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, August 9, 2015

Random thoughts this morning

Mountain ash leaves loaded with moisture
I can't seem to get started on any sort of theme this morning, but I'm full of little random thoughts making their way from the dim corridors of my mind onto the printed page. Here's a smattering: I read a good book that I want to share; saw a movie yesterday that got me to thinking about the process of aging with its concomitant aches and pains and forgetfulness; enjoying some cooler weather and a bit of moisture; worrying over those three pounds that won't go away.

Now where to start? I have to remind myself that I'm not an accomplished writer trying to create the latest hit novel, but a blogger who set out to write down what's on her mind on Sunday mornings. I have to admit that sometimes I do hit a home run and I seem to resonate with lots of other like-minded people and it's tempting to try to do that every week, but I just can't. Today it will be more like a list, I fear. But at least it's real.

The book: Wesley the Owl. It's the story of a young biologist who adopted a barn owl who was a few days old and about the nineteen years they spent together. It's funny and sad and I earned a great deal about animal behavior when I read it. I was telling one of my friends about it while we drove to our trailhead last Thursday, and she told me about a presentation at the museum this coming Tuesday by Paul Bannick. He wrote a book in 2009 called The Owl and the Woodpecker, which is the basis for this talk, along with lots of his photographs. I decided to go and had to buy a ticket for it since it's expected to sell out.

The movie: yesterday I went by myself to our independent theater to see Mr. Holmes, a movie about Sherlock Holmes played by Ian McKellan in two time periods: when he is a very old man of 93, and earlier when he was in his sixties and had a case that causes him to retire from his profession. He wants to write it down to figure out what happened, but he cannot remember it. His memory comes and goes; he's in the later stages of senility. A quote from one of the reviews:
Mr. Holmes stands as yet another bravura performance on the actor’s lengthy resume, one that sees him digging into not only the Holmes mythology but also the inevitability of aging to find a keen intellect beginning to turn on itself, and what this would do to a man whose entire defining characteristic in life has been his mind. 
Yes, the inevitability of aging and a keen intellect beginning to turn on itself. I feel this myself, often not just when I've forgotten the name of something I should easily be able to recall, but when my mind doesn't behave properly. It's the little things that are the most disconcerting. In any event, the movie got me to thinking about this one-way street I'm traveling down, and how I can make the most of whatever time and cognizance I have left to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not thinking that I'll be moving into assisted living any time soon, but it's a definite direction and I'm taking notice.

And then there's the weather: I was so pleased to actually have cool damp weather to hike in on Thursday, and at this time of the year we are losing more than twenty minutes of daylight every single week. I can see the difference in the short week since I last wrote in here. The trees around us are already beginning to drop their leaves, which is a consequence of the extreme dryness of the past few months. We haven't had enough moisture to do much more than wet the ground, not enough to change our status of severe drought. People who have lived here their entire lives continue to remind me that they've seen nothing like this before. I can only hope it's an anomaly and not permanent.

And the final thing on the list: those three pounds I'd like to lose. I have gotten into the habit of weighing myself every morning, and I'm afraid to stop, since it does seem to keep the extra weight down at least a little. It makes me think about what I consume and gives me incentive to see the scales tip the right way. But it's certainly a battle that I'm not enjoying. I remember a few years ago when I lost fifteen pounds and found it easy to maintain the weight loss, but it's not so easy these days. If I didn't weigh myself daily, I fear that all those pounds would be right back on my hips. And I certainly don't want to diet but instead find a more reasonable way to keep myself on track. Diets just don't work for me; I lose the weight but then gain it back when I stop dieting. There must be a way!

I know I could say to myself, who cares about a few extra pounds around my middle except me? But I know that there is a healthy weight that makes me feel good when I dress in the morning, or there is that annoying muffin top creeping out above my waistband that makes me choose something else to wear, leaving me grumpy that my favorite pants don't fit. And in a few minutes I'll be facing those scales again, which will probably reflect that buttered popcorn I couldn't resist yesterday.

