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, December 27, 2015

Nadir of the year

Random forest path, taken in summer
Here I am again. Sunday morning, nothing much on my mind except the dark, dark days of winter that press on me, and I am dreaming of summer again. I had a very vivid dream last night and woke wishing I could return to it. I was hiking with my friends, and we were going to a place we hadn't been before. Although I was aware that the elevation gain and loss would be a lot of work, we headed downward on the path, only to discover that it led to a high school, which was strategically built onto ledges and the few flat places on the side of the trail. One of the students, a sophomore named Santiago, became our guide through the school, which went on and on forever. At one point we were close to the ocean, and I saw a huge wave build up and up, and then it crashed onto the land. We got wet and I could taste the salt water on my face, but we were in no real danger. The blue of the ocean, vibrant sunlight and colors permeated the dream.

Then I woke up, and I wanted to return to the dream to find my friends and help them navigate through to the other side. There was a bit of the feeling of things spiraling out of control, but Santiago was there, always, to help. Sometimes I wonder about people who are in my dreams that I've never met. He was so real that I can still see his face.

Perhaps the dream was triggered by a movie I saw last night: Youth. When I left the theater, I was struck by the mood of the crowd, which mirrored my own, dazzled and a little unsure of quite what I was feeling. It is a movie about old age and is filled with meditations about love, loss, friendships, and the bizarrely beautiful and gross. It takes place at a luxury spa in the Swedish mountains with two old men, played by Harvey Keitel and Michael Caine, whose friendship forms the core of the movie. I can't say I loved it, but I'm glad I saw it and would see it again, if only to make a little more sense of it all. Many reviewers were reminded of the Fellini movie 8 1/2, which I never saw. Maybe I should. It certainly garnered plenty of awards, and I suspect there will be a few for this one. If nothing else, the cinematography is incredible.

I have been watching the weather website to see how much time the day gains each day. After we reach the winter solstice, when the days are the shortest and the nights the longest, the days begin, almost imperceptibly, to lengthen. At first for a second or two, and today we will gain a full half a minute. It's not until we reach the end of January that I really notice the light in the morning when I walk to the bus. These days I'm walking in the dark, with my trusty headlamp to light the way ahead and make me more visible to vehicles.

Yesterday when I drove to the starting point for the walk with the ladies, I had to drive in the dark but watched the sky turn pink as I arrived. Since we meet at 8:00am, and this particular meeting place is a bit of a drive, I didn't expect many of us to show up. But we did; there were eleven women and one dog for our six-mile walk. It felt really cold and took me awhile to warm up, but I finally did and was happy to be there, outside walking briskly with my friends. It's been six years since I first started walking with them and value the friendship and the exercise. As I've said before, I am definitely a social exerciser. If I didn't have the group, I wouldn't be going.

Which reminds me, for the first time in over a month, our regular aerobics teacher will return tomorrow. Just before Thanksgiving, her mother passed away, and as she was her last remaining relative, it fell to Joanne to take care of the estate. Since her mother lived in Seattle, Joanne traveled there often and probably had to stay overnight as well. I ran into her husband a couple of times and learned that Joanne was having a hard time of it, so it will be really good to see her getting back into her routine. She has taught that same class for over twenty years, three times a week. Our temporary instructors were just fine, but it's not the same without Joanne.

By the time I write in here next week, it will be the year 2016. I am constantly surprised by how quickly the years pass; it seems like I just got used to 2015, and now it's over. We will be more than halfway through the teen years of the new century; how did that happen? I remember the hoopla on the way toward Y2K, and here we are, sixteen years later. In China, the new year will begin on February 8, the year of the Red Fire Monkey. I just looked up my horoscope for the coming year on that link, and it says it will be "Achievement After Hardship." Do you know which animal was named the year you were born? Chinese horoscopes have 12 animals, and I was born during the Year of the Horse. Of course, I don't follow this stuff very often, but there's definitely a superstitious bone or two in my body, so I read it. Humph. I'm not sure how I feel about achievement after hardship. That means I have a trial or two ahead of me.

