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, October 29, 2023

To everything there is a season

Freezing temps at Bellingham Bay

Sometimes I worry just a little bit about how easily I have adjusted to the cold wintery temperatures we've got going on right now. (Good clothing helps.) Friend Don took this picture on our Squalicum Harbor walk yesterday. Do I look cold? I should, since the temperature fell to 2.5°C (37°F) overnight, and these blasts of cold air should continue until late next week when, in fact, the nighttime temperature will be higher than we are reaching during the daytime hours at present. Our apartment owners have weatherproofed all that they can, for now.

We walked for about four+ miles, and our conversation meandered all over the place, except we stayed away from the state of the world and all its permutations. Instead, we talked about our own lives and past events, like how we ended up in Bellingham. He and his wife moved here from Idaho, and they are both much happier here, preferring the weather as well as the political climate. He is a retired middle school teacher, and his wife is an artist who has found a thriving community in which she can grow. Don has begun taking one or two hikes a week with the Senior Trailblazers, which is how we know each other. These new friends I am making are partly because of the huge hole in my life that opened up when Melanie moved away, but it's filling up with new friends, much to my relief. I check out Mel's adventures she posts on Facebook, but otherwise I stay away, remembering what a time sink Facebook once was for me.

John is still recovering from his bout with Covid. He takes a blood thinner, which meant he couldn't take Paxlovid, but his doctor prescribed another antiviral medication, which he just finished taking. I talked to him yesterday, and he was not feeling very much better, but maybe now that he's finished that medication, he'll start to feel like his old self again. I've missed him, but I'm glad I didn't catch it. In another week or so, I should be protected from the flu as well by the vaccine I received last week. That of course doesn't mean I can't get it, but if I do it should be less severe than without the vaccine. There is so much stuff going around right now, and it's not even November. But we'll muddle through, and before you know it, we'll be seeing signs of spring popping up. We do have the rest of fall and most of winter to navigate before then, however. Counting one's chickens, well you know what they say about that! It does seem a bit premature to think of spring before we've even begun the winter months.

Such a pretty sight

One of the best parts of fall, for me, is seeing the colorful leaves everywhere, both on the trees and on the ground, as we walk through the beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery. Of course, the evergreens don't shed their leaves, but instead little needles fall off that break down pretty quickly, but make for good nutrients to feed next year's new growth. And once the rain returns, it also breaks down the leaves into mulch and this pretty scene turns into soft brown gunk. Nutritious for the plants, perhaps, but the beauty of the scene lasts only a short time. I enjoy it while I can.

This morning, another without a trip to breakfast with John, allows me the luxury of lounging in bed until I want to get up. It means that after I finish this post, I'll be able to make another cup of tea if I want, before deciding where I might rustle up a good cup of coffee. I did peruse the espresso machines for purchase on Amazon, thinking maybe I should just get one for myself, but then I realized that, given the option, I prefer to have coffee socially with friends, instead of solitarily. I guess that is one place my extroversion asserts itself.

I have felt hampered in my ability to watch the news on TV, since it seems to be unremittingly bleak. So many terrible events are happening every day, which never seemed so imminent and ceaseless as they do today. It's telling that I have come to prefer the commercials to the actual news shows. And the thing is, I know there are still plenty of good and positive things happening worldwide, but they are not newsworthy, I guess. So instead of watching the news, I spend a good bit of time looking for uplifting programs that bring me joy. I have rewatched a couple of series that I enjoyed in the past, like The Queen's Gambit on Netflix. Although I enjoyed it a few years ago, it was even more enjoyable the second time around, since I knew what was going to happen and could concentrate on the story and the incredible acting. In fact, it was so enjoyable that I watched the last episode again (there are seven hour-long episodes).

