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, September 27, 2020

Changing my perspective


Lunch, anyone?

When I was out walking in my neighborhood a few days ago, I saw these two deer snacking on someone's greenery. At first, I thought they were lawn ornaments, and then one of them moved. The one on the right was so close to me that I could almost reach out and touch her (I think it is a doe). I took out my phone and snapped the shot. They turned back to lunch, while I continued on my way.

It made me think about how much things look different at first glance, and then how my feelings change when I look at something from a new perspective. After six months in virtual lockdown from the pandemic, much of my new life has become familiar. I still shop at my favorite grocery store, but the numbers of people allowed inside at one time is smaller, and everyone wears a mask. We keep our distance from each other, and we don't hug or make physical contact with friends when we encounter them. It's become almost normal. I walk around in my neighborhood several times a week for exercise, instead of my gym, which is still not open. I don't think I would want to go there, even if it were open, knowing how airborne the virus is. We are living through an unprecedented time in the history of the world.

Not that there haven't been plagues and viruses in the past, but there were never before so many of us, and with instant communication, we know what is happening in other parts of the world. We are spared from natural disasters here at the moment, but we have no guarantee of continued calm. There is a sense of unease that permeates my surroundings, as we move inevitably closer to the national election on November 3. Just a few miles north of here, the Canadian border separates our countries, although it is closed until at least October 21 (and I suspect they will not reopen it then, either), because Canada has very low infection rates, and we here in the US have among the highest in the world. And fall is here, with cold weather following close behind.

Many of our favorite restaurants have extended their outside seating areas so that people don't have to come inside except to order. When it is rainy or cold, we just get our coffee and/or breakfast and take it home. Sometimes my friend John and I sit in the cab of his truck and visit while we drink our coffee. He is part of my Covid "pod," or safe people to hang out with.

Pods are small, self-contained networks of people who limit their non-distanced social interaction to one another—in other words, they're the small group of people with whom you share air without using breath-control precautions such as masks.

John will soon have surgery on his shoulder and will then leave my pod, because he will be exposed to other people.  I'll miss him, because he has become part of my everyday life, seeing him at least for a half hour every morning. These days, we sit outside if the weather is good and enjoy each other's company. His companionship comforts me and gives me a sense of normalcy in this otherwise altered environment. We laugh together and commiserate about our changed lives. John turned eighty this past spring, and his health is about average for someone his age, but he misses the dances he went to every week and is getting less exercise. I admonish him to walk more, but he mostly gets his exercise on his tractor, moving dirt and manure as part of his landscape activity. That will change along with the weather.

We have had a few days of rain, but now we are headed into a warm Indian Summer period, and I'll enjoy every little bit of it, knowing how short it is likely to be. All of next week is projected to be dry with above-normal temperatures. It will allow me to spend more time outdoors, with a possible hike in the mountains with my friends, a last hurrah before being forced to stay close to home for my outings. My world will shrink a bit as I retreat into my warm home as the weather changes.

One of my blogging friends lives in Australia, and I am reminded when I visit her blog that south of the equator, spring is just beginning. Her pictures of the burgeoning spring flowers gives me such joy, and it reminds me that perspective is dependent on one's vantage point. While we prepare for the cold weather, she is walking among the tulips and getting ready for the warm weather to come. One of my daily activities is absorbing the Astronomy Picture of the Day. It always helps to give me a more inclusive perspective of my daily life. We are all inhabitants of Planet Earth, but our beautiful planet is only one little speck in the immense universe. 

It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars. —Arthur C. Clarke

 I have always been a fan of science fiction, and I have read stories that take me along to distant planets, with many different ways of seeing ourselves. One of my favorite authors is Ursula LeGuin, who wrote The Left Hand of Darkness, a story I have read and re-read because she shows me how much different we would be if we were not always the same sex. Her characters cycle in and out of being male or female. Just think about how that might change your perspective!

I will be getting up soon, and I'll start my day with a trip to the coffee shop. Although it's colder these mornings, it's fun to dress for the weather and sit outside and enjoy our coffee and (sometimes) breakfast. First, I'll do my morning exercises out on the front porch and make sure I am dressed appropriately for staying outside. Right now it's a bit nippy (49°F/9°C) but it should warm up quickly, once the sun rises. That isn't happening now until 7:05am. We are past the fall equinox and the days are shorter than the nights, until we reach the nadir on December 21, when the days will begin to lengthen once again. I love the cycle of seasons.

And with that, I will sign off and make my way into the rest of my day. This task on Sunday mornings almost always makes me feel better about life, and I hope it might do the same for you as well. My dear partner sleeps quietly next to me, the tea is long gone, and the day beckons. Until we meet again next week, I wish you nothing but the best. Be well and don't forget to count your blessings. You are one of mine.


