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 10, 2022


California poppies and Dame's rocket

 Although it's not my favorite time of the year, it's certainly the most beautiful, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. I love to see all the flowers after a very wet and cool spring. And we are still having cool weather, although I think we may have begun that period when the rain pretty much stops, and we will continue to warm up, week by week, until we have weather that borders on hot.

But not really hot, not like what is happening in much of the rest of the country, and places around the world that are almost too hot to support human and animal life. With climate change causing disruptions to our weather, too much rain here and scorching droughts there, we are, I fear, going to be forced to get accustomed to change on a large scale. It's scary. I live in a town where home air conditioning is not all that usual, since we have a built-in air conditioner because of onshore flow, breezes that come in off the Pacific Ocean, cool and moist. It happens almost every night; the wind might come from land all day long (offshore flow), and then shifts to onshore flow and give us much cooler temperatures when the sun goes down. I love it!

I've been re-reading a favorite book, partly because I'm lazy and not wanting to start another book that might not deliver what I'm looking for. It wasn't all that long ago that I first read A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. While rummaging around in my Kindle looking for something to read, I decided that this book was such a winner the first time around that I'd enjoy a second reading. So far, I am. Ozeki's novel was a finalist for the Pulitzer and the Man Booker Prizes. I then read several more of Ozeki's books, but this was the one that I still think about. It's written from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old girl who wrote in her diary, and Ozeki herself narrates the present time. Nao (the teenager) wrapped up the diary and a few other things that somehow washed up on the Canadian shore to be discovered by Ruth. It is likely that Nao was washed away by the tsunami that killed tens of thousands in 2011. But the mystery that is gently revealed in the story still comes to mind. Once I'm done, maybe I'll move onto something new, but for now I am in stuck in Ozeki's novel.

It's not all that easy to take care of myself, my mental state, when the world is in such turmoil, but I'm managing. I am very grateful for my friends and dear life partner, so that I don't have to face everything alone. I'm still limiting the amount of news that I consume, since once you've learned the basic stories, the newscasters just repeat the same stuff over and over. And I am fortunate to have a massage therapist and an acupuncturist who both give me plenty of help in navigating through to the other side, where peace and tranquility reside. Or I could just follow Lily Tomlin's advice.

Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it. —Lily Tomlin

I read a wonderful and uplifting article about an elderly blind dog who wandered off from her home in Alaska and was given up for dead, but after three weeks she was found by a construction worker who saw her in a ditch and rescued her. Although she had lost lots of weight and was dehydrated, little by little Lulu is recovering. I found the story so moving, I think, because it has a happy ending for everyone. And her family was worried about the vet bills, but members of the community took care of that. It is inspiring to read about people coming together to help each other.

John is not picking me up for breakfast this morning; a friend who is in town has asked him and my fisherman friend Gene to join him at a favorite restaurant, and although I was invited, I decided not to go. It's uncomfortable for me, still, to go into crowded spaces, and more and more people seem to think that the pandemic is over, not wearing masks or keeping distance. The latest Omicron variant is everywhere, and it's especially worrying to think I might get it and bring it home to My Guy. So I am taking precautions and staying home, mostly. In all indoor situations, I'm wearing a mask except to take a sip or two from my coffee cup. It might seem like overkill to some, but it makes me feel better to be cautious.

I continue to be amazed at how quickly time is passing. The week hardly begins and then it's over. When I was working and had a schedule to keep, it seemed like the week had at least one extra day. These days, no sooner is the weekend over, but it's already halfway to the next one before I have a chance to catch up. Is this just because I'm getting older, or what? At least my days are pleasant, and I know that the seasons are only three months long and summertime will be over before I even get used to it. Fall is my favorite season, and it's up next.

Well, this has been one of those posts where I cannot seem to focus on anything special. That's partly because of trying to avoid all the bad news these days. I'm going to see if I can take Lily Tomlin's advice and avoid reality. It helps to have a book like Ozeki's to get lost in. My tea is gone, my partner still sleeps, and since I don't have to finish this quickly, I just might work the Wordle and mosey out of bed, in no hurry to be anywhere special at all.

I do hope you, my dear readers, will not be too disappointed in me not trying to inspire you, but remember that love and joy are not in short supply, and you are sent plenty of both from my small little corner of the world. Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things. Be well.


Marty said...

I agree that the best way to handle today's news is in small doses. Otherwise you can become overwhelmed with the awfulness of everything. Remember when Kennedy was in office and it seemed like we were all on the cusp of something wonderful? But then, of course, it all fell apart. Never mind.
Yes, too much reality can be a problem.

