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 23, 2015

Sunday morning musings

Red arrow shows Puget Sound area
Yesterday morning that smoke plume from the eastern side of Washington state reached us in the Puget Sound area. Bellingham is right above the red arrow, almost at the border, so you can see that we were clear as a bell until around noon, when suddenly the sky turned hazy and blocked out quite a bit of sunlight. I have been watching the news and worrying about people caught in the wildfires that are burning our state right to the ground. Several towns have been evacuated, and places I've hiked in past years are simply charred wastelands today.

This is the worst year for wildfires in the history of Washington state, exacerbated by the incredibly dry spring and summer that has allowed our usually verdant landscapes to turn brown and easily catch fire. I keep hoping for rain, but even though the weather forecast shows a bit in the future, by the time we get there it's all gone, nothing. Last weekend it rained about an inch in Seattle, but we didn't get hardly any, and on the eastern side of the state, they only got lightning that sparked more fires. It's so depressing that I'm going to stop watching the news for awhile. After all, what can I do about it?

Yesterday morning I went walking with the ladies on the trail on the north shore of Lake Whatcom, the level of which is lower than usual because of the drought, and the trail is also very dry. It's a six-mile hike, three miles out and back, and because I wore my sneakers I ended up getting quite a few rather large pebbles in my shoes. I stopped before we turned around and shook them out. I was tying my shoes when they started back, and I had to run to catch up. Well, instead of catching up, I caught my shoe on a rock and fell, quite hard, on the trail. Ouch!

I hit with my left knee first, which took the brunt of the fall, then the other knee, my right elbow and left hand, and last of all, my chin. I laid there, stunned, for a minute, while several of the ladies turned around and hurried over to assist me. I was most worried about my left knee, which hurt so bad at first that I could hardly stand it, and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to walk the three miles out. I shakily stood after a few minutes, and one person washed the gravel out of the elbow, which is the only thing that ended up bleeding. Another fashioned a walking stick out of a branch, and I began the trek back to the cars, limping a little with the knee sending me little twinges of pain. The adrenaline helped, since I was still in a bit of shock, I guess, but I made it out, with several impressive wounds to display to the rest of the group when we saw them in the parking lot.

Once I got home I put an Ace bandage on the knee and realized that it was the only real injury, with the rest just scrapes. I even went to the movies in the afternoon with my friend Judy, able to drive my manual transmission car with little problem. It does help to be in shape, because I realized that the surrounding muscles helped me lift the knee with only a little pain.

My elbow and chin hurt this morning, but when I carefully put my feet by the side of the bed and went to stand up, I noticed that I'm better, that I'm going to be just fine once a few days pass. The left knee will also display some very impressive colors, since the hematoma that formed afterwards has already begun to dissipate. I can walk, I can even make my way down stairs with the help of a handrail. Going up isn't a problem, but going down I cannot manage without a handrail to help.

As you can imagine, yesterday's fall is pretty much on my mind along with the smoky atmosphere from the wildfires, but I sure don't want to spend this entire post in a state of lamentation. After all, in the scheme of things, I've got it pretty darn good. When I read on the news about the refugees on the border of Macedonia being turned back by tear gas, I was aghast at how terrible it has become in so many places in the world. And here I am moaning about a fall. No, I will turn my attention elsewhere.

Today I will visit my friend John's home for the first time. He's the one who had the double knee replacement back in December, and we became friends when he started hanging out at the coffee shop. I visited him several times in the nursing home while he was rehabilitating, and in return he's given me plenty of produce from his garden, starting with rhubarb this spring and this summer's sweet corn has been endless. He's going to have a barbecue with lots of his friends and is providing grilled salmon for me, since everyone else will be eating steak, I guess. I'll take pictures and we'll have a wonderful time, and I'll be able to display my injuries in order to receive plenty of sympathy.

And then there's my latest grand-niece, Alicia, who is growing up so fast! She was born the end of February, so she's about six months old now, and my sister Norma Jean is completely smitten. She sends me pictures and videos of her (not nearly enough), and I look and look at this beautiful life that has just begun.
Alicia at six months
Although I haven't met her yet, I can hardly wait! She's a beautiful child, and Norma Jean never fails to tell me how exceptional she is, how alert and perceptive. Look at those sparkly eyes: how could anybody not love this beautiful baby? And when I think of the improbability of her existence, being an IVF baby with donor sperm and donor egg, I am again thankful that I have lived to see the emergence of this technology. Although she is not related to me by blood, and for that matter is not even related to her mother by blood, what possible difference could that make in my ability to love her to pieces?

Now that she lives close to Norma Jean, I'll be able to see her plenty when I next visit. That should be sometime this fall. When Norma Jean and I talk next, I'll nail down the time of my visit and make the plane reservations. Then I'll have that visit to look forward to. In the meantime, I will simply enjoy knowing that Alicia is in my universe.

And today I'll make every effort not to eat and drink too much at the barbecue, so that when I hobble out of bed tomorrow morning, I won't have to wince when I step on the scales. I've been managing to keep my weight from going up by the simple habit of checking each morning. If the number ticks up, I eat less during the day and if it's down, I indulge and the process starts all over again! I'm feeling ever so much better now than I did when I started this post, so it's been successful in giving me a better start to the day.

Hopefully you will not be taking any spills yourself, and hoping that you will be able to have lots of laughter and fun during the next week. I'm a little later than usual getting this post done, since I slept in a bit after yesterday's adventure. I really do find that a little introspection can be a tonic for an unsettled mind, and that's just what this post has been. Be well, my dear friends, and I'm trusting that all of us will be healthy and happy until we meet again next week.


