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, November 22, 2020

Thanksgiving week


Ferry terminal decorated for the holidays

Yesterday, my friend Melanie and I walked from downtown, along Boulevard Park, to Fairhaven's ferry terminal, where we knew we would be able to see its windows. They have been painted by our friend Ellen Clark, a local artist and a dear friend. We tried to get the best picture possible, but it was difficult because of filtered sunshine on the windows. Mel got this one, and if you could see that big window on top, you'd see Santa, smiling, checking his list. And wearing a mask. That's me on the right, in front of one of the two smaller windows that she also decorated. The link takes you to a short bio about her.

By the time we meet again next week, we will have celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States. Canada celebrated theirs on the second Monday in October, while ours is on the fourth Thursday in November. Canada managed to stay within the boundaries of their pandemic restrictions, but they are also, along with the entire rest of the world, experiencing a surge in Covid cases and deaths. I saw a graphic showing the stark difference between our countries, with our cases yesterday reaching almost 2,000 in a single day. And Thursday, people will still be gathering in their homes with friends and family and spreading the virus even more. Canada has wisely decided not to reopen the border between our countries until the end of the year, if then.

It is a terrible and very scary time in the history of the world, and my country has the dubious honor of having some of the most out of control spread. I am proud of my own state's response, with our governor closing all bars and indoor dining, and asking us to mask up even when hiking outdoors. And of course limiting our gatherings to a maximum of five. These tighter restrictions are in place for a month, hoping that after that time we will have flattened the curve. I am skeptical, but hopeful. By mid-December, we'll know if we were successful.

In the meantime, I will do my best to follow the rules and not spread the virus. I do have some friends that I spend time with, and they are all old like me and therefore vulnerable to Covid's worst effects. I think I had it, along with SG, back in March when there were no tests available. We are admonished not to get a test even now, unless we have been exposed or have symptoms, leaving the tests for those who need them. 

So what to do? Well, I've been looking for ways to keep myself healthy, both in mind and spirit, and have found that some things really seem to work for me. The first one is, not surprisingly, getting exercise daily. Walking instead of driving, even in the rain, and keeping a mask available at all times. Mostly I walk with it around my neck, unless I encounter another person, and then I pull it up as we pass by each other. I keep my distance whenever possible, and I stay out of crowded stores, even if everyone is masked. I always feel much better once I am able to raise my body temperature with exercise. It never fails.

I have limited my exposure to the news, since that tends to make me feel depressed and even discouraged. But really, we will get through this period and will remember this time as one of major challenges to our way of life, and hopefully there will be some good to come from it. We won't be able to see it until we are fully through and into another reality. But it will come.

Our shared values define us more than our differences. And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again. —John McCain

 I am grateful to have so many friends, even if we only visit each other these days through texts and Zoom calls, who also find laughter and love with one another. A positive attitude goes a long way towards making my mental health better. Even if I get sad temporarily, I know the moment will pass and things will look different when I change my perspective. It's normal to have moments of discouragement during these dark days, but the light always returns.

During the coming week, I will be concentrating on all the good in my life, and there is plenty of it. I not only have enough good food to eat, but I also have enough to share with those who don't. I will give money to the Bellingham Food Bank, which is one of the best ways to get people enough to eat right here in my city. If you can afford it, I recommend it as a way to do something concrete to help others.

Today is the anniversary of JFK's death in 1963. I was living in Michigan at the time, and I remember how much I felt like the earth had opened up and swallowed happiness for all time. As many of us who lived through that time remember, it was a great shock to our country, but we lived through it, and through much more trauma after that. And we got through it, just as we will today. We are resilient and resourceful creatures.

This Thursday, I will celebrate all the many gifts that I am surrounded with: my dear partner (whose health continues to improve), the beautiful Pacific Northwest with all its weather changes, my friends and family, and that special bond I have with you, my dear reader, the one I will never see in person but know so well. Most of my readers also have blogs of their own, and I continue to learn so much from everyone. Life is good!

I hope the coming week will be a good one for you, and that you will find a way to celebrate your blessings through all of our challenges and trials. Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things. Be well.


gigi-hawaii said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, DJan. This was a nice post. We should always keep seeing the positive things in our lives and believe that good times around the corner. God bless.

Marie Smith said...

This is such a difficult time but we persevere. I hope your Thanksgiving is peaceful and full of contentment Jan. It is good to hear that SG is doing well. Take care you two.

Anvilcloud said...

There is such a nice spirit to this post. I hope you have a good TG week.

Elephant's Child said...

A very happy Thanksgiving to you and to Smart Guy. I love (and am completely unsurprised at) you attitude.
I too have largely turned away from the news and find solace in nature, in beauty, in kindness and generosity.

ApacheDug said...

That’s a neat photo at the top, I clicked on it a couple times to see it full-size. And how cool that you know the artist. To be honest I was a little surprised to read about Canada experiencing an upsurge in covid cases, but I’m sure they’re still doing far better than us. And yes they are smart for keeping their borders closed. My god, I can’t wait until Joe Biden is in the White House and allies become real allies again.

Very glad to hear your partner is continuing to improve DJan and hope your Thanksgiving is a healthy & cheerful one. PS. I finally finished ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Friday night and was almost surprised at it’s very sweet conclusion—I loved it, made my eyes well up a couple times. Thanks for recommending it.

