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, July 18, 2021

Hope and friendship

Melanie, me, Chris

Yesterday the three of us went for a delightful five-mile walk along the boulevard between Bellingham and Fairhaven. As you can see from our kaffeeklatsch picture, it was breezy and cool, as we all wore our jackets when we sat outside in the partial sunshine, enjoying a break to celebrate Melanie's birthday. I had forgotten it, since I didn't visit Facebook and was not reminded of the date. My guilt was assuaged; she never forgets my birthday.

The older I get, the more forgetful I seem to become. Life goes on, day by day, with the seasons reminding me of the passage of time, but otherwise one day slides into the next without much notice. We are still in the middle of the pandemic, but you would never have known that if you were out and about in these parts. The boulevard was packed with people, and we saw many friends as we walked. We stopped to chat several times, so it turned out to be longer and more extended than we expected. It was marvelous.

I am beginning to wonder when, if ever, we will be able to return to a truly normal existence. All over the entire world, the virus is resurging and forcing us to keep up our guard. I have begun to wear my mask again in indoor settings, even when I'm given the option not to wear it. I keep reading about people who are fully vaccinated getting the new Delta variant and being able to transmit it to others, even if they don't get sick from it. Just when I think we are out of the woods, another thicket of infection appears.

But I am hopeful. It's different now that we who are fortunate enough to be able to get the vaccination are given some measure of protection. And as an extroverted person, I really need the interaction with others and am very glad to have a chance to socialize. And when I am not out and about, I can stay home and binge-watch some of the new shows on TV. Remember when that phrase became part of the language? To "binge-watch" became prevalent when different TV programs would release their entire seasons at once. And yes, I have become quite addicted to not having to wait a week until the next episode is released. Some shows are still doing that, but I find myself annoyed more than anticipatory when I cannot binge a favorite show! How about you? Do you like being able to sit down and enjoy an entire season, or do you prefer a more limited regime?

Once the Emmy Award nominations for the best TV of the past year were released last week, I perused the list to see if there was anything I might enjoy watching, and settled on a few to start with: I binge-watched the entire season of The Flight Attendant and am glad to learn there will be another season coming. It's what is called a "dark comedy" and I found it quite entertaining. Then I watched Ted Lasso, another comedy. But this one is truly uplifting, as it's not dark at all and is filled with hope and optimism. I recommend it if you are looking for something to make you feel better. In fact, all last night I kept thinking about Emily Dickinson's poem, "Hope is a thing with feathers," one of her most famous poems and a favorite of mine. The first of three stanzas:
"Hope" is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops  – at all –

 Sometimes, when I'm watching the news of the day, I get a feeling of hopelessness about the trajectory of the world. So many people are in such dire straits, and I wonder if it will continue to worsen, or begin to rise up from the depths of despair. One thing I have learned during my long life, whatever is happening right now will change and will morph into something else. I cannot help but feel that being optimistic is a survival technique. If I can look on the bright side of a situation, I am much better off than if I allow myself to be dragged down into defeat. No, I will continue to be hopeful that the world situation will expand into love and beauty.

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. —Michelle Obama

 I feel very fortunate that I have reached the time in my life when I can look back on all the hard parts, along with all the joy, and know that I have been blessed with so much. I find it imperative that I share the bounty with those who matter to me. There are so many friends who lift me up, and I want to do the same for others. Through this wonderful internet connection I share with you, my dear friends, I can reach out and send you this message in real time. And you can comment immediately and send out your own communication to me and all who enter here. You are precious and valuable, not only to me, but to all those others, those we cannot see or hear from, but who are there nevertheless. I am grateful.

And with that, I will begin to enter into the rest of my day. My tea is gone, my dear sweet partner still sleeps, right through the sound of the tapping of the keys, and the coffee shop beckons. I have much to accomplish before I head out the door, but the one Sunday task that I never shirk, this post, is finished and ready for publication. Until we meet again next week, dear ones, I wish you much joy and happiness. Be well.


Linda Reeder said...

I am up too early, my head and my heart too full to get back to sleep. Friday morning with friends was celebratory and loving. Saturday, my birthday, was filled with the beauty of sunshine, beautiful gardens, and friendly strangers. Then we spent several hours with our dear son, a man who has had his struggles, but who seemed so at peace yesterday as he shared his plans for his next high mountain adventure and his work and his thoughts on current events as they evolved from his brilliant mind.
Today we have soccer to watch, the Sounders and the USA mens team. I'll pick some new flowers for the table and faithfully complete another hour of physical therapy. I will continue to do my best to retain and improve my mobility. I know there are people who care about me, and I care about me too.
Tomorrow I will get to spend time with my daughter and my grandchildren and my sister-in-law as Tom and I feed them dinner on the patio and they continue to feed our souls and spirits.
No wonder I can't sleep. My heart and my head are full.
Happy days to you, dear friend, as we continue on life's journey, older, and perhaps wiser.

gigi-hawaii said...

