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, May 26, 2019

The future's not ours to see

Rhodies and ocean beyond
This is the most beautiful time of year in the Pacific Northwest, I think. These lovely rhododendrons are abundant everywhere right now. I took this picture right outside the front door of Luena's airbnb. My sister-in-law returned to southern California yesterday after two weeks visiting us here. It amazes me how quickly I got used to having her around. I accused her of having wormed her way into my heart and now she's got to come back every year. She agrees completely.

It was a tough news week for me, and I found myself having trouble finding equanimity after watching or reading. Doris Day died at the age of 97, having lived a good full life, which reminds me that we all age and die; it's the nature of life itself. She won't have a funeral or other ceremony marking her passing because, I read, she didn't believe in them. I read her biography on Wikipedia and learned that she was a great animal lover and founded several organizations that safeguard animal welfare, especially dogs and horses. Doris Day was part of my childhood and adult years, and her uplifting movies and songs never failed to make me happy.

I remember singing that song, Que Será Será, which she first sang in 1956, and which also became the theme song for her show, as a young girl, a mother, and an adult in the 1960s. In my mind I can hear her strong voice singing those lyrics, and ever since I heard of her death, the song has been close to my heart. It helped me get to sleep several times last week, just listening to the song in my head until I fell asleep.
Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be
It reminds me that everything changes, everything both good and bad, and that it's not possible to second-guess anything that might come to pass. Much of my anxiety is fueled by wanting events in the world to be different, and there is nothing at all I can do about it. Climate change, species extinction, politics, worldwide calamities, none of it is within my power to change. So why do I get twisted up in knots over it all?

It might be because I care so deeply about it all, or perhaps it's simply because my turbulent thoughts need something to gnaw on, like a dog with a bone. The world has gone through plenty of disastrous times in the past, and they inevitably change into something different. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. But change is the only constant, so why do I let myself lose my peace of mind?

Taking the long view is helpful for me, which is one of the reasons I check the Astronomy Picture of the Day on a regular basis. Looking at the cosmos, where our little Earth is a tiny pinprick in a tiny galaxy among the immensity, helps me place my concerns into a larger context. And I must remind myself, often, that whatever happens in the present is just a small little blip in the grand scheme of things. So why not just sit back and relax? Or allow myself to experience joy? It's all around me, if I take a look.

Today is the biggest party of the year in Bellingham. It's the Ski to Sea race, a relay race that starts an hour from now (7:30am) in the Mt. Baker Ski Area and makes its way down to Bellingham Bay in Fairhaven. The seven different segments are made up of cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, running, road biking, canoeing, mountain biking, and finally kayaking to the finish line. Each team has up to eight members, and teams vary from professionals who train for it, all the way to recreational neophytes who just want to see how they do and become part of the event.

When I was skydiving, I would leave town early on the day of the race and saw long lines of cars coming into Bellingham as I drove away. A couple of years after I quit doing that, I would take a shuttle bus from downtown to Fairhaven to watch the goings-on, but the incredible crowds and noise made me decide it's just not for me. Now I am happy to read about the results and enjoy myself elsewhere. Today I'll see what the day brings, after my usual trip to the coffee shop to join my friends. Although Fairhaven is a couple of miles away from downtown Bellingham, it will be a challenge to find a place to park my car. Maybe I should take the bus instead. Sunday bus service is limited, but it's better than trying to park on a day like today.

Well, I feel much better already. I have a day ahead filled with whatever I choose, and I've got good friends to do it with, along with my dear partner, who still sleeps next to me as I write this. Whatever will be, will be. The future's not mine to see, is it?

I do hope you will enjoy today, as I intend to, and that you will do it with love in your heart. Memorial Day is tomorrow, and I will remember all my loved ones who have gone before me. Their number increases with each year, but that's the way it's supposed to be. It doesn't stop me from loving them, that's for sure. Please remember to take care of yourself as well, as you are cherished by friends near and far. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things.


Marie Smith said...

A cousin noted on social media today that she still talks out loud to her parents though they are long gone. I do too. Many others commented the same. Those long gone are just a thought, word, or song, away.

gigi-hawaii said...

And I wish you good things, too. Enjoy your Sunday.

John's Island said...

"I check the Astronomy Picture of the Day on a regular basis. Looking at the cosmos, where our little Earth is a tiny pinprick in a tiny galaxy among the immensity, helps me place my concerns into a larger context." This is excellent and thank you. I usually start the day by checking my emails. I think I will change that. I have bookmarked the Astronomy Picture of the Day and think I'll take a look there first. I wish you and SG a good day and week ahead!

William Kendall said...

The stars put things into perspective.

Elephant's Child said...

I hear you on frequently being distressed about things I cannot alter.
You look to the stars for comfort, and I look to nature. Long may they help both of us.
Have a wonderful week dear DJan. You are hugely important to me.

Red said...

You worked the song into the theme of your post. For the most cases what ever will happen will happen. I think we do have control over some parts of our life. I think we can be an influence on what happens on this earth. we have to work at changing the big things.

Linda Myers said...

I'm powerless over most things and for some reason I'm usually able to let them go. There are two things I can do, though: volunteer (with refugees and asylum seekers, most recently) and vote.

Linda Reeder said...

The day is done now. I struggled all day with a technology problem that has left me disgruntled, but an evening walk wiht my partner has helped. I plan to make tomorrow a normal day. Normalcy helps.

Rita said...

So glad you and your SIL have connected so well. Having her some to stay every year will be something to look forward to. :)

I hadn't heard about Doris Day's passing. She always seemed like such a kind woman. I knew of her love of animals. That's a marvelous song to have in your head.

I get myself worked up into knots sometimes, too, over those same things you mention that I can't do much about, either. I know that we can only do whatever we are able to do in our own backyard, so to speak. The bigger picture really does help. And I remind myself that if I am all wound up in those knots then I am sending out negative energy...and I don't want to do that. (A lot of reminding the past couple years!) :)

Arkansas Patti said...

As soon as I read your title, that song was in my head and will probably be there for a while. I too admired Doris Day, especially her love for animals.
It is easy to get all knotty about what is going on today but there are times in history that were much worse and we managed to survive. The bad part is that with all the outlets for the news, it is harder to escape the horrors today. I keep saying I will ignore the news but it is like a train wreck, hard to look away. We will survive and hopefully thrive, that is my hope.

Friko said...

More or less every day I remind myself not to mind so much about the world as it is now. Maybe shut off the news occasionally or pursue only pleasurable things, like tiring myself in the garden or reading an uplifting book. I don’t often succeed, nasty world events have a habit of intruding. Perhaps it’s enough if we try in our small way to make what difference we can?

Trish MacGregor said...

Taking the long view is something at which Sadges excel! Lovely post.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Good to hear you had a good visit with your sister in law! Hope she comes back soon.
When I heard that Doris Day was 97 I could hardly believe it...yes I thought of that song too and can see her singing it! I loved how spunky she was!
I hope you can find a way to relax and let what will be...I know it is hard :)

likeschocolate said...

Yes, it was hard to hear that Doris Day died. She was such a wonderful actress! She did have a long life and I hope it was a wonderful reunion with her family up above.

Hilary said...

I needed to be reminded of that....that we cannot see or change the future...........struggling with that a bit right now.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Thank you for this uplifting post. A great way to start MY day!