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, September 18, 2022

Solo walk by the bay

Late summer flowers

This weekend, Melanie is in the San Francisco Bay Area attending her high school reunion. Since she is out of town, I walked by myself down by the bay at Squalicum Harbor, one of our favorite Saturday walks. I enjoyed visiting the booths at the local waterfront, where the SeaFest annual festival was in full swing. It was fun, and just hanging out there and walking from the Farmers' Market gave me more than five miles and lots of steps. 

But still, I missed Melanie and hope she's having a good time. She left Friday and returns late today, a quick trip, although she's still having to navigate the airports. I'll be very interested in hearing what she learned about travel during the Covid era.

When I spoke to my sister Norma Jean during our monthly FaceTime call, she asked me to consider traveling to Florida to be with her and my siblings to celebrate both my big birthday (my eightieth) and my youngest sister's sixtieth. We were born almost exactly twenty years apart, the eldest sister and the baby. It seems almost more impossible for me to believe that Fia is going to turn sixty, than it is for me to consider that I myself am leaving behind my eightieth decade of life and beginning my ninth! 

Does she look eighty to you?

I am always surprised to see pictures of me; I look different to myself from inside my own eyes, looking out at the world. But recently I saw a picture of Joan Baez, who is almost 82, and she and I look similar to one another. She's prettier, of course, and was probably wearing makeup, but in the whole we look about the same age. Of course, we actually ARE, so it's not too unusual, but she made me feel good about it, when I studied her picture and found lots of vibrancy and health still evident. But see, there's the rub: the "still." Nobody ever says that about someone half our age.

When I was working, I traveled a lot, to many different countries and loved it, mostly. Although it was mostly positive, there were times when it was tedious and difficult, but life is like that in many ways, not just travel. These days, however, I find I am not wanting to go anywhere away from my safe and familiar surroundings.
No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. —Lin Yutang

But then again, we are all getting older and already one of my sisters has passed into the Great Beyond, and who knows whether we will get another chance to be together again or not. That makes me consider whether I want to go to all the trouble, expense, and hassle to travel somewhere I really don't want to go. Yes, I'd love to see family. But I am truly in a quandary about it. Travel is exhausting and I find myself protecting my daily routine from disruptions, and that would be a major one. The upside, however, is seeing my siblings and spending time with Norma Jean once again, in person. My birthday is ten days after Fia's, and Thanksgiving lies between the two, so maybe traveling on Thanksgiving Day would mean fewer fellow travelers, since everyone should have already arrived at their destination before then. I don't know what I'll end up doing, if anything.

Yesterday after my walk, I went to my friend Lily's home and saw that her furniture has been moved from their old place, and she drove me over to where they are moving to. It's not far, and it's conveniently located in a tree-sheltered large apartment complex. It's got a nice underground parking area for residents (which I immediately coveted) and they are moving into a one-bedroom apartment on the top floor (4 stories high). It's one of those places where you call whoever you are visiting and they are able to release the outside front entrance in order to give you access into the building. Very secure and nice. Plus never having to scrape ice off the car during the winter, that would be a big advantage. Anyway, seeing once again the chaos of moving reminded me I hope we don't have to move again soon.

Which reminds me, our rent is going up again come January, which is I guess to be expected if you don't own your own place. But Melanie told me her condo association fees are increasing, and property taxes as well. Everywhere is becoming more expensive with inflation, and landlords having to pay more for everything, too.

That's just the reality of the world situation at the moment. It's not just here in the United States, it's everywhere. When I see the awful situation in other parts of the world, like Pakistan, or Ukraine, I realize I have no room to complain. Instead, I'm going to concentrate on all the parts of my life that are positive and working well. 

Positivity is like a muscle: keep exercising it, and it becomes a habit. —Natalie Massenet

There are two things I think of immediately when I contemplate the good parts of my life. The first one is, of course, that sweet person sleeping next to me as I write this. Although we have our issues, as does every couple, they are miniscule when I think of how much I depend on him, how much I love him, and how much he adds to my daily life. I don't know what I did to deserve him, but whatever it is, I'm grateful.

The second is my ability to reach out into the world and commune with dear friends across the world. The internet, where the entire collection of human knowledge is available right here at my fingertips, well, it's a condition of living that was unimaginable just a few decades ago, but now is essential to my daily life. And having starting a blog and writing to you once a week adds an incredible amount of meaning to every day. I can picture some of you in your daily lives, even if I don't know your real name or where or live, but that doesn't matter. The fact that we are connected like this is an incredible gift that I don't ever want to take for granted.