ApacheDug said...

How in the world did you get so close to those deer? You must have a real aura of calm about you, DJan. We see plenty of deer this time of year in southwestern Pa as well, but they keep their distance from people. As always, love your “Sunday Thoughts” from bed, I always save my second cup of coffee for your blog. I like your explanation of your pod, I suppose I have one too with one gent & 2 ladies in my apt building. We get together 3 times a week on our large ‘front stoop’ and talk local events & national politics. (What a relief we’re all on the same page!) Anyway, thank you for sharing that ‘Astronomy Pic of the Day’, I intend to add that to my newer daily routine. I’m a big sci-fi fan too and embarrassed to admit I never heard of Ursula LeGuin, but I sure want to read that story. Hope your week ahead remains a positive one, and that your partner is continuing to do well. PS. If you watch the presidential debate Tues night, I hope you share your thoughts about it next week. :)

Linda Reeder said...

I was up with the sun this morning, early for me, but it doesn't pay to stay in bed once I'm awake these day. Things start to hurt. I am looking forward to being able to walk this morning, get a little planting done on my front porch, and then I have both the Seahawks and the Sounders to watch this afternoon and evening.
I'll be posting about our tours of Open Gardens that kept us entertained on Saturday. It was another good-to-get-away day.
It's time to get moving and shake off this hip pain. Stall well.

gigi-hawaii said...

49F is way too cold for me. That is freezing. But, hey, you don't seem to mind. Enjoy your Sunday, DJan.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Good morning! Best of luck to John with his surgery. I hope Smart Guy is getting better everyday! I hope you have a marvelous hike this week. Take good care of yourself! We have a busy week coming up and travel to Minneapolis St Paul to the U of MN hope we can do it all in one day we will see...it depends on how long the procedure takes. 8 hours plus in the car again...yuck:( :(

Elephant's Child said...

As dawn approaches we are hovering around 0C/32F. It is nippy, but I am hoping for a bright and beautiful day.
Perspective changes a great deal doesn't it?
I am glad that you have John in your pod (known here as a bubble) and hope his surgery goes well.
All my best to you and to Smart Guy. Have a wonderful week.

Gigi said...

I love to come visit this space on Sunday - your voice is so calming and loving. I hope John's surgery goes well.

Have a wonderful week.

Marie Smith said...

Blogging has been a blessing during the pandemic, especially during the total lockdown. Even now, as things have eased a bit here, blogging keeps me going. Keeping up with others I’ve met as I’ve had a glimpse into their lives, makes me invested in them. It takes me outside myself and the house in a whole new way..

You are one of those I sit and visit with every post you write, Jan. Thank you. Take care.

Anvilcloud said...

Your Sunday morning reports are very pleasant and readable.

Red said...

I like a comment you make about there being many perspectives. If people could only get that through their heads the world would be a much better place.

Betsy said...

I see you making comments on many of my favorite bloggers but I never knew you had your own blog until recently. I very much enjoy your Sunday morning chats with us all. I'll be praying for your friends surgery. Life has indeed changed hasn't it?

Rita said...

You will miss John, for sure. Our pod people (remember that movie--hehe!) mean so much right now. Life has changed. Winter is coming soon. Counting our blessings is a perfect occupation to fill our days--absolutely. Have a fabulous week! :)

Arkansas Patti said...

Wishing John all the best in his surgery and know you will miss your visits. After he quaranteens though, you should be able to get back to that normal.
Love your deer encounter and how close you got.
I will check out that book. I loved the last one you recommended about the Guernsey Literary Society. Plan to do a review of it next week.

Glenda Beall said...

My Pod is very small. Only my sister, her husband and me. I don't feel safe with friends who have family that comes in and out. I hate that, but one close friend had four of her family get sick with COVID. I had to have an injection in my knee today which meant I had to go to the hospital. I did not like that, but everyone there wore masks and seemed to be very careful. I am beginning to adapt to being home alone all the time. I am having more time for my blogs and talking to friends on the phone so I am never bored.

William Kendall said...

I haven't had a dine in meal at a restaurant since before Covid.

Wonderful shot of the deer.

Junk Journal Penpals said...

I hope that your husband gets his surgery done soon and that he will feel better for it. Things over here in England are much the same as you describe. We are heading into flu season now and Larry and I have had our flu jabs already, in the hope that that will be one difficulty we won't have to overcome. We have much to be thankful for, but also much to worry about and feel confused about. The rules for isolating seem to change almost every day as our government strive to find ways to combat the virus, which is currently on the increase in our population as we plough through a second peak.