Betsy said...

I agree that we WILL get through this and be able to look back on some lessons we have learned. I, too, am trying to get out and take walks each day with my dear Chloe dog. I always feel better afterwards, although some days like today it's hard to go outside. (It's 26F right now.) I pray that your week is a wonderful one and that you stay healthy. We DO have much to be thankful for.

Arkansas Patti said...

You are so right, now is the perfect time to count our gratitudes. We all have them and sometimes just let outside pressures obscure them. So glad SG is still improving. Have a healthy and comfortable Thanksgiving Djan. Make that tofurky special.

Rian said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week, DJan. I also worry about the upward surge we will see after the holidays. But that said, we will continue to follow the guidelines (not only of the government or the CDC but of good sense). It may be a quiet slightly sad Thanksgiving and Christmas without the kids and grandkids, but if it keeps everyone healthy than I'm all for it. Hopefully we will all live to make up for the 2020 losses (without any loss of life).

Gigi said...

While I am seeing more people here wearing masks, it appears they think the mask makes them invincible as they seem to ignore the six feet rule, which is frustrating. Oh well, I can only do what I can to keep myself safe.

I will be counting you as one of my many blessings. I hope you and SG have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

Linda Reeder said...

I'm coming to your post a bit late today. First thing thing morning, which for us was 9:30 :-), we went to Home Depot to pick up an order curbside, and then went into the store to look for another gift item. We struck out, but the store was not busy at all and we felt safe. We came home and found the item on line and ordered it. I'm back on the computer now to make an adjustment to the order, as part of it was out of stock. I switched to Amazon, who has everything.
The rest of the morning I worked outside, trimming lawn edges and cleaning out more planting beds. Tom worked on the Christmas lights, which he is finishing now, this afternoon. When I get up from my desk chair I will finally get to my PT exercises, which I usually do first thing in the morning.
I'll have some time to read this afternoon before I prepare dinner, grilled lamb chops, roasted vegetable and green salad.
And I am telling you all of this because this is how we cope with Covid. We stay busy, and when we go out we do so carefully. We eat well.
I am grateful for many things, and right now especially, just the ability to sit in my home office and visit with you across the miles.
The sky is gray but the rain is holding off. There are still a few golden leaves clinging to the dogwood tree outside my window. The outside is cleaned up and tonight we will turn on holiday lights. All is good.
Have a peaceful Thanksgiving.

Red said...

I think everybody remembers where they were when JFK was shot. I was teaching in Inuvik NWT and when I came down from my classroom for lunch I was told of JFK's death. We had no TV and very little radio. We will get around the ugly situation right now but it's going to take a while and some very strong leadership from somewhere. Happy Thanksgiving.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Good to hear that your guy is doing okay! Happy Thanksgiving to you both! I am thankful to have you for a friend! :)

Trish MacGregor said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, DJan! Stay well - and positive!

Glenda Beall said...

Thanks for your positive post. I feel like you do. This will pass and we will have a better world in the coming year. I will be with my sister this Thanksgiving and we will be grateful we have each other. I plan to do more for others in the coming year, especially those in need. I donate to our food banks in our town and will do more before Christmas. I am grateful for you and my other blogger friends who have helped me through this year. So glad SG is improving. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Rosie said...

Thank you for sharing your positive thoughts. It is uplifting to know that you are managing to stay positive when things are difficult in your country. We have had our ups and downs here in Australia but most of the country now are living a normal life with just a few that are in quarantine as we have many Australians that are being repatriated and have to spend 2 weeks in quarantine when they arrive here. We are still testing many people and our Health Dept are very vigilant in keeping everyone safe. I hope you stay well and continue to enjoy your walks with friends.

Rita said...

I was 12 years old when JFK was shot. We were glued to the TV for days...all 5 channels covered the shooting, subsequent shooting, and the funeral. I had grown up with the Cold War and practicing hiding under our desks in bomb drills. The Cuban Missile Crisis was still a bit vague to me, but we knew it was dangerous. In the next few years we lost Bobby, MLK...had protests over Vietnam, Civil Rights, Bra Burning...Kent State, 68 convention...it went on and on...but we survived. We are survivors. :)

William Kendall said...

Very well said.

Galen Pearl said...

I love that John McCain quote. Like you, our TG plans are quite modest -- just me and my kids. I was reminded yesterday when my nephew tested positive, that even family members can pass the virus to us. Perhaps especially family members because we are most likely to let our guard down with them. Even so, as you say, there is much to be thankful for this year and every year.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Your post strives to say you are staying positive during these very changing times. May you continue along your chosen path and feel joy along with blessings. We have entered a new era globally and the way the economies will be affected are not yet clear as many ways of making a living are either gone or attempting to find a new direction. Stay well. I no longer see well enough to post but try to visit blog friends to feel connected.

Margaret said...

We are fortunate to live where we do although every state seems to be having Covid spikes.(except Hawaii?) Exercise is a life saver for me, as well as reading and the Bake Off shows from various countries. I haven't been as good as you about staying away from the news though which has indeed been discouraging.

John's Island said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and SG. On this Thanksgiving Day I'm making a list of things I'm grateful for and on that list ... Eye on the Edge. :-)