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, May 15, 2022

News in my world

Some of my newly planted flowers

For some reason, I have had a hard time making myself plant the flowers on my front porch. I have, in addition to these planters, a few others that I haven't finished yet. Usually by this time of the year, they have been growing enthusiastically and giving me lots of satisfaction by now, but I just couldn't rustle up the gumption to get my hands in the dirt. I bought some geranium plants more than a month ago, and when they didn't get replanted and properly watered, all their blooms withered and died. I've now got them into their planter and fed them, watered them vigorously, and hope that they will recover enough to flower sometime in the future.

Part of my lack of enthusiasm has been the almost unrelenting rain we've had, along with much cooler than normal temperatures. It's easy to get out and enjoy the outdoors in cool weather, but not when there is constant rain, even if it's a light one, with only a few days so far this year of brilliant sunshine. Some, just enough to make me want more. I will take this weather, however, much more happily than when it gets super-hot. Around here, we usually only have a few weeks of really warm weather, in July and/or August, but I still have my heavy comforter on my bed and am in no hurry to take it off. But then again, it's only mid-May.

In many ways, I am quite content with my life. My dear partner is doing pretty well, considering his ongoing illness is under control and shows little signs of progressing. He has permanent damage from the August 2020 stroke he suffered, but he's perfectly able to function, drive, cook, and take care of me in all the ways I've grown accustomed to. I am grateful.

Because we here in Washington state are in somewhat of a "hot spot" in terms of the virus, we still limit our exposure to others as much as possible. I wear an N95 mask on the bus (even though we are no longer required to wear any) and I am not alone. More than half of the people on the bus wear some sort of mask, and sometimes the driver is the only one not masked. Of course, most of the people on the buses are elderly or homeless, with a few students mixed in here and there. I have only been on a few rides where were more than a handful of passengers (six or so is pretty standard on a bus that seats 30).

Yesterday morning, the time of my usual walk with Melanie, we were joined by our friend Dianne and her wonderful dog Joe, and a special treat was finding that our friend Peggy, who usually walks with the faster ladies an hour earlier, was at Lake Padden with the hope of making the two-loop trip around the lake with us. I had not had a chance to visit with Peggy in years, so it was a delight to spend some time catching up. She's pretty much done hiking with the Senior Trailblazers; she stopped when her husband suffered a life-threatening injury more than three years ago. And then of course the pandemic intervened in many of our usual activities. Although the rain was supposed to stop by 8:00am, it managed to continue for most of our five-mile walk. The company helped me enjoy myself anyway.

This past week astronomers showed us an image of the black hole that exists in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. It was only the second time that we were able to see what a black hole looks like. In 2019, a telescope known as the EHT (Event Horizon Telescope) showed us an image of a black hole that looks like a massive donut, a ring with a dark center. This was taken from an area known as M87, 55 million light-years away from here. 
We were stunned by how well the size of the ring agreed with predictions from Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, said EHT project scientist Geoffrey Bower from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
It took a network of eight telescopes all linked together to get the picture of the black hole, which looks very similar to those of the M87. Although they look much the same, the black hole in the middle of our own galaxy is a thousand times smaller than the M87. I'm simply amazed at what we have been able to learn about these massive areas that consume everything around them. Even light cannot escape from a black hole. I sometimes fantasize what it would be like to stand on the event horizon and peer over the edge. Of course, that would be impossible, but thanks to our active imaginations we can do whatever we want inside our mental palaces.

And as the days and weeks fly by, I am closer and closer to understanding my own place in the universe. I am reading more about black holes and space-time every day, taking a pause now and then to come back to more mundane tasks. Maybe that's one reason I've been so slow to get my flowers going: I'm more comfortable with my head in the stars than having my hands in the dirt.

It's already Sunday again, which is why I'm sitting here in the dark once again writing on my laptop, and it seems like only yesterday I finished the last post, but here I am once more trying to find the proper words to commit the present moment to the page. I'm not doing very well, I fear, but then again it's my post, my endeavor and no one else's. As I've said before, sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't. Writing in the moment has its drawbacks. Dancing in the chaos of existence, sometimes I find myself with wings, and sometimes they just don't quite take me off the ground. 

Oh boy, now I'm getting myself into trouble. Maybe it's time to wind up this post and start the rest of my day. John will pick me up in an hour, and we'll head to Fairhaven for Sunday breakfast. SG still sleeps quietly next to me, and I feel myself ready to begin to emerge from the cocoon of dark silence that holds me here. I just checked the weather, and you know what? It's raining again, no surprise there. But I can revel in how much the plants will enjoy it, and my raincoat will keep me dry.