That looks like a nice way to celebrate Melanie's birthday. David likes to binge watch and subscribes to Netflix, Prime, Peacock, and Apple TV. He just loves his TV. And, yes, wear your mask. The Delta variant is highly contagious.

Barbara Rogers said...

Thanks for this very upbeat posting, giving me, a stranger, a bit of hopefulness and joy...as well as continued caution towards the COVID viruses. Hope you have a great week!

John's Island said...

This is such an upbeat post, I really enjoyed it. It actually made me think about that song, always look on the bright side of life. For a smile today, watch it on YouTube ...
Have a great week ahead.

Elephant's Child said...

Hope is a fragile (and fortunately persistent) essential.
Thank you for your always uplifting posts. Take care and be well dear one.

Arkansas Patti said...

Was nice seeing you in jackets after the recent heat wave,
Don't have streaming so I can't binge watch. Not sure I would but who knows?
Glad you can get out and about but also glad you are still masking indoors when public. I am afraid ole Covid is not done with us yet. Let's keep doing what we know how to and rely on hope.

William Kendall said...

I anticipate I will be masking for a long time to come.

Rian said...

"Hope is the thing with feathers" is my favorite Emily Dickinson poem. And yes, hope does spring eternal within the human breast. It would be hard to imagine a life without hope.
And since I haven't been well this weekend, I found myself binge watching "ATypical" on Netflix - really good series about Autism and kids on the Spectrum. But I will check out the 2 you mentioned too. We just finished watching "The Duchess of Duke Street" on Britbox - also good! And I am glad that you will wear your face mask inside sometimes... I'm afraid this virus isn't done with us yet.

Red said...

I think we have to be very much on guard when it comes to covid. There are too many people who are not taking their responsibility for protecting themselves and others. I do think that things will get better in this world. Well, no I don't. Too many people deny climate change and most of the others are not willing to take any serious action. Climate change is causing more harm every year.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Herd immunity seems to be a fleeting hope as the anti vaxxers are digging in their heels. I don't begin to understand it. I met a couple of antis at the garage sale...one lady who works in a hospital of all places said "I saw magnets stick to peoples arms after the vaccination, who knows what was in the vaccination" You cannot fix stupid...did Forrest Gump say that?

WE are discouraged, but will go back to isolation and masks again if we have too. WE are comfortable here at home...and I can reach out to you and other like minded people:) Hope you have a good week!

Junk Journal Penpals said...

I'm glad you're getting through the pandemic with an optimistic attitude D-Jan. Just popping by to say hello, a day late, as is my wont! and to let you know that I still read your Sunday posts and follow along. Here in England, it is freedom day today (Monday 19th July) although it won't make much difference to me and mine at home. We will still wear our masks in the supermarket and on the bus, train etc. for the sake of others, as well as ourselves. We have the Delta variant, growing daily here and if it wasn't for the vaccine, we would be in dire straits, I am sure. It is mostly those people who are not vaccinate here who are going into the hospital with a bad case of Covid, although, like you, we are also seeing people who have had both doses, also getting Covid. I think we are being seen as a test case here, so I hope it works out for the best. The lockdowns cannot go on forever, can they! Take care.. Star

Anvilcloud said...

Whatever the new normal is to be, I think it will be better than the pandemic normal. Enjoy your greater freedom.

Marie Smith said...

I needed to see your post this morning. The morning news is so depressing with, fires, floods, heat waves and Covid. I fear for the planet and the future for the children. Then I read this post and feel better. Thank you for hope this morning. I really needed it.

Betsy said...

After our big wind storm last week we were without news for 4 days since there was no TV and I didn't look at any on my phone. It's amazing how my mood lifted. So I'm tring to avoid as much news as possible. I can't fix it anyway!
I cope by praying a LOT and trusting in God to take care of me however He sees fit. I just bought a box of 50 masks on Amazon last week so you can tell where my mind is going. :-) Have a great Monday.

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Reading, Writing and so much more said...

I have found my prayer list growing longer and longer but I also look for the beauty and blessings around. Hope is a lovely four letter word.
HUGS and blessings,

Rita said...

Emily's "hope' is a favorite of mine, too. Thanks. :)

Linda Myers said...

We are currently binge watching "Manifest". Season 2 is on Netflix now and we went back and rewatched Season 1 so we'd remember what was going on.

I will check out the two you mentioned.

I love Washington summers, mask or no mask.