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, September 27, 2015

A busy week ahead

Sally and Linda on the Lavender Hill Farm porch
When I write in here next Sunday, it will be from the Lavender Hill Farm on Vashon Island. The six of us blogging friends will be more than halfway through our fourth gathering at this wonderful place. For the past three Octobers, we have spent three days and two nights at the Farm, but this year we have added three more nights there, starting this Thursday. I'll miss my usual Thursday hike with the Senior Trailblazers, but it will be worth it to have this time together.

Yesterday, when I looked back at the pictures I took during the three previous trips, it made me realize once again how quickly time passes. It didn't seem possible to me that this is our fourth trip, but it was in October 2012 when we first got together. It was Linda who had the idea of a gathering of bloggers who live in the area (except for Sally coming by plane from Colorado). Linda researched several possible places for us to meet, and Lavender Hill Farm on Vashon was everybody's first pick. Who would have guessed that it would become an annual tradition? We all love it there. And this year, two more of us retired from teaching positions, making it possible for us to get together for a longer period of time.

So next Sunday's post will be from my bed at Lavender Hill Farms. That means thinking ahead and packing a suitcase, figuring what I'll need and helping to plan the meals. One extra wonderful thing this year is that we will have a guest for dinner one night: another fellow blogger: Linda Reeder, who lives in Seattle and will take the ferry and come over to join us. For that evening, we will be seven, which brings back memories of my women's group in Boulder that started with seven and met once a month for over twenty years.

Tonight is the final blood moon from the latest lunar tetrad. A tetrad is a series of four lunar eclipses that happen six months apart. That link tells more about them, but last April I got up early in the morning to take a picture of the blood moon. Here's what I captured, using my camera with the zoom all the way out and balancing the camera on a secure ledge, since I didn't have my tripod handy. Tonight the lunar eclipse will happen at sunset, and it looks like the skies around here will be totally clear, so I'm thinking I'll be out looking for just the right spot to take the picture. I was really pleased with my earlier picture, but it didn't have any context. Tonight should be much easier to find a foreground to add to the delight.

Some people think that the lunar eclipse, the blood moon, is a prophecy of the End of Times. I found this from that link above (TimeandDate.com):
Some people believe that the tetrad has special significance because the eclipses coincide with important Jewish festivals. The two April lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 occurred at the same time as Passover, while the October and September eclipses occur during the Feast of Tabernacle. This, many suggest, may be connected to a biblical prophecy of the end of times. The fact is, eight of the tetrads since the first century have coincided with Jewish holidays without the world going under, so there is absolutely no reason to believe that the 2014-2015 tetrad will end the world this time either.
It was interesting to be reminded that when I photographed the moon in April, I was halfway through taking a class to learn about the duties of a death doula. It's amazing that it's already been six months. I decided that at this time it is not something I am called to do, but I didn't know that before I took the class, so it was totally worth it. And it led to me and SG attending several classes on how to prepare and execute our end of life wishes. Now that has been accomplished, filed with the hospital and our doctors, and when I visit my sister in November I'll give her a copy so she also has it. She is the person I've chosen to deal with my belongings once I'm gone.

I just experienced a little shiver of unease, thinking about the prophecy, but that could also be just a consequence of the time of the year. Halloween, spooks and goblins abound in literature when the leaves fall from the trees, and when we have a lunar tetrad of eclipses, well, there you go. Plenty of reason to pause and consider. Plus I'm reading a book that has scared me silly: The Crash of 2016 by Thom Hartmann, about how close the United States is to economic collapse, and he makes a very convincing case for it. I'm halfway through the book and although I've learned very little I didn't already know, I understand it much better. I recommend it if you are interested in the eighty-year cycle of boom and bust that he describes. He predicts that the next one will be worse than the Great Depression. So that's another reason why I've got a sense of the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head.

But it's hard to be all that depressed about it, since there's simply nothing I can do about it. It's just like getting older and lamenting the aches and pains of age: I don't have much of a choice. It beats the alternative, as they say, but it still doesn't make me happy to wake up (like I did yesterday) and stretch, realizing that I pulled something in my back! Easy does it, I keep telling myself. I did take two yoga classes since I wrote here last week, and that was a real eye opener, too. In my youth I was quite active in yoga and could put my limbs in some rather amazing positions. Well, last Sunday in the yoga class I did a shoulder stand, which once upon a time was easy. Not so much these days. As I struggled to get into the inverted position (using the wall for balance), my stomach began to ooze out of my yoga pants and head towards my chin! I decided I won't try that again until I have some more appropriate clothing. Made me smile, but there was a bit of chagrin in my grin.

I've met some interesting people on my quest to find a yoga class that will serve me well, and that's a real plus. One woman told me of a freeform dance that takes place every Sunday from 10:30 to noon, a barefoot dance, with people expressing whatever they're feeling. So today my friend Judy and I will go and check it out. It might be just the thing, or it might not. I won't know until I give it a chance, so that's part of my plan for the day.

That and writing this post, my self-imposed once-a-week examination of my current condition. I've found that it really helps, and next week we blogging ladies will examine ways to improve and enliven our writing. Deb is the lyrical one, and every time I read one of her posts I marvel at her ability to bring me right into the page and into her heart. Of course, I must follow my own path, but I sure won't mind learning a few tips and techniques that others have found to be valuable.

And here I am at that place again, my tea gone, the tapping of the keys the only sound in the room, other than the soft breathing of my partner, and the turning of the season means it's still dark outside. We are on our way towards the shortest day and the longest night. But of course when we reach the end of the year, it all starts going the other way. I love the change in the seasons and am glad I don't suffer from the lack of light. It does help to get out in whatever daylight we've got, and I do that every day. I hope that you, my dear reader, will have a week filled with whatever adventure you desire, whether it's climbing mountains or reading a good book. Until I meet you again next week, at Lavender Hill Farm, be well.


Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Look forward to hearing about your week with your blogging buddies! What a wonderful "tradition" to create!

Far Side of Fifty said...

You write just fine...but I guess if you seek improvement then go for it! I hope you have a marvelous meeting of great blogger minds!
I am looking forward to the eclipse tonight, I hope the clouds stay away:)

Linda Reeder said...

As usual, you have triggered many thoughts going round in my head: where will I set up my camera for the eclipse - too many trees here in my yard; driving onto the ferry to Lavender Hill on Friday, and meeting all of you who I know from your writing, but only some who I will recognize in person; should I be studying to improve my writing?; the stretching exercises I just started doing again have made some new sore places on my body; I don't want to know about economic collapse - I am too worried about climate change, and what kind of life my grandchildren will have.
But those are thoughts for another time. It's Sunday morning, the sun is shining now, there will be a walk to take with Tom, and we'll go to grandson Isaac's soccer game at noon. Seahawks and Sounders play this afternoon, on the TV machine for us. This evening there is a new Masterpiece series beginning on PBS. And in between, a lunar eclipse to catch.
No time for end-of-the-world thoughts.
See you soon, Jan!

Anonymous said...

I wondered what happened to the death doula endeavor you were contemplating, so now I know. Good that you looked into it, though.

As for yoga and exercise in general, you are fortunate that you don't have crippling arthritis.

Good luck with your writing group at your retreat. Have fun!

Marty said...

You are so fortunate to have found a group of such compatible people to go away with. I know from experience that wishin' doesn't necessarily make it so.

Your mention of yoga triggered a little ping of recall with me. Last month I made the muscles in my back very unhappy just by doing what you did - standing up and stretching. My promise to myself to get to a yoga class still is just a promise and I'd better get moving (in all senses).

justme_alive said...

Have a wonderful time, friends & retreats - good for the soul.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Your post triggered so many responses as I read it.... Remembering that you had investigated the role of a death doula, admiring your return to yoga, loving and even coveting your Vashon Island retreat, being chilled by the thought of a major economic crash, and being wowed by the fact that after all the items I've seen about tonight's big moon event, you introduced an element I'd not heard of, the lunar tetrad. But this is what made my heart skip a beat: You are going to a free-form dance session! I've never heard of that, and I don't know whether you'll like it, but it just bursts with possibility, in so many ways. You really are a wonderfully adventurous soul. Have a great week!

Elephant's Child said...

Looking forward to hearing about your escape.
I do love your 'try it' attitude. Deciding that being a death doula is not for you, exemplifies it. You tried it, you decided, and you took away some positive.
Have a wonderful trip away - you will.

Arkansas Patti said...

And here I thought Linda R all ready was part of your group. Probably because she would fit in so well.
I know you ladies will have a wonderful time and hope the weather is perfect for you.
I lost it when your stomach oozed. Too funny and too relatable.

Red said...

What a week you've got ahead of you. I guess I'll be watching the eclipse on line as it's cloudy here. Now I expect a report and some tips from the writers workshop. Keep on with your outdoor activities.

The Furry Gnome said...

Hope you have a wonderful time with your bloggiper friends. I'm looking forward to meeting them again.

Stella Jones said...

Have a lovely time with your blogging pals Djan. It doesn't seem possible that this will be the fourth time you're on your way to meet them. Apparently the view of the blood moon over our home town last night was spectacular. However we had to get up at 3 a.m. To see it. Larry did, I didn't. He has some powerful binoculars and put them to good use.

Rita said...

You are going to have a lovely time! I can hardly wait to hear all about it--with pictures! I couldn't believe it when you said this is the fourth year already--goodness! Time seems to be flying by so quickly just plain brain-boggling. Hope you enjoyed your free form dancing. :)

Barb said...

I like that you try new things and let the experience dictate whether it suits you or not. I'm in the market for a Yoga class but can't commit to finding one. I took Yoga for many years but not for quite awhile now. I found it to be so rejuvenating. I had to laugh out loud at your description of yourself "falling out" during a shoulder stand. Luckily, nobody else is watching because they're also upsidedown! Have fun with your blog buddies.

Glenda Beall said...

I loved the image of your stomach falling out. I'd be in terrible shape if I tried to do that. I dance around in my living room for my exercise. I can't join groups. I tried Yoga, but the odor of all the plastic yoga mats made me ill and I had to leave. MCS. Hard to live in this world.
But I envy you going away with all your friends. I have access to a four bedroom house in Boone NC for a week and can't find anyone here to go there with me. Two writers from further north will spend the weekend with me and we will write and talk writing for those two days, but I'm beginning to wonder why my friends at home can never take any time off to go with me when the trip is totally free. Do I need a new deodorant? lol

Sally Wessely said...

I will see you in just a few days! I can't wait. I have SO much to do to get ready. See you soon.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I enjoyed this post, as always. I think in my comment on the previous post I was under the assumption (not a good thing, I know ... ha ha) that your meeting on Vashon was to begin last week. Now I know it is THIS week. :-) Again, I hope you have a great visit with your blogging friends. We were so lucky with our weather for the lunar eclipse! Yes, I walked up to Kerry Park (the one with the overlook of the city) and joined hundreds of people up there. There were many professional looking photographers there. I decided not to try to take photos as I would need a tripod for sure and just didn't want to lug one up there. Your photo is excellent! Now, getting back to your kind comment on my September 27 post, Sky Watch and More, I did't understand the question where you said you loved the sky shots "although some of them seem to be coming from the future (19, 21) unless they were from last year." I think I did not make it clear they were from September 19th and 21st, just a few days before the post on the 27th. Well, today is the last day of September and let me be the first to wish you a fine October! :-)