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, June 19, 2016

Father's Day 2016

This picture of my father was posted on Facebook recently by one of my siblings, and it brought back memories of long ago. I remember watching that green wavy line on the oscilloscope when I was a kid, but I don't know to this day what that device did. Daddy probably told me but it didn't mean anything to me so I have forgotten. I've forgotten a lot of things in my life, but my parents are still very present to me. Even all these years later, I can still remember the sound and resonance of Daddy's voice.

I was very fortunate to have been raised in a large family with parents who loved each other and stayed together. It's a rarity these days, and I myself managed to bumble my way through many relationships and marriages, until I found my soulmate in SG. It's wonderful to share my life with him, and to actually be happier together today than the day we met. Although we have no children between us, having met at the age of fifty, and with only the sport of skydiving as a shared activity, it's a miracle that we got together at all. I give thanks every day for his presence in my life. I can't imagine how different my life would be without him.

While I was writing this post last Sunday, I didn't know that a gunman had killed and wounded more than a hundred people in Orlando, Florida, a few hours before. I suffered over the news of that event as much as I did over Sandy Hook in 2013. I found myself crying at odd times and without much warning. Although we have almost daily mass murders here in the United States, I never think of myself as  being possibly caught up in one. I'm not so sure any more. There is so much hatred and anger everywhere I look, and it is only growing with this toxic presidential election looming. I've taken to skipping the daily news cycle and only watching the PBS News Hour once or twice a week, getting the rest of my news from the internet, where I can pick and choose what I let in.

Just writing that last paragraph makes me sad, once again. This is not the direction I want to travel for this Father's Day post, and it was only last year when I wrote a tribute to my father, which you can read here if you're interested. I reread it just now, hoping to find some direction for today's post. I don't want to wallow in sadness, and I don't want to repeat myself, so I'm casting a wide net to see what I catch. Last year's post told about who Daddy was to me and about his early death from heart disease. I've now lived eleven years longer than he did, partly because I exercise obsessively and take statins, which seems to have helped. My numbers are good, even exceptional, which would not be the case if I allowed myself to slack off on diet and exercise.

Tomorrow we in the Northern Hemisphere will celebrate the summer solstice, with revelers in Britain gathering at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise. Here's an excerpt from that link:
The encompassing horseshoe arrangement of the five central trilithons, the heel stone, and the embanked avenue, are aligned to the sunset of the winter solstice and the opposing sunrise of the summer solstice. A natural landform at the monument's location followed this line, and may have inspired its construction.
Nobody knows why Stonehenge was created so many thousands of years ago, but its history and what has been learned about it is fascinating to me. That something created so long ago still exists fills me with wonder. So much of what surrounds me every day will not be in existence even a few centuries from now. It's somehow comforting to me to take a longer view of history.

What will I do with this Father's Day? First of all, I will finish my early morning task of writing this post, and then I'll get up and head off to the coffee shop, my own special place in Bellingham, and wish a happy Father's Day to John, who will already have arrived and had his breakfast, with his iPad in front of him to read the news. Gene is gone off to Alaska for his six-week fishing expedition, catching salmon on his little tugboat, Hobo, with his crew of women.
Gene with last year's crew on Hobo
I found this picture on Gene's Facebook page, just to show you what he's up there in Alaska doing right now instead of hanging around in the coffee shop with us. He built that boat, along with many others, and swears every year when he comes back to Bellingham that it's the last year he'll be doing this. But every year he goes back. I know there will come a day when he doesn't go off fishing at this time of year; he's been doing it since he was a teenager. I celebrate his presence in my life, not to mention the great salmon I'll be eating when he returns. Gene is very generous with his friends and I'm glad to count myself in that number.

Then after the time I spend in the coffee shop, I'll come home and spend some time with my guy before heading out into the sunshine. It rained all day long yesterday and made my garden very happy; I won't need to water for a day or two, but weeds need constant tending to keep them at bay. I sure love to get my hands dirty these days and talk to my plants, so that's also on the agenda. I'm also reading a book that isn't holding my interest all that much, so I'll pick it up and read a little at a time. It's called A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It's good enough that I continue to return to it, but it just hasn't grabbed me yet.

Other than that, I'll enjoy my day off from scheduled exercise and maybe visit with a few nearby friends. Next week begins another semester of yoga, so I have the week off and will try a free class at the next level up from mine, to see if I'm yet ready to take it or will stay with my gentle yoga for another season. And I've decided to skip next week's hike with the Trailblazers, since I know it's one that would challenge my knee too much. I'll be looking for something to take its place, maybe a favorite hike around town.

Yes, I am definitely a creature of habit, and I realize how much I miss it when there's a change in my schedule. I'll be volunteering at WAHA tomorrow as I do most Mondays. I enjoy helping people with their Advance Care Directives for end-of-life care. I have learned so much from my clients already, and I've only been doing this since the beginning of the year. I've also got a new circle of friends with the other women who do this work. Yes, my life here in Bellingham continues to keep me occupied; in fact, every now and then I realize that I'm actually too busy! Well, since I'm in charge, I can change that, right? Right.