The older one gets, the more hardships one faces. That's because I am now 73, and as I like to think of it, I'm making my way through the human life cycle one day at a time, and they accumulate as my body begins to wear out. Therefore, my pursuits turn more introspective and my easy chair begins to be a friend I spend more time with. I love to read and ponder and write and... all those things will continue no matter what happens with my physical self. Right now I'm good, even with all the aches and pains of old age.

Which brings me to the end of this Sunday's meanderings. Again I sit here with my tea gone, my hubby almost asleep next to me (I don't hear any snoring so I'm not sure), and my day about to begin. I can feel my consciousness reaching out to my dear readers, thinking of you in all your various daily activities, taking the time to stop for a moment and feel our connection. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas that surrounded you with love. Until next week, then.


Linda Reeder said...

I wanted to sleep in this morning, but that hasn't happened lately. I wake a 6:00 or earlier and then just doze a bit until I get restless. I must have heard you typing on that lap top, because I had to get up and get going. Giving the cat a hug and feeding her comes first, but then I sit down to see what you have been contemplating on this Sunday morning.
I do not have vivid dreams, and if I do, they are never pleasant, so I have to work to shake them off.
This morning my dozing time was filled with thoughts about Star Wars. We just finished watching all of the previous episodes and will now go see the new movie soon. Star Wars is big with my kids and grand kids.
As you will no doubt see on Facebook later, today I am going to the Seahawks game! Jill has season tickets, three of them, and Irene doesn't want to go, so for this last home game, I will be going with Jill and Isaac.
Go Hawks! And Happy New year, with its precious additional minutes of daylight!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am a White Rabbit so it should be a good year for me, it said I will have wealth and become famous (LOL) and should not quarrel with anyone and be careful of injury to my face. So we will see. Oh yes a job offer that I cannot refuse.
It has been a year, I am thinking back during these days...this year was both good and bad, not sure I would want to repeat it.
I have very vivid dreams in such beautiful colors...sometimes I hate to wake up!
I hope you have a wonderful week, I am glad your favorite instructor is back. Being an only child it must be hard for her she has no one left and feels orphaned. I am certain your smile will make her feel better:)

Elephant's Child said...

I hope your hardships are small and your achievements large. I don't very often dream in images. Words. And sometimes voices.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Ah yes dreams that take us to places new and show us characters that appear from outside our circles.
And strange things can happen. Long ago I dreamt of a lovely place in Germany I'd never been to. Several years later when Buddy was 6 my aunt asked us to join her to visit thr city of Bremen. While there we walked in a newly created underground shopping area and I lost my breath as I had a very powerful déjà vue experience! It was litterally the place that had been in my dreams and in detail with clocks on walls and old style decore all around me. To this day I have no idea how such a thing is possible. It happened a second time but ery differently.
I am a FIRE DOG in the Chinese system. I have not yet looked up my fate in the coming months. I had a rough summer in 2015 but all is well now and I want to hang on to that nice feeling.

Tabor said...

Our day here has broken through to the most beautiful sunshine. Something we have not seen in days and days. I have doors flung open, listening to birds and yard machinery and smelling some wood smoke coming in from across the river. It feels like spring. When winter comes we will be so surprised.

Sally Wessely said...

Some dreams are more vivid than others for me. I rarely can recall them when I awake. I wish at times that I would write them down when I do recall them. I think we can learn much about what we are working out in our sub-conscience by analyzing our dreams.

I have not heard of the movie, but then, we seldom keep up with the movies.

I too am more of a social walker. I didn't used to be when I was single and in my 40's. In those days, I walked many miles alone nearly every day. I had the perfect walking spot near my home in what was then an undeveloped area. I miss those days of solitary walking. I must rediscover them as I seldom meet up with others to walk and Jim works so many hours.

Best to you. Have a good week.

Gigi said...