Anonymous said...

What a cute little baby! I am smitten!
Take care of those bruises and your knee. Enjoy the BBQ at John's.

Sally Wessely said...

Oh no. This is not good news. I'm sorry about the fall. I know what you mean about being stunned after such a rude encounter with the ground. I hope each day you feel better and have no residual effects.

Have fun at the BBQ with your friends. Have a good day!

Norma Jean's grandbaby is a doll. She looks very happy and alert.

Rian said...

Alicia is adorable. We have a niece that used the IVF technique also. Her little girl just turned one this month and is simply beautiful. Technology can be amazing.

So sorry to hear about your fall, but you seem to be recuperating fine. Thank god you didn't break anything... especially being out there on the trail like that.

Elephant's Child said...

Alicia is indeed gorgeous.
I hope that your wounds heal quickly.
And share your horror at the news. I cannot watch it.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am glad you are okay and recovering from your fall. I simply refuse to hurry up walking for anyone...I just say "Go on without me sooner or later I will catch up!"
I hope the fires go out soon, we got some smoke yesterday and then last night the wind switched and moved it out. It is raining here today and it is cold.
We have some Heroes in France so that was good news! Brave fellows! If more people stood up perhaps the terrorists would get the message.
I hope you are enjoying the rest of your Sunday. After any fall if you notice anything out of the ordinary you should be checked over by a Doctor:)

Gigi said...

So sorry about the fall but happy to hear there is no real damage. Alicia is absolutely beautiful! I just want to cuddle her! Have a great week!

DDD said...

That fall is pretty bad.
How thoughtful of you thinking of people less fortunate than you instead of feeling pitiful.
speedy recovery!

Arkansas Patti said...

Having kissed the earth a few times, I know how quickly it can come up to smack you in the face. As bad as the 3 mile hike back might have seemed at the time, it probably kept you from stiffening up.
I do think of all my PNW blog buddies with all those fires. This has been a scary year for those of you on the west coast. Stay safe and hope all this ends soon.
Alicia is adorable. Keep moving and enjoy that BBQ.

Marty said...

I'm so glad your fall didn't result in something more.
I couldn't agree more with your statement about being in shape, and the fact that it likely prevented your accident from being more debilitating.
Due to travel and visitors, I just haven't been exercising at all, and yesterday managed to pull the muscles on either side of my spine by a simple over-the-head stretch yesterday morning. How stupid is that?
So today I finally got a walk in, and tomorrow, back to water aerobics!

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, It’s one of those Good-news, bad-news days and I like the way you gave us the bad news first. :-) Sure sorry to hear about your fall. As far as that bad news goes, I’m so happy your friends were there to help. Oh my … that must have hurt! This is also one of those times when folks will say something like, Well, you are lucky it wasn’t worse! Have you ever thought about how weird it is to say there is something “lucky” about an accident? It doesn’t seem right. It is good though, to hear you say that you think things will be OK soon. Take care and take it easy! Now, the really good news … Little Alicia is as sweet as she can be! :-) That picture of her is going to bring a smile to anyone! Thank you for sharing this post, I’m already looking forward to next week. PS Regarding the smoke and your first photo … Today is the worst yet here in Seattle. Some people are reporting ash collecting on their cars parked outside. Just a tiny amount, but even so. It’s all so discouraging and disappointing to see what is happening to our Pacific Northwest.

Linda Myers said...

How a day can change in just a moment! Glad you're in good enough shape that you will heal without aftereffects.

What an adorable baby!

Linda Reeder said...

It's now 4:30 in the afternoon as I read your Sunday morning post. I'm not sure where the day has gone, but it hasn't quite gone as expected. MaybeIi'll post a blog about it.
It is very smokey here in South Seattle today and my eyes are burning a bit. We have no respiratory issues so we'll be fine, and are very fortunate compared to those folks living in harm's way east of the mountains.
I'm glad you are bouncing back from your fall. You were fortunate not to hit your forehead. I can attest to the attention the results of that would have been. A year and a half later the little bump that persisted is finally gone.
We'll be doing some "Gramma Camp" this week, as Jill goes back to work on Tuesday. It's time to get another school year geared up. Tom and I are very happy to NOT be doing that any more.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Nothing keeps you down for long! Glad the knee is better. And oh yes, that little baby. What a total cutie!

Tabor said...

Your post took me back to a terrible fall I had while visiting my brother years ago. It is like a slap in the face, is it not? But you seem to be weathering it rather well and if you are sure there are now fractures, you should heal well. The fires, the refugees, I just cannot think about it all as it stops me in my tracks. Stay safe and healthy.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear about the fire in your place. Be safe. Take care of your health too. Cute little girl...

Rhapsody Phoenix said...

Those wild fires are scary.
Hope you feeling better and healing nicely from your fall. I been on a trail about a year and a half ago with a friend we didn't realize how long it was, took us from 10 am till about 4pm to get out, every part of my body ached. To my credit I didn't complain not once. I did experience a rather painful wipe out myself, i had just handed my camera to my friend to put in his bag and then i fell unceremoniously face first thank God i was able to break with my hands but lord have mercy i was in pain. I got up with as much grace as i could dust myself off and finished the trail.

Fantastic niece you got there.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am wondering where you are this Sunday morning???? Hope you are okay:)

Far Side of Fifty said...

Just realized it is only Saturday...getting old I guess:)

Sandra Cox said...

So sorry you took a fall, but thank goodness you were in good shape. That could have been quite nasty.
What a doll baby. You and your sister will have all kinds of fun spoiling her.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.