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 19, 2020

Mid-January reflections

Our walking group yesterday
I've been walking with this group for years now, and yesterday's walk was the smallest turnout I've seen in all our various weather configurations. Nobody wanted to go out and walk around on the snow-covered trails. We've walked in a downpour, on slippery sidewalks, in windstorms, and even occasionally under sunny skies. But yesterday only seven of us showed up. Cindy sent around an email changing our venue from the downtown area to the trails behind Barkley Haggen's grocery store. We walked from there to Whatcom Falls and turned around. Not a long walk, but it had plenty of icy patches. It's a lot of work to walk on snow, but nobody fell, not even me!

After a week of below-normal temperatures and all this snow, things are gradually returning to normal. Yesterday it got all the way up to above freezing, and today should see much of the remaining snow melt away. At least I can drive around now without fear of hitting any ice and losing control of my car. When I lived in Colorado I learned to drive in these conditions, but I'm older now and much less confident behind the wheel driving in snow and ice.

And so many of my usual activities have been curtailed because of the weather. On Thursday, the Senior Center was closed and some intrepid hikers showed up anyway. One of the hiking groups canceled, and the other (ours) decided to hike around the Lake Padden upper trails. I decided just to make it home and stay inside, since the driving was still not good on side roads. I've had all the winter weather I need for the season.

Today my friend Judy and I will head to our local theater to see 1917. Neither of us are anxious to see this movie, another war film. And as many historical buffs know, this was one of the most awful wars ever. But the movie has garnered so many Oscar nominations that we will go anyway and decide how we feel about it. Yesterday I streamed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and watched it at home. I enjoyed it very much, and the performances by Leonardo diCaprio and Brad Pitt were wonderful. They have both earned well deserved nominations.

A few weeks ago we saw Little Women, which I truly enjoyed and, so far of the ones I've seen, would pick it as the best picture of the year. The premise is slightly changed from all the previous versions, and the performances are stellar. I don't understand why Greta Gerwig, the writer and director, was not nominated for awards, I really don't. I've read that it's partly politics; women are not supposed to be good at this sort of thing. Whatever. It is a delight and I highly recommend it. The period costumes are incredible, too.

It was a week of interrupted plans, but I still found plenty to enjoy. These days you can stay in your own cozy little abode and find lots of interesting diversions. I have read a couple of books and streamed some episodes of Star Trek on my iPad, and occasionally even turned on the TV and watched the news. I remember when it was impossible to stay up to date without watching TV, but now it's an afterthought. My laptop brings me plenty of news programs, and I can choose to read and watch what I am most interested in. I pay for access to so many national newspapers that I cannot keep up. It's sure an interesting time to be alive.

It was only a few weeks ago that the only thing I could think about was the condition of my back, especially the sciatic nerve that caused me to walk around like an old person with a bad back. Today I am still an old person, but the aches and pains of my back are completely gone. I credit my acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor, and yoga for that wonderful state of affairs. I know that whatever difficulties I face in the future will benefit from these practitioners, too. Although I am still grappling with the fact of birthdays coming around way too often, I know that for my age I'm doing just fine. Soon it will be time for my annual wellness visit, and I'm hoping that the numbers in my blood draws will not show anything untoward. But you never know: it's important to visit the doctor now and then, even if you're healthy.

When I think back over my long life and reminisce about all that I once did and no longer even miss, such as my skydiving years, or my career that I left behind more than a decade ago, I am really quite amazed that I've found so much pleasure in making my own routines. My friends and family sustain me in many ways, too. Writing my posts every week also help to keep me engaged and mentally sharp. This morning I had absolutely no idea where I'd be traveling in these musings, but somehow or other I've managed to eke out some semblance of a blog post here. I like to write, but actually I like to read other people's writings even more. The blogosphere is filled with interesting people, and I visit some of them daily, too. What a full life! Where did I ever find the time to fit in a job?

Part of it is that I've slowed down and begun the process of letting go of extraneous aspects of life, and now I can just sit back in my easy chair and ponder just what I want to do with my remaining time on this beautiful planet. One thing I know I will never stop doing: realizing my great good fortune and being grateful for all that I am able to appreciate and enjoy. I am guided by those who are also traveling this path with me, and learning how to find gratitude in everyday little pleasures.

It's way more fun to think about the good stuff than to be a grumpy old curmudgeon. We all have some of those people in our lives, and it's probably a good idea to simply smile and maybe even commiserate for awhile. But not for long; I'll be looking for people who are in love with life to hang around with. Just like any virus can be contagious, so can the benign virus of love. I'll spend my days spreading that virus, I hope.

So, dear friends, until next week when we meet again, I hope you will spread that virus and find plenty in your life to be grateful for. I have my dear partner sleeping next to me, softly snoring, my tea is long gone, and the coffee shop and my pals there are calling to me. Please take these days ahead to look on the good side of life; it's there for all of us, I know it is. I wish you all good things.


Galen Pearl said...

I love your posts. You embrace life with enthusiasm and gratitude. Sometimes I am just overwhelmed with a flood of gratitude, for nothing in particular. I know you have had some deep loss in your life, and yet you find joy in whatever stage of life you find yourself in. Thanks for sharing your reflections with us. And your photos.

gigi-hawaii said...

I can't imagine driving in snow and ice. Over here in Hawaii, the volcanoes on the Big Island are covered with snow. Stay well and be happy, because today might be your last.

Linda Reeder said...