I always read the horoscope - I generally forget it immediately after I've read it, but still it's interesting. Same with fortune cookies except the last one I had - it read "You need to pick another cookie." That didn't seem ominous but didn't seem uplifting either. Thanks to your handy, dandy link, I've discovered I was born in the year of the Monkey and can anticipate Competition and Challenge in the new year. Based on what I've seen coming down the pike, that sounds about right.

Have a wonderful week! "See" you in the New Year!

Marie Smith said...

I too await the return of the light. I don't do my best work this time of year. There was a time all I wanted to do was curl up under a warm blanket and sleep through the dark days of winter. Thankfully this feeling has passed. I sense a difference by the middle of January usually. I await the light.

Marty said...

What very specific dreams you have, and coming away with someone's name from it - well, my goodness.
I enjoyed this post a great deal, maybe because many of your introspections are like mine - or would be if I could gather and express them as well as you do. And like you, I'm heartened by the fact that I will still have my mind (or I hope I will) to continue exercising when the body starts dropping parts here and there.

Red said...

Time does fly. Y2K really stands out as a maker for me. There was a lot of conflict over that situation. Yes, now 16 years later and it seems like yesterday. We slow down at a pace that we don't notice. Look back at photos and the change hits you like a brick. However, I'm still the same person and will continue one day at a time.

Anonymous said...

Interesting dreams you have. I don't remember my dreams at all.
I tend to be more like your husband, as I am not a social exerciser.
Happy 2016, DJan.

Rita said...

I have always had dreams of people I don't know and places I've never been in this life but in the dreams I know them well.

I'm almost positive I have seen 8 1/2 long ago. Sounded very familiar when I looked on imbd--black & white, muddled & confusing--and I never cared about this director (with his wife and mistress and entourage all pulling at him) having his creative block. I hope Youth isn't too much like 8 1/2 because it will probably be a confusing let down for me if it is. I was almost going to say I should try and watch 8 1/2 again because I might see it differently decades later...but life is too short--LOL! ;)

I'm year of the rabbit. I must be an optimistic rabbit. When you said you got "achievement after hardship" I immediately thought--hurray! Because I assumed that meant you'd already been through the hardship and were going to have achievement this year. Reaping the rewards, so to speak. I prefer to read it that way. Here's to a wonderful 2016!! :)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Your post got me going on my Chinese Horoscope. I’m Year of the Pig. Yeah, I know, that sounds kinda bad, doesn’t it? :-) Well, here it is … “The Pig Horoscope 2016 predicts that you will deal with 2016 in an assured manner. There is more liberty to do whatever you want. You will face challenges in life with optimism and independence. While you are asserting yourself, at the same time you will be flexible in your approach.” Not too bad, eh? I love this and it’s probably something I wouldn’t have checked out, be it not for Eye on the Edge. Thanks for sharing your blog!

Glenda Beall said...

You are encouraging to me, DJan, as I long for the longer days again. It seems we all want more daylight. We want to walk in the light, I guess.
Today I am back home after spending Christmas away and I am enjoying doing nothing but rest and catch up on blogging. Lexie is sleeping in her bed beside my chair and that is very nice.
I hope you new year has very little hardship and much happiness with your achievements.

I plan to see the movie, Youth, because Jane Fonda plays in it and she has become somewhat of a role model for me on ageing. She is just a bit older than I am but she inspires me.
Like you do, but in a different way.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Fascinating post and that dream...! Wow. I think you would enjoy any of Robert Moss's books - his specialty is dreams. Rob and I have written about his material at times. Happy holidays to you, DJan!

Barb said...

I'm a solitary walker. I like to be in Nature by myself and allow my thoughts to roam free. Sometimes, I think I'd be a good hermit. But, I know I'd miss my family and good friends and what about the blog - so I guess I'll stay connected for awhile yet. Plus, I don't think hermits use the internet and Facebook much... Happy 2016, DJan - it's been a pleasure getting to know you.

John's Island said...

Happy New Year to you and Smart Guy! I'm looking forward to another great year following Eye on the Edge!