So these are the random thoughts that have plopped themselves out onto the laptop, but as I look around, nothing much has changed: my partner is still sleeping next to me, accustomed to the sound of the tapping of the keys; my tea is gone, and I'm feeling just the tiniest bit guilty for having indulged in this potpourri. I'm sure by next week I'll be more focused and hopefully this post won't cause my readers to desert me. Until we meet again next week, I do hope you have a wonderful, fulfilling week filled with love and laughter. That's what I'm hoping for myself, too.


Anonymous said...

I won't desert you, no matter what. Anyway, why not wear muumuus? They hide bulges very well.

Linda Reeder said...

Me too.
1. The weather- I also appreciated the coolness. We're about to go out for our morning walk, and we don't have to leave at the crack of dawn to beat the heat. That crack of dawn is now later too.
2. Brown trees. All over the area we see trees and shrubs dying from lack of moisture. This really bothers me. I have been carrying this worry around with me all summer, with months to go.
3. Extra pounds - my extra pounds have now hit 10! and I MUST do something to turn this trend around. Eating will be much less fun around here until I get this back under control.
4. Aging - Body and mind limitations creep in slowly, but as they become more noticeable, they create concern. I think more and more of how to prepare for what is coming.
5. Inspiration - DJan, don't worry. Whatever you write is compelling, even lists. We all can relate.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Your owl synchros! Holmes sounds like a good movie. Onto my list it goes!

Linda Myers said...

Loved this post! We're all in this together, aren't we?

Kailani said...

I love the 'stream of consciousness' posts by my favorite bloggers every bit as much as those with specific agendas. Some days, even more. Because it just shows that you are human, and not trying to make a living off of this hobby. ;)

amanda said...

I love thoughts that are random and real.
Stream of Consciousness, or "free writing" is my favorite writing exercise, so good for me mentally, and for some reason I don't often share it.
I think you are onto something, sharing whether you feel it's going to be a home run or not. It's all good!

Far Side of Fifty said...

You can write about whatever you want! Write for you! It is always good to hear what is on your mind...ageing is on all our minds as the years tick on by! Our trees are loosing leaves too, it is normal for us in August. I hate it because the yard looks messy but I mow less!
I am noticing the shorter days too...Fall is in the air...Summer is winding down...just like us:)

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I just returned from a week at the lake, three hours north of here. It was our "summer vacation," but autumn is beginning to turn the leaves red and gold. And yes, the days are growing shorter. And yes, that sounds a lot like aging!

Nothing wrong with a list of things on your mind, as long as you can remember your thoughts! Have a great week, DJan.

Arkansas Patti said...

I enjoyed this post and saw myself in several paragraphs. I do weigh every day and it does keep things from getting out of hand--even weight loss that might be a bit rapid.
Haven't noticed shorter days but it will have to be more dramatic for me to notice. Just wish it weren't so brutally hot.
Ah, those things that slip our mind that once were so easily recalled. Thank goodness for the computer, it is a great memory jogger.

Elephant's Child said...

Love the humanity you express so well.
Losing my mind is an on-going fear. I hope not. I so hope not. And, if I do, I really hope that the lucid moments where I know it is going don't last. Selfish? Perhaps, but true just the same.

Gigi said...

I would never desert you - and think most people here wouldn't either. I also weigh daily. It's the only way I have to keep myself in control.

Have a great week!

Rian said...

DJan, your post left me with the remnants of that theme song on PBS's "New Tricks" where the *older detectives* work on cold cases. Goes something like this, "It's alright, It's OK...doesn't really matter if you're old and gray. It's alright, it's OK... We're getting to the end of the day."

And yes, I do worry about Alzheimer's since my mom, her sister, and my dad's sister all were diagnosed with it. And I worry because I know what it feels like not to be able to think of the right word (or even your name)if dissociation occurs with my migraines (and yes, I am 'very aware' that something is very wrong when this happens). And it is frightening. But worrying is never helpful, so one must choose to replace fear with love.

