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, December 12, 2021

December musings

Icy flowers

Rising a little earlier than normal, hoping to find something to write about this morning, I first checked the news to see what the recent story is about all those awful tornadoes that ravaged the South Friday night. I couldn't believe it when I saw that "possibly more than a hundred" people died from eighteen tornadoes in Kentucky alone. One tornado had a swath of destruction 250 miles wide. This is just horrible news, weather that kills so many in such a short time. I know that will be a small number of those who will die if I live to see the Big One, the coming earthquake, hit the Pacific Northwest. We do drills and try to figure ways one might be able to survive. In the last few weeks, more than 40 small tremors have occurred in the area. I do wonder if they are a precursor to larger and more destructive quakes. 

That is not what I wanted to write about! I see no reason to dwell on what might be coming my way, but the shock of the rare late-season tornado outbreak had changed my focus. So, now that I have given bad weather and earthquakes their due, I'm going to move on to more positive things, because there is still so much joy and happiness around me. This December season is filled with walks in the dark to the bus and seeing so many homes covered with lights. People smile and we greet each other with good wishes, and dogs always look happy to be out and about as well. So much around me fills my heart with serenity and good cheer. 

My morning routine has shifted a bit to allow me to get that twenty minutes of meditation in. Sunday mornings are the only time when I don't get to follow the routine, because I need to write this post. I'll skip many of the usual morning rituals in order to be ready by the time my friend John will drive up to take me to our Sunday breakfast hangout. In our quest to find a better coffee shop, we've decided to make Sundays a habitual breakfast stop in Fairhaven, for the winter at least. John's right shoulder has passed its six-week mark from having been rebuilt, and although it's still very stiff, it's getting better every day. He will start physical therapy next week, two sessions a week. I was dubious about getting the surgery, given the resurgence of Covid everywhere, but he's triple-vaxxed and seems to recover quickly from these things, for a man of almost 82, anyway.

I guess it comes with the territory of getting older, but many of my friends and acquaintances are dealing with medical issues. I'm still a few months from my annual wellness visit with the doctor, but for now I'm happy to be able to carry out my usual routine with minimal discomfort. I am aided in my quest to be active by getting massages and acupuncture treatments regularly, and having yoga classes several times a week via Zoom. As I've said before, I'm in no hurry to get back to the studio with other practitioners in close proximity. I don't think we will be free of Covid for awhile yet, and I am very fortunate to live in a state that requires masking indoors. Most of the time, I feel quite safe.

Melanie and I have become a "bubble" of our own on Thursdays, not really quite willing to hike with large groups yet. We went on our own snowy hike last week, but we learned that the regular Senior Trailblazers group ended up being 16! And that was on a wet and snowy day going on a trail without much view even on a good day. I am not sure when I'll be ready to return, but going out with Mel has made my hikes less stressful, and even a bit shorter and less difficult. At my age, I'm quite happy to continue this way for the coming winter, at least.

Yesterday three of us walked twice around Lake Padden. The weather had been horrible the night before, with lots of wind and rain, so we were prepared for it, but instead the wind died down, the sun came out, and we had a spectacular five-mile walk. Afterwards, Mel and I joined another friend at a restaurant for lunch. Dianne has been dealing with months with a hip injury, and I hadn't seen her for ages. I was a little nervous about going inside a restaurant on a Saturday afternoon, but it was just fine. The place has enormously high ceilings, and plenty of social distancing. We wore our masks until we were seated and I enjoyed a mid-day glass of red wine. It had been quite awhile since I'd had any wine, and it went right to my head, since I'd exercised and not eaten. By the time I finished my lunch, however, I was back to normal. I used to drink a glass every night, but in my desire to lose weight, I'd stopped the practice, and I don't think I'll take it up again. An occasional glass is nice, and I get plenty of enjoyment from it because of its rarity.

When we left the restaurant, however, all the nice sunshine was gone and it had begun to rain again. Then suddenly we were pelted with hail and sideways rain as we hurried to Mel's car. In just a short distance, we were soaked to the bone! Thank heavens for her seat warmers; in nothing flat we were comfortable and on our way back home. I dashed from her car to my own when we pulled up at her place, and I went straight home and enjoyed the rest of my day indoors with my sweet partner. 

Looking at the clock, I see that I'm just a few minutes later than I would normally be for getting out of bed and beginning the rest of my day. I'll have plenty of time for my exercises and meditation (hopefully) before John gets here. I'll skip my usual routine of reading the news and checking the weather (it's raining again, of course) and that will pretty much getting me back on track.

Those few minutes of meditation in the morning have become essential to my feeling of well-being. It amazes me how much I look forward to it, and how much better the entire rest of my day becomes because of it. Getting through the holidays is easier, and the whole day begins on a positive note. My tea is gone, my partner sleeps beside me as I tap the keys. The day ahead beckons.

I do hope you are finding your own way to equanimity during these stressful times, and that those of you in the South escaped injury. My heart goes out to all those who suffer, and I wish nothing but the best for all. During this holiday season, I wish you all good things. Be well until we meet again next week, dear friends.


Barbara Rogers said...

So glad you had a good outing (with wine!) and escaped the downpour. Weather may have always been a topic of interest, but these days it's often quite surprising. Not that we need any more calamities! I too enjoy my day much more and am more balanced when I have a bit of meditation in the morning.