I feel surrounded by positivity. The heat of the summer is past, and the cool, crisp air of fall will greet me when I walk out the door. Today I will wait for my friend John to pick me up in his truck and transport me to Fairhaven, where we will enjoy a good breakfast together before coming back home to spend some time with SG. Hopefully I'll get a chance to walk in Cornwall Park sometime today, look at the changing leaves, listen to the birds, and give thanks for all that makes my life worthwhile. I do hope that will extend out to you, dear friend, and that you will have a wonderful day and week to come. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things. Be well.


Rian said...

DJan, I so agree with your thoughts about family and travel. I too love to see family, but hesitate to travel these days as the disruption of our comfortable daily routine is a hassle. I guess it is an age thing as I used to love to travel. And I too think it would be best to do it now as it will only get harder as time goes by. And I don't want to regret seeing family that could turn out to be the last time we get together. So, what to do? I don't know. Covid is definitely not as worrisome as before, yet it's still around... which makes the decision even harder. Afraid I'm not much help solving your quandary.
And Lily's tree-sheltered apartment complex sounds nice. But moving is another hassle that we try to avoid. Just the thought of all the work involved is overwhelming.
Wishing you a wonderful Sunday... and for some strange reason your blog didn't come up as it usually does on Sunday. I had to search the blogs to find it. I was worried when it didn't come up, as I wondered what had happened...

Kim S. said...

I read regularly but don't think I've commented. Appreciate your posts very much. Just thought I'd tell you I had the same dread about air travel - out of practice, dealing with a rollator now (a reason I appreciate your walks so much!), and know it's more of a hassle, germs, etc. BUT, I flew from west coast-ish to east recently (Boise to Pittsburgh) and am so glad I did. Wore easy off shoes, minimal carry on, N95 for added caution, flew Southwest Airlines, which was on time, super helpful with my "gear." TSA was most stressful part just because it feels so rushed. Been home over a week and no illness. The chance to see family is probably golden - maybe do the "would I regret not going" test? Kim in PA

Marie Smith said...

I understand how you feel about travel. It is a big issue for me these days. I really like my routine and it gives me comfort. Good luck with your decision about travel!

John's Island said...

All of a sudden I realized I forgot to leave a comment last Sunday. Well, scrolling though today’s post and getting down near the end I saw your start photo from last week. Clicked on it to open up the large view and, WOW, what a photo! Then, of course, I enjoyed last week’s post. It seems like you’re reflecting a lot on the past. I hope Melanie will be back safely today and you’ll be back on your regular hikes next week. The weather today in Seattle is near perfect. Just a gorgeous day … hope the same for you up in Bellingham.

ApacheDug said...

I don't know if Melanie reads your blogs, but I hope she reads this one at least. That's wonderful you have such a close friend DJan, and that's besides Smart Guy. It's funny to hear you refer to your 60 year old sister as the baby, I know what you mean of course, but I'm 60 and I'm feeling all those years this week and then some. To have all that spirit and drive that you do, and just about 80 to boot, it's a really impressive thing. You're certainly one of the youngest 80 year olds I've ever known. 🙂

Gigi said...

I hear you regarding travel. As you know, we are heading out this coming week to see my Mother In Law; if it were anyone else, I wouldn't be going. But she is turning 91 and even though she is healthy, life is too short and I know I would bitterly regret it if something were to happen and we missed our last chance to visit. I have to wonder though what would be more nerve wracking; flying on a direct flight or driving with many stops in between (which is what we are doing). We'll do the best we can and hope for the best.

The internet, despite some of the vileness of some people that has come to light because of it, is still pretty amazing. Particularly when I look around at all the "friends" I have made and love dearly...even if I never get the chance to actually look them in the eye and give them a hug. My life is much richer for having "met" them. You especially.

Have a great week, my friend!

Far Side of Fifty said...

You will have to wave the pros and cons of traveling. If you decide not to go you can always visit virtually. It is better than nothing.
You look great for almost 80!! :)

William Kendall said...

I like travel, but I'm finding that I'm wary of it, even in the stages of covid we're in now.

Linda Reeder said...

There you are! I was unable to find your post on Sunday and it didn't show up yesterday either. I'm glad I don't need to worry about you. You are as healthy looking as ever.
I hope you really consider flying to see your family. Consider it an adventure, like a hike in the high mountains. Collect new friends, short term, by talking to everyone you can. Do it for your siblings, as a gift to them. As old folks, we often think too much about our own comfort, which is important, for sure, but limiting. I know, I am guilty.

Anvilcloud said...

It’s a double whammy. Travelling is more difficult for us as we age. And now also more difficult because of the times.