tell me Spring is coming, but I haven't seen any evidence of it yet here.

Have a wonderful week, my friend.

#1Nana said...

Congratulations on the new family member. A baby is a true blessing. I got out in the garden today also. I cleaned up the emerging weeds in the strawberry bed. The strawberry plants are leafing out and our tulips are up about six inches. I'm looking forward to spring.

Lux G. said...

Congrats on the new addition in your family. :)

I hope this March will be so much better for you and your fam.

Rita said...

A new family member, tulip dreaming, garden plotting, blessings, gratitude...and you made your jump. I am so glad you didn't do a second one, though, and listened to your body. I hope you share any pics you take today. So glad to have met you. You are one of my blessings. :)

Dee said...

Dear DJan, you've done so much in the past three months. Turkey no less.

I've been away from blogging and coming back to your posting that ends with gratitude is a wonderful gift. I'm come to realize that living in a state of thankfulness glorifies all life.

We are so blessed in our lives--we've lived a long time and have so much to look backward to with thankfulness. And even the tragedies we've known have enlightened us and helped us understand the pain of others. Thank you for reminding me of this. Peace.

Friko said...

ever the philosopher, that;s you.

I am glad that you can look at your life with a calm and contented eye, in spite of the heartaches you have experienced.

I knew you would get up into the air again, no way are you ready to give up.
Just be careful. Otherwise do what gives you the greatest pleasure and causes no harm to others.

Have a good week.

Sally Wessely said...

Congratulations on successfully making another jump. You are a blessing to all of us. I love the way you remind us of the rhythm of our lives as you share yours.

Congrats on that new family member.

troutbirder said...

Your approach to life and the here and now has often helped me keep going good friend. Heads up now and thanks...:)

amanda said...

Here it is Thursday, and I'm seeking my first opportunity to catch up this week. Happy March, DJan!
It was thrity-some below zero this morning here, far from tulip weather.. I'll enjoy yours for now. :)
I also enjoyed visualizing your free fall and parachute opening. To live in the present is to really live!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

It's great that Lexie has a new baby sister! I have enjoyed catching up on your travels, jumps, hikes, and philosophizing, and I thank you for your sweet comment on my blog, DJan. Looking forward to staying more in touch now.