Anvilcloud said...

I believe that quake will come soon, but I am speaking in geological time which isn’t our time necessarily. We have family in Vancouver, and i trust that building codes and so on will serve them well if it does happen. We had howling winds here last night, but I don’t think that are connected to the weather that generated the tornadoes down south. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Linda Reeder said...

We are as prepared for a quake disaster as we can be, although our big emergency tub does need refreshing. So I just put it out of my mind. It's out of my control.
We are enjoying the holiday preparations. The fancy cookies are baked and in the freezer. We took some to a garden club party yesterday afternoon that was very enjoyable. We'll serve more on Tuesday as we host our breakfast club for Christmas tea. Today while the Seahawks are on the TV we'll wrap gifts.
We are happy to be healthy enough, warm, dry, and well fed, and looking forward to spending time with our grands next weekend for more baking. As long as the kids want to continue the traditions, I'll manage. I'll just turn more of the work over to them.
Thanks for starting my Sunday. Now I need to get rolling. My "meditation" is an hour and a quarter of physical therapy.

Marie Smith said...

I realize anything I complain about is ridiculous when the world is in such turmoil. I am so fortunate at this time in my life and I am grateful for every minute.

Elephant's Child said...

I hear you on the wine front. A glass a couple of times a week is more than enough for me.
I love the focus on positivity you have found and work hard to maintain. Nature does it for me. Every time (despite the fact that sometimes she is not kind).

Far Side of Fifty said...

The weather is getting weirder and weirder ever since that one earthquake in Japan changed the earths axis a bit...at least that is what I think. My heart goes out to those in Kentucky, relatives in Southern Indiana said the winds were horrible there.
Here we are enjoying a warmer for Minnesota day above freezing!!!

Arkansas Patti said...

It is episodes like that horrific weather event that make us realize just how fragile our existence is. I would hate to have the "big one" hanging over my head and glad you are as prepared as possible. Still no matter where we live, there is always a huge rock mom nature can lob at us at any time. Our careless treatment of this planet has not helped. So glad you have meditation to bring you balance and peace. May have to give it a try.

John's Island said...

One thing we share … We really enjoy our walks. I like hearing about your walks … who you go with, and what you see along the way. I also like hearing that you’ll be enjoying Sunday breakfast with John in Fairhaven. If I lived in Bham I think I would go down to Woods Coffee (near Fairhaven) for a fresh brew and a sweet. The horrible weather down South is exactly what scientists predicted years ago, as climate change unfolds. I did smile about one of the comments this morning mentioning the weather may be due to the Japan earthquake moving the earth’s axis. So, I had to go look that up on Google. Sure enough, the quake moved the axis 17 centimeters. Of course, in terms of the whole planet that is so infinitesimal that it’s hard to imagine the climate being affected. Thank you for your encouraging words about meditation. I am working on my own, and my experience is very similar to yours. Thanks, DJan, for another fine edition of Eye on the Edge.

Gigi said...

Coming off a stressful three months, I may need to give mediation a try. My boss lives in Bowling Green, KY most of the time. I sent him a text last night to see if he was okay. Huge relief, he is and only minor damage to a fence but he said the destruction all around his house is unbelievable.

Betsy said...

We're planning to get pizza this evening and then take my MIL and drive around to see the lights. We all love looking at the beautiful lights.
While just south of us had the tornadoes night before last, we got our first snowfall of about 2 inches. It will all be melted by tomorrow as it's supposed to be 73 by Wednesday.
We have three people in our church who have COVID, (that we know of). Two are intubated in the ICU. Another refuses to go to the hospital but has Covid pneumonia. I honestly am beginning to feel it is never going to go completely away.

William Kendall said...

We did have a formidable wind storm last night.

Rian said...

Since I can't drink wine due to migraines, my 'go to' drink is a cup of English or Irish breakfast tea... which I can't drink too much of either due to the caffeine and acid. But I find tea as my 'calming' drink, so I do have a half cup at least once or twice a day.
Those tornadoes Friday night were horrendous. Our oldest son and his wife just moved to Texarkana - so we checked with him Saturday morning. Luckily they were fine. I think climate change is going to hit us harder than people imagine.
I'm glad you are able to continue your walks and not be around too many people. It seems like Covid is going to be with us for a while.

Red said...

It takes effort to be healthy in mind and body. You have some very good physical routines as well as mental stimulation. To have excellent quality of life when we're elderly we have to work at it. You are an excellent example.

gigi-hawaii said...

Wow, Hail??? That must have hurt, being pelted by icy stones. I am glad that you are doing so well, DJan. Glad that you have a good social life and are well enough to hike with Mel.

Glenda Beall said...

I enjoyed your post as usual. Walking is something I am missing these days. Because of my bad knee l can't be on my feet very long. I hope that earthquakes doesn't happen for a long,long time. Your life sounds perfect to me. Relish every moment.

Galen Pearl said...

I have turned into such a weather wimp. We've had similar weather here -- chilly and rainy. The last several days added wind -- that was just too much for me. I've stayed inside, dry and cozy. If I have a walking buddy, I'm much more likely to get out for a walk and enjoy it regardless of weather. But if it's just me and the dog, not so much. Thankfully I have an inside place to practice taiji, so that tends to be my exercise on rainy days. I always admire your willingness to get out for a walk most days no matter what. You are an inspiration!