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, January 24, 2016

Almost to the halfway point

Looking out at a very wet landscape
You know, I always think I can deal with the continual rain here with equanimity, but every once in awhile I realize how much I miss sunshine streaming in the windows. It was less than a week ago when we had a beautiful Thursday hike with blue skies overhead, but the angle of the sun is so low when you live this far north that we saw very little of the sun. Today and tomorrow promise to be sunny, though, and I'll enjoy the returning light.

Today solar noon will occur at 12:22pm, with the sun angle at 22 degrees. That's 4 degrees higher in the sky than it was at the beginning of the month. It will continue to climb in the sky as the seasons progress toward the summer solstice. I know all this because of a website I have mentioned before: timeanddate.com. If you're interested in the angle of the sun where you live and other fascinating aspects of local astronomy, check it out. All you need to do is put in your location and it does the rest.

Groundhog Day (February 2) is the halfway point from the winter solstice to the spring equinox, which means after that date we are closer to springtime than we are to the winter doldrums. I haven't read the news yet, but I've looked at a couple of my favorite blogs to see how my friends on the East Coast fared in yesterday's snowstorm. I've seen some pictures that reminded me of massive snowfalls I've experienced in other parts of the country. When I lived in Michigan as a young mother, I remember one time when the snowfall and snowdrifts piled the snow higher than the top of the door! We had to tunnel our way out to the street, where snowplows would finally make the area accessible again. My son and I had a great time playing in it. He was five or six, as I remember, meaning I was in my early to mid-twenties.

What a long time ago that was. I saw a wonderful movie yesterday, Carol, a love story between two women set in the early 1950s in New York. The movie is based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt, which was originally written under a pseudonym and has since been published again under her name. Written in 1952, I found this wonderful link from the New Yorker that reveals Highsmith's backstory. She wrote thrillers for most of her career.

I loved feeling immersed in that time period. The director and producer captured it perfectly. The clothes, the cars, the music, the ubiquitous cigarette and cocktails at luncheon: all bits of our past history that are gone now, long gone. Although I was only a small child at the time, I remember the moment in time. One aspect of the movie that keeps coming back in bits and pieces to me is the difference in the way men treated women back then. If a man fancied a woman and asked her to marry him, she was almost expected to accept. It was what every woman apparently wanted to achieve. The days of Ozzie and Harriet, her with the lace apron and pearls while she prepared the family dinner, he coming home from his unknown office job. They were an actual family, the Nelsons. The sitcom ran for 14 years, with their two sons growing up in front of a television audience.

I was part of that audience and remember having a crush on Ricky. It's interesting to think how the worldview of many women like me was shaped by the mores and attitudes of the time. There were never any real problems in that TV family, and I guess that made it seem like I was not quite normal when I got into scrapes and troubles that were outside the reality of that make-believe world.

How much our world has changed. Much of the difference today, I believe, is because everything that happens all over the world is known immediately by anyone with a TV or a laptop. Smartphones were not even dreamed of back in 1952. Unfortunately for many of us, what the media chooses to focus on is what we think is happening in everyone's world, and heartwarming stories tend to be pushed out by stories of wars, disasters, and suffering. It's enough to make anybody depressed, especially when the days are short and the nights are long. For me, I realize that I can direct my daily focus to what really matters and what makes me feel better about the state of the world.

Nothing stays the same. The fact that today in my part of the world we are gaining almost three minutes of daylight every single day brings a smile to my face. It's never going to stay dark forever. I've got a roof over my head, a partner who loves me and takes good care of me, and an active daily routine that gives me a chance to enjoy the Pacific Northwest with all its ups and downs of weather.

Next Saturday I will attend an all-day session for those of us who wish to become End-of-Life Advance Care Directive facilitators. I've done all the rest of the work and am looking forward to this final step. I'm a little nervous about it, but I suspect that isn't unusual. Helping other people to make their wishes known to their loved ones and getting it in a form that hospitals and other facilities will respect is critical. I feel called to do this task, and I will join a larger group of people, mostly women, who are also completing their training. When I write in here next week, I'll tell you all about it.

Until then, I'll continue to stay positive and hope for the best for me, my own family and friends, and you, my faithful readers as well. Life is good here at the present, and today we'll even have some sunshine to brighten our landscape. Be well, dear friends, until we meet again next week.


Anonymous said...

The 1950s were a bad decade for me, as I was abused as a child. I don't ever want to revisit that era. I prefer the 2000s much more.

Linda Reeder said...

We saw "Spotlight" last night. Another good movie, set in a time only slightly removed from the present, but what that investigation revealed seems like old news now, except that the repercussions continue.
The sky is lightening new here south of Seattle and I can see that it is clearing. I look forward to a walk outside this morning. Yesterday I was confined to doing my exercising inside.
I remember the 50's very clearly. The Nelson's were an ideal family, nothing like my own reality. But then sometimes escaping from reality for a bit can be a welcome thing.
I think I'll avoid the Sunday morning news talk shows today. I don't need anymore Trump/Palin politics. Their "reality" really bites.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Recently we watched some reruns of Ozzie and Harriet, if you get a chance you should too...Ozzie was a chauvinist. I didn't get warm and fuzzy feelings like I used to. I watched that show mainly to see Ricky sing..but still. My family was nothing like them either...families are complicated sometimes.
I am so glad to put these day in January behind us...looks grey again today and might be snowing later.
I watched the weather channel for the storm on the East Coast...I have two nephews out there...one has a baby due any day/minute. I gave him a bad time about delivering a baby...he is so not that type:)
I am avoiding politics, I am sick of it already and we are still a long ways from the election:0

Rian said...