Until we meet again next week, when hopefully my post will make more sense, I do hope you will find many wonderful moments to enjoy with your loved ones. Be well and I wish you all good things, dear friends.


ApacheDug said...

Your potted flowers look nice DJan, you have some tranquil, pretty views from your home. Speaking of views, I too was marveling at that blurry image of the closer black hole. What fascinates me just as much is the ability for today's scientists to locate them, let alone photograph one. One scientist said that recent image was akin to looking for a donut on the surface of the moon using an ordinary telescope. What a find! Well, hope your week ahead is a good one DJan. Don't fall down any black holes. :^)

Barbara Rogers said...

Constant rain can get one down...my apartment feels humid sometimes when rain is happening outside. But I live where clouds just park on the valley between the mountains. I'm a sunshine person, so get much busier when there's sun, even if just for half a day.

Rian said...

I think it's normal to have times of non-interest in things one once found enjoyable. This feeling comes and goes with the seasons IMO. I know that I had basically lost interest in gardening for a bit - only hanging herbs around the front entrance. But lately I've felt the desire to raise veggies again... and although late in the season, do plan to plant next week and am excited about it. Painting and pottery have gone by the wayside for now, but reading books and writing stories still bring enjoyment.

And although I like rain, too much is definitely a downer. I used to love stormy weather, still fascinated by it. And although hurricanes never bothered me, I have to admit that tornadoes put the fear of God in me.

And like you, I find science fascinating... black holes included.

Galen Pearl said...

Yeah, this rain.... We haven't had a spring like this in a while, although I do remember a rainy chilly one years ago that lasted until early July.

I have a friend who is a physicist, and I love hearing him rhapsodize about the images available with this new generation of telescopes -- like a kid in a toy store. Truly amazing.

When I'm not at the cabin (with no internet), I love to start my Sunday mornings with your posts. Thanks for continuing to share your life reflections.

Elephant's Child said...

I think you are being too hard on yourself dear friend. Your words and thoughts kept me engrossed from the beginning of this post to the very end. Thank you so very much.

Linda Reeder said...

We had a dry Saturday and it even got sort of warm! We went for a mile long walk in the neighborhood and I am getting stronger. Now today we are back to rain. I am tired of being cold!
We have all of our plants planted but they are not thriving in this chill. It did make the tulips last a long time though. We aren't even going to consider planting seeds in the ground yet.
I saw the article about the black hole but I didn't read it. It's all too big for me to fathom and therefore it sort of gives me the creeps. I'll have to stay on the periphery of space science I guess.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Hope your plants will eventually cheer you up! You sound depressed in that you don't enjoy the things you used to. I think you will like the flowers once they are all planted and blooming! Good that you could visit with your old hiking friend. Thanks for the update on SG...I often wonder how he is doing :)

Anvilcloud said...

I have found an inverse relationship between gardening and bodily ailments. As the ailments increase, the joy of gardening decreases.

Arkansas Patti said...

That picture of the black hole is awesome. I remember when I was a wee on and my older brother told me about how they eat everything in its path. Don't think I slept for a week.
Well you have some color going on your porch.
We have had a wet Spring also but I never complain about the rain. Been through too many droughts.

Red said...

It's interesting that you give us what's rolling around in your head. Sometimes it's good to be little loosey gooset and wander a bit.

Marie Smith said...

I find it hard to stay positive when we have long bouts of rain. My spirit is happier in the sunshine. We have projects to do around the house but when we had fine weather this past week, we took advantage and when for walks and picnics. So.energizing after a long winter.

That black hole photo is quite something to see. I imagine all the spirits of those who have gone before in a black hole, just waiting for the rest of us. A new life…

Rita said...

This year my planters have been filled early even. Need that spark of beauty and color especially this spring, I guess. Your flowers look great. My geraniums don't have much at all in the way of flowers yet, but they will. I'm sure yours will, too. The rain must be getting to you. Hope you see some sunshine soon! :)

Tabor said...

Like you, I did not get motivated to pot my plants on my deck...I had planted the tulip bulbs back in winter. Your schedule sounds healthy and regular and just what I wish I had! I also like your mind exercises. Maybe I can get out of this slump and move forward-onward-upward.

Linda Myers said...

I was a little cranky yesterday when it rained all day, but then I read that in Tucson, where we were until just two weeks ago, it was 104 with 1 percent humidity.