Far Side of Fifty said...

We are being cautious also, my baby brother was very ill with Covid, he got the antiviral from the Doctor and made a quick recovery after that. He thinks he got it standing in line at Costco or at the Doctors office. Scary for sure!
We do go out for dinner but in outdoor places.
Hope you have a good week!

Linda Reeder said...

We are not being very cautious about Covid. We may regret it, but We are living our normal lives. Yes, we were at the Sounders game last night with 40,000 other excited, then disappointed fans, well all except the Portland supporters, as we lost to our rival 3-0. We are still sort of bummed about it but it was a beautiful afternoon and we had some fun short conversations with people we didn't know.
Being in a crowd like that is a good reminder that most people are good, caring, and will look out for you, as well as share some fun. We were still wearing our Sounders gear when we went to the Des Moines Red Robin for dinner and then a walk on the pier, and so many people stopped to exchange a few words about the soccer game. Yes, we were unhappy that we lost, but we were all happy to be out and about on a lovely evening, exchanging pleasant conversation with people we didn't know.
Peace be with you.

gigi-hawaii said...

That book by Ozeki must be riveting for you to read it again. I am glad that you don't need a/c like we do. Lower electric bill! Take care.

Marie Smith said...

It feels like time goes faster when we get older. Is it because we are acutely aware of time as we age? We are into the second half of 2022 already. The weeks fly by and before we know it, another week is almost gone. Best not waste a minute…

Rian said...

Well, it is really hot here in Texas... 106 and 107 F the last 2 days. But we hardly go outside when it's like this. Hopefully it won't last. But it is only the beginning of July and we still have August to get through. However, as you mentioned, the days and weeks seem to fly by lately, so perhaps summer will be over before we know it. We simply have to make it our focus to enjoy each day- whatever season.

As for Covid, we too are still cautious - wearing our masks inside the grocery, etc. (when most are not). It's possible that it's not necessary, but we don't mind the mask and we'd rather be cautious than sick.

Elephant's Child said...

We are singing the same songs here (half a world apart).
I limit my exposure to news which is almost all bad, and out of my control.
I don't like summer, while appreciating its beauty and worry about what climate change will bring.
We are cautious. We go out rarely and take precautions when we do.
And when my mind and/or body are in turmoil I reread.
Have a wonderful week dear friend.

Arkansas Patti said...

Lily makes a good point. I try to only watch enough news to be a knowledgeable voter. Too often the news programs hammer home every detail of a horrendous event.
Our Covid numbers are climbing quite a bit here. I personally know 6 people in the past two weeks who have contracted it. For some it is their second time.
We are not done with this devil yet and simple precautions,in my view, are still necessary.
Stay safe.

ApacheDug said...

Before my sister called, I was doing some reading on that book of yours DJan, I think I'm going to go to the library this week and see if they have it. I also just learned how many in the Pacific Northwest don't have AC as the norm, that shocked me. Your temps (for the most part) are really that mild? You really do live in a special part of the country. I also can't blame you for turning off the news--I almost consider weekends my "time off" from it anymore. Hope your week ahead is low-key.

Galen Pearl said...

Hmm, thinking about that advice to avoid reality. I get it. And I can also shift "reality" to a broader scope, taking in millennia, or, as a friend says, thinking in geologic time. Still reality, but a very different sense of it.

I finally caved in after two very hot summers in the Pacific Northwest and got air conditioning. Wow, it changes everything. I still prefer to have the windows open to fresh air, and I always sleep with the window open next to my bed year round. But the AC will be nice during those super hot spells that now seem more likely.

Enjoy your week!

Red said...

I have never read an Ozeki story. I'll have to check one of her stories out. Time goes so quickly now I barely know what day it is. You have a very pleasant climate. I think many people will move in their attempt to deal with climate change.

Anvilcloud said...

My part of Canada can experience very warm summers, but we have been escaping the worst f it this year and most nights become pretty cool. But yes, the planet is suffering.

Gigi said...

That book sounds intriguing - I will add it to my list.

I don't think staying home or masking is overkill. I continue to avoid most stores, all restaurants, etc. COVID is not over. Not by a long shot.

And time is, indeed marching along very quickly. How are we in July already??

Linda Myers said...

I'm working on catching up with everything that's happened during the two weeks we were in Europe. I agree with you about stories that get told and then rehashed. First time is enough!

John's Island said...

Always appreciate your book recommendations. Just added A Tale for the Time Being to my Kindle library. Sure looks like an interesting read.