Tom and I are off to a very slow start this morning after a mostly sleepless night. Yesterday we spent the day with family and friends of our dearly departed brother-in-law, Arnie. I finally got to hug my sister and her children. The service was meaningful and the lunch and tributes were great, but I think we were both haunted by it all last night. We will be moving on, slowly, knowing that my sister is being carefully watched over by here loving family.
Movies: We watched "Once Upon a Time ...In Hollywood last week, and decided it was a awful movie. Good acting, sure, and great set design, etc., but the gratuitous violence, typical Tarantino, and the whole confused story line left us cold.
We loved "Little women". a beautiful movie. We saw "1917" on Friday, and while it is a very good movie in many ways, I guess we all know the war is hell already. We've seen a few more and hae plans to see more of the nominated movies if we can find them. some we plan to just skip.
Right now I'm looking for HAPPY.

William Kendall said...

Wisely said.

Elephant's Child said...

I do love your Sunday Musings. It is Monday here and as always it is a delightful start to the week.
Gratitude is a gift which keeps on giving. And giving. I embrace it.
I am very glad that your back pain is a thing of the past.

Anonymous said...

You are very lucky to be able to afford b ham as I call it..Wonderful town but only for those with some money and resources, not so much for the others..Boulder is absolutely gorgeous and mellow and sky high costs..Many homeless and hopeless in Boulder & Denver and the burbs But they always say in colorful Colorado the sunshine and dry air and blue skies makes up for a lot of the other things no one seems to be able to control..Enjoy your retirement and days up in B-ham it is a mellow city with like minded people and outdoorsy which appeals to you and many others..our only enjoyed WWU immensely and could be up there marketing WWU amd we would be up seeing her and enjoying Whatcom county, snow and ice and all the moisture that gets up there, it seemed in our minds it was chilly and cool all year thru except for august and September then it was glorious..enjoy your piece of heaven on earth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bonnie said...

Thank you! Your Sunday post helps me more than you may know. Enjoy your week and keep spreading that love virus!

Gigi said...

Your Sunday posts are my very favorite - I am always at peace after I read them and look around with gratitude for my little piece of earth.

I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed Little Women - I would love to see it but will probably have to wait until it's available for streaming; such is life when surrounded by men. My friend would love to go but with the sporadic hours she's been working I don't see it happening.

Red said...

I have a book to recommend Aging successfully by Daniel Leventon. I haven't read it but I heard him interviewed and I was impressed. So I have a hold on this book and the library hasn't got it in yet.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Ha! We live to see another snowy day! Can you tell I am thrilled!! Yes I know I should be thankful... I will work on that! You still have that fellow in the walking group...he just keeps coming!! Good for him!!!!!! And a dog how perfect is that! Have a wonderful week:)

The Furry Gnome said...

You should buy some of those small lightweight snowshoes with ice grips.

Rosie said...

I really enjoy reading your posts but I don't often comment so thought I would today. I too have problems with sciatic nerve pain so will see if some of your suggestions work for me. I don't know if I would like walking in the snow but do enjoy walking and it's good to get out and about even when the weather is not so good. Thanks for sharing.

Arkansas Patti said...

Loved the picture of your group and see your lone male is hanging in. Don't suppose the dog is male to even up the odds a bit for him?
So glad your back woes are behind you. You use the same group of professionals do and they are really great.
Me too on the news. Ugh.

Marie Smith said...

Winter is settled in here and has become a menace very quickly. Your winters are mild compared to ours. It is -3 C and sunny today but down to -19 tonight and high winds. My outdoor activity is curtailed but I fill my time indoors just fine. I like to stay inside when it is so cold outside.

Glad you are recovered, Jan.

Glenda Beall said...

Your winter is a bit colder than mine, I think. It was in the twenties last night, but has been sunny and cold, but not freezing.
Like you, my back is better, and I use those kinds of practitioners you do. Wish Medicare paid for them.
On my blog today I wrote about the changes I am making in my lifestyle. I plan to stop and smell the roses more this year. Glad you gave your thoughts on Little Women. I hope to see it on the big screen, but not sure if it is still here in my rural area. I thought the director of this movie would certainly be nominated. She has had rave reviews on her work. But, it is impossible for women directors to be recognized in Hollywood as long as the Good Old Boys Network runs things. One day it will be different, I hope.
You are very brave to hike in the ice and cold. Please be careful. A fall could have a disastrous effect on your walking.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, the first words Dulcy gave me on the first Saturday of July in 1989, two days after she died, were "At the end, all that matters is love . . ." As I've aged, I've come to realize, as you so clearly have, too, that perhaps Dulcy was talking about gratitude also. "At the end all that matters is gratitude---our being grateful for the love for the joy for the home for being able to heat that home and having food on the table for being able to read and think and reach out to others and being able to be there for someone who reaches to us. So much to be grateful for and perhaps it all does mean--I think Dulcy knew this--that to be grateful is to be loving and to love the life that we live and have lived and will live. Thank you for being such a tender person. Peace.

John's Island said...

Over the last 10 days or so I have thought of you, Dear DJan, several times because the weather lady on Channel 4 keeps talking about Bellingham and what you've gone through up there with our recent weather. You've had much tougher conditions than we did just this short distance away in Seattle. And, it hasn't been much but rain and snow down here. :-) I'm looking forward to see what you have to say tomorrow morning in the new edition of Eye. I need some inspiration. After taking that long "blog break" last fall I'm having a tough time getting back into routine publishing mode. You have been one of my most loyal followers and I always appreciate your encouragement. Over the 9 years I've been publishing John's Island I've found just a few, 4 or 5, blogs, that keep me going and provide inspiration, and Eye is one of them. You do a great job here and I hope you will keep going for a long time. Best regards from Seattle!