I don't want to be one of those people who sticks her head in the sand about what's happening in the world, but wouldn't it be possible to include some of the really positive events too? This year, a wonderful thing happened:
The James Webb Telescope, the largest space telescope ever built, reached its destination in orbit around the sun in January, following decades of planning and a million-mile journey from Earth. Since then, the $10 billion observatory has captured mesmerizing images of a planet outside our solar system, nebulae where stars are born, and distant galaxies.
Every morning, I look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day, which always helps me to put the world's problems into perspective. When the picture is of a distant galaxy millions of light-years away, and the commentary deems it to be in "the neighborhood," it does make me realize that our problems diminish in importance the farther away from them we get. Perspective is everything.
It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars. —Arthur C. Clarke
To that, I say YES and let's have more positivity and gratitude in our lives. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have, every week, to share these thoughts with you, my dear readers. It's also possible to concentrate on the happiness I can find in my simple little world, and from there I can take a leap out into the vast universe of loving kindness and joy. Please, dear friends, be well and content until we meet again next week. I wish you all good things.


gigi-hawaii said...

I am glad you are able to make new friends since Melanie left. Good for you. The wars and the mass murders make me sick, too.

ApacheDug said...

I very much appreciate how you ended this on a high note. I too am amazed, astounded by the James Webb Telescope and it really does help keep things in perspective. I just hope we haven't been written off by some advanced civilization out there who has studied our little sphere and decided to stay away as we're too violent and warring a species.

Linda Reeder said...

I stopped by quickly this morning, just to let you know I'm here. We are off soon to squeeze apples and hug family.. :-)

Far Side of Fifty said...

I have faith that for everything there is a reason and a season. God only knows.
Seems to me that many people are so angry...I guess that is a choice too. I hope you have a wonderful week. :)

John's Island said...

Thanks for mentioning APOD. You introduced me to APOD with a post on July 17, 2016. For anyone who hasn’t checked it out, it is definitely worth stopping by. I agree completely … the APOD photos help to put everything into perspective. Wishing you a happy week ahead.

Anvilcloud said...

Queens Gambit was a good one. We recently watched one about time travel and so on, but I can't tell you the name of it. It was okay, I suppose. As for News, I don't watch any, but I can keep up online via Twitter etc. Have a good week way out there on the left.

Elephant's Child said...

I am so glad that you are making new friends. Like you, I limit my exposure to news and concentrate (try and concentrate) on things of beauty and wonder.

Marie Smith said...

It got colder here overnight with a temperature of 5 C this morning accompanied by a high wind. Winter clothes are ready and have come out again. So sad though. Six months of cold is so discouraging. Yet we are so fortunate to live where we do. Enjoying nature as we do keeps us going amid the sad news these days. Have a great week, Jan!

Rita said...

I am so glad you have made all these new friends and can adapt your routine from day to day. That's marvelous! Yes, one has to appreciate the briefly beautiful and colorful blanket of leaves. We've been frozen here since last Wednesday. So cold there's still a smattering of snow on the ground. Had to say goodbye to my flowers. But it is still beautiful out there in its own right...and Allie and I have constant visitors to the Critter Cafe to keep us company. :)

Red said...

I do follow news. It's not only incredibly bleak much of it is just plane wrong some of it is skewed as to be of very little value.

Tabor said...

I watch the news every few days but not in-depth because like you, I cannot do anything and it can make me feel so hopeless. I envy your ability to make friends. I have tried to reach out, but those I have connected with are so busy it is hard to see them except once or twice a month. My children are far and busy. I do get lonely, but have my husband and his extroversion helps.

Linda Myers said...

I keep up with the news but usually don't take it personally. Everything seems to skew politically. There are many little pieces of joy closer to home.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

It is heart warming that your friend landscape is growing into a spring full of wonderful people blooms. It isn't too early to think of spring. I was thinking about it the other day, pass right over winter. :)

I find documentaries on YouTube instead of regularly watching and reading news several times a day. There is a program called, "Meteorite Men." It is loads of fun to watch.

roughterrain crane said...

Happy Halloween. Stay warm and healthy 😌