DJan, I love movies or books about the 50's. Yes, a lot was going on that is different today, but it was a good time for me. Growing up was simple and fun, life wasn't complicated and my family were probably a lot like the TV families. Mom probably never wore pearls to clean the house, but she would never have worn jeans and a T-shirt either. As for the media now, disasters do seem to hog the news... and people are too easily offended. Technology has brought us instant communication - which in some cases is wonderful, but in others totally unnecessary. Privacy has gotten lost in the shuffle.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, One of the things I especially enjoy about Eye on the Edge is how we share an interest in astronomy and how it affects our daily lives. TimeandDate.com is one of my favorite sites for finding out all the info like you mentioned … angle of the sun, length of day, etc. I wonder if you are one who enjoys using a world globe? I have an older one that has the “analemma” on it. Now, you probably already know all about the analemma, but, if not, you might find it interesting to read up on it … I’m over-simplifying, but basically, if you took a camera outside and photographed the position of the sun in the sky each day, for one year, at exactly the same time, and then combined the photos into one, the result would be the analemma showing the sun’s position in the sky through the various seasons. You can see an example of this in Wiki at this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analemma Now, getting back to your post, I like the way you reflect on change. You said, “Nothing stays the same.” You are so right and you confirm an old saying, “The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.” Thanks for another fine post and hope you have a great week ahead. Take good care!

amanda said...

We're noticing the minutes of daylight gained, each little bit adds up to make quite a difference over a month of dark winter days.
I look forward to hearing from you next week. I feel very "charged" -for lack of better description, for you, feeling this calling and acting on it. Proud of you, inspired by you, eager for you to do the work you are setting forth to do. You've written at some time in the past about energy.. I'm thankful for the positive, empowered energy you share with the world and myself, DJan.

Gigi said...

We have been stuck in the house since Friday - iced in. I thought I would lose my mind. But today, we have sunshine too. And the Husband was able to get us out of the house for a couple of hours! (My hero!) I love knowing that Spring is surely on it's way.

Have a wonderful week, DJan!

Marie Smith said...

I always look forward to your posts. Thank you for the info on the time and date site. It will be among my favourites. I imagine the workshop will be so helpful as you get ready to work with your peers on this important venture. Enjoy!

Tabor said...

Yes, we are still not treated fairly, honestly or with balance. Our religions do not reflect strong women or women's values; and our politics still considered women an anomaly in the leadership world; we do not have equal pay nor do we get equal treatment in the courtroom. We have not yet come a long way.

Red said...

It really takes very little to make us content. a few days of sunshine make a big difference. The syrupy sweet TV shows probably gave people something to look for but in many case made people feel very miserable as the mistakenly thought something was wrong with them if they weren't like the TV characters.

troutbirder said...

I have sweet mem0ries of my growing up in the 50's. those were the days.....:)

Arkansas Patti said...

Ah yes the Nelsons. I dated a boy that looked like Ricky but my crush was on David. He was the steady, solid son. I loved that show but would probably like to see it again today as an "enlightened" person of this age. So much has changed since then.
I know you are looking forward to sunny days but I appreciate how you don't let dreary ones stop you from doing what you enjoy.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Ozzie and Harriet...wow, what a flash from the past! I didn't realize Carol had been written by Highsmith. Now I will definitely see it!

Rita said...

I watched Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, Donna Reed, and later Andy Griffith...and I am so glad I did. Even if they were of the times and chauvinistic and all of that, those TV shows were where I learned the most about right and wrong, loving people who weren't perfect, and forgiveness. They helped me a lot in taking care of my brother and sister from such a young age. It is weird to watch them now. We accepted society the way it was back then, I guess. Until the 60s--LOL! When we questioned everything and wanted the world to be a fair place filled with kindness and compassion. Still working on it. Progress has been slow--but steady. *from an old flower child*

Glenda Beall said...

I, too, love movies about the fifties, the days of my youth. It still seems strange to realize that time is considered vintage or a long time ago. I hear people talk about doing research on the fifties - gosh, that makes it history. I'd like to see TV go back to a time when shows had a moral or at least more optimistic theme. I was an innocent kid back then and looking back realize I was fortunate to have grown up in that era.
I, too, am so sick of politics and Trump on all the shows, I didn't watch the Sunday news shows either. All the networks are seeking ratings so they keep giving him free publicity, over and over. The people who might be good statesmen are ignored for his ridiculous statements.
We had snow here in the mountains of NC so I have been isolated with my dog for three days, but it was wonderful. I got some chores done. But I long for a sunny day. I read the book Being Mortal Medicine and What Matters... on my Kindle. Now I want the book in paper so I can go back and easily read certain parts. Thanks for recommending it.

Sally Wessely said...

You always leave us with much to think about. Today has been a bit gloomy here. I thought of those living where there is never much sun during these January days. I thought of those living back where the snow is more that two feet deep. I live where I know I can cope the best in the winter. I love the northeast, but I love sunny days more.

I was a child in the 50's and certainly miss aspects from those days, but I am also grateful I did not come of age during a time when women had so few options. It was bad enough in the early 60's.

Have a good week. May you soon have sunny days in your future.

Barb said...

With all the snow back east, the groundhog is sure to see his shadow! (Of course, it's a given in CO that we'll continue with snow. I only start cursing the groundhog in May.) I was a child in the 50's, but my mother was not stereotypical. Maybe I even felt a little jealous of that Ozzie and Harriet life!