And having cast that wide net, I've caught myself an eclectic post, filled with a bit of this and a bit of that. But I can feel myself being drawn into the day, ready to get up and have a spot of breakfast before heading out. I do hope that you fathers out there will have an especially fine day, and that all the rest of you will have a good day, too. I give thanks for all that fills my life, and that includes you, my dear readers. Please be well and filled with happiness until we meet again.


Linda Reeder said...

Good Sunday morning! The sun is shining!
Yesterday we put Jill and the grands on a plane headed for Colorado. Jake is at the Whidbey cabin enjoying a few days off. Tom and I will mark the day with a few more adventures, continuing our roaming from yesterday. We will visit two open gardens on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, then go to the Ballard Farmer's Market, walk along the canal, have lunch some where, and pick up a pizza on the way home to eat while we watch the Sounders on TV, back in MLS action, later today.
It's Fathers do-as-you-please Day here. And we like it.

Far Side of Fifty said...

We are having a quiet day, we may go for a drive later. I will probably mow the lawn as our rains have made it grow! It is very windy here, so taking photos of wildflowers will not happen today.
It seems everyday last week brought more sad news to Florida, my heart weeps for the parents of the two year old. It brought back memories of when we were stationed there and how closely I had to watch our not quite two year old. They can be in trouble so fast.
I am trying not to watch too much news either as it becomes an emotional overload.
Have a good week:)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, First a question: I wonder what your dad did for a living? The pic of him with the oscilloscope has me wondering. I don't mention it too much on my blog but one of my hobbies is radio ... I'm a licensed ham radio operator. I don't really like the moniker "ham" but it is the one for the hobby, so I have to go with it. :-) In the good ol' days, when "tubes" were king in radios, oscilloscopes were often used to test tubes and for many other functions. I could get going on this but better not. Anyway, that is a neat Father's Day photo. And you certainly gave a nice tribute as well to SG on this day. I sure hear you about Orlando and agree ... things are just going to get worse before they get better. I love your mention of Gene and his fishing boat with female crew! One of these days at the coffee shop I hope you'll ask Gene to take a look at some of my maritime posts and see what he thinks. I can definitely see how it would be tough giving up the annual trip to Alaska! Lastly, I thought this interesting: Tomorrow is your day to volunteer. Tuesday is mine. We are on opposite sides of the life spectrum. You help folks with the end, I help them with the beginning ... when I hold little babies in the Intensive Care Nursery at the hospital. Hope you have a great day today and take good care through the week ahead! I always enjoy Eye on the Edge!

Anonymous said...

You are most fortunate that your life is full. Not many people can say that. Enjoy your Sunday and the rest of week. Blessings to all.

Elephant's Child said...

Love the pot-pourri of this post.
Have a wonderful Sunday/week/life.

Marie Smith said...

Love your words about your Dad. I had a great one too and my husband is a great father and grandfather. How blessed we are to have such good men in our lives!

Have a great week.

Gigi said...

All the doings in Orlando have broken my heart. I don't even recognize the world we live in anymore. Like you, I limit what news I take in - I just can't handle too much of the ugliness of it all.

Sending you happy thoughts and hope you have a wonderful week.

Red said...

At age 76 I often think of my parents. My Mom died at age 59 and my Dad at age 95. So I hope you enjoy your day and week. You keep well occupied which keeps us young . Forget about the numbers.

Rhapsody Phoenix said...

Good for you, you had a great father, I can't say the same for me, he was never a willingly active participant in my life, he sort of came like the eclipse.

Orlando - so much to say though I will opt for 4 words "God help us all"

have a fabulous week.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I agree that your excercise is keeping you in good health. Seems reasearch is suggesting for !0 years now that statin drugs do little to alter heart health as first thought. It took 40 years to reach that conclusion and many docs are still pushing the med. The less drugs the better it seems. More people die frpm pneumonia than heart disease and cancer combined. Chilling thought. They just don't tell us😒

Arkansas Patti said...

You certainly covered a lot of ground on Father's day. Your dad was a handsome man and I know how you feel. I often can hear my daddy's voice.
Orlando has broken so many of us. Like you, anymore I hate to watch the news. Shootings everywhere and just shopping for groceries is no longer safe. Some really sick minds full of hate out there.
I keep thinking there are more of us than them.
Hope you are enjoying this longest day of the year. Keep getting those hands dirty. It is good therapy.

Rita said...

I don't watch the news and try to avoid it online as much as possible, too. You always hear the big stuff, regardless. Love that Gene fishes with a female crew and is such a generous friend. I'm glad you are picking and choosing hikes and climbing treks--being kind and respectful to your body. You will find things to do. I'm sure of that--LOL! :)

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I would rather read your posts than watch the news!

Friko said...

Eclectic indeed. And why not. A mental ramble is as good as a mental somersault, if not better.

I often think of my dad but I have yet to write about him. I think that is because I feel rather guilty at how unkind I treated him occasionally, when I was young. Perhaps I shall have to take courage and finally give him his due.

As for politics? Brrr. Here as well as over there. It’s sickening that we let these nasty creatures take up so much of our time.