As for weight, I don't weigh every day. If I did, I'd probably never bake... and DH would not like that. But I check occasionally and if the scale goes up more than 3-4 lbs, I watch it for a few weeks and try to increase the walking.

All in all, your posts are always interesting and give me pause...

Friko said...

Feeling guilty for doing a potpourri?
What nonsense.

Potpourris are good, they give a true picture of who the writer is at that moment.

About assisted living arrangements: I sometimes think that’s what blogging is. we all assist each other in some form or other even if we only meet in the blogosphere; and we feel all the better for having found like-minded people.

And the additional three pounds aren’t really very important in the scheme of things, are they? Just don’t let them multiply.

Red said...

Hey, the first metaphor is a home run..."dim corridors of my mind. That's not too shabby for an aging brain. I think there's a middle road to aging. Some people have no concerns whatsoever and they sometimes get into trouble as they are not prepared for some of the challenges. and then some people worry so much they don't enjoy the ride. You keep on having a good time and enjoy life!

Rhapsody Phoenix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhapsody Phoenix said...

Ah you don't have to have a theme, just whatever you feel at any given time, just let it be organic, it is truth and will stand on its own.

Aging ah yes, we will all get there, how we get there though is complex and different for everyone. I grew up around a lot of elderly people and I have seen a very diverse ways of how people deal with aging, how it defines and redefines them including those in my family. Not everyone takes it with grace, some are in shock and go into grieving - a mourning of their youth. Others are disillusioned, sad and feel betrayed by their bodies and can easily slip into depression. There are those that take a very relaxed attitude about the process, i often heard some say, "Child, its what happens in life, you are born, you are young then you get old, its why you must life your life and do the things you want to do so you have no regrets," they I find are genuinely happy and are in acceptance of the inevitable evitable. However there are those that are raging mad, they are angry at getting old, seeing their body stoop and shrivel, they feel betrayed and takes that anger and rag out on anyone and everyone. They become simply miserable human beings. I once knew an old man that took pleasure in riding over peoples foot with his wheelchair and no one was exempt he even did it to children.

I hope to be one who ages with grace and is able to see the cup always as half full instead of half empty.

stay blessed.
You have done so many things (i see this from the little i've read here) you should do your memoirs.

Have a grand week.

Tabor said...

I rarely can come up with something cogent and compelling these days. Too hot and too tired and too fat. I'd like to lose 25 pounds. I was very dedicated one month regarding what I ate and how much I exercised and found at the end of the month I did not lose a single pound but gained about two...mostly muscle I guess.

Sally Wessely said...

Your theme was one of speaking what is on your mind. I love how writing helps one bring those thoughts to the surface. I'd like to Mr. Holmes. Aging is a subject we all think about lately. Must be because we are aging. Well, we were aging the minute we were born, but it didn't seem to matter then.

I have also three to five pounds since early spring. I drop a few pounds and then add them back. I'm exercising more, but I have been so random in my eating. Why is it so hard to lose?

troutbirder said...

Random thoughts are working just fine. More important you "thoughtful thoughts" I find most interesting and even helpful as I find them reinforcing my similar ones...:) Thanks!

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Usually I like to write my comment before reading all the comments from others. This time I did the opposite because I wanted to see how they responded to your thoughts that you weren't giving us something compelling. I smiled going through the comments ... I was so in agreement with them. Your random thoughts are just fine. I don't think any of us are going away any time soon! :-) I really like the way you are tracking the length of daylight ... it affects our lives so much and yet most people seem clueless about it. Yes, they know the length of day changes but they don't seem aware of when or how much. I think 20 minutes in one week is a lot ... thanks for mentioning it. Perhaps it's one of the things that puts the "feeling of fall" in the air. Thanks, as always, for sharing an excellent post.