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, January 28, 2024

Rain and more rain

Steve, me, Don

I guess I really am sort of short, as I look at this selfie of the three of us. I am pretty wet in the picture (maybe I shrunk!), although I'm wearing a usually quite capable rain slicker. The rain started out as a light sprinkle but then picked up to remain a drizzle or a light rain for the entire five miles we walked at Squalicum Harbor. 

But I am back to my old workout routine, getting five miles with the Happy Wanderers on Tuesday, around seven miles with lots of elevation on Thursday, and five miles on Saturday with my two regular partners. And on none of these excursions did I have to deal with snow! Warm temperatures and rain have taken care of all of it. Now it's back to normal puddles as we face a trio of atmospheric rivers coming up from the coastal waters of warm Hawaii. You might wonder what an atmospheric river is. Well, since you asked:
Atmospheric rivers bring moderate to heavy precipitation into the region, sometimes for days on end. This first atmospheric river is anticipated to bring between 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches to the lowlands through Saturday afternoon, with a potential for 2 to 4 inches of rain in the mountains and up to 2 inches in coastal areas. The system is also expected to usher in milder temperatures, raising snow levels between 7,000 and 8,000 feet, leading to some snowmelt. Temperatures may be as much as 10 degrees higher than normal by Sunday. (KING5 Hydrological Outlook)

That was issued on Friday, and sure enough, we got more than an inch of rain yesterday (Saturday). I even discovered that my waterproof rain shoes are also no longer keeping all the moisture from reaching my feet. However, it was so warm that I never had a problem staying comfortable. I wonder if there is some way to get the Gore-Tex lining back to its original state, or whether it's time to just bite the bullet and buy another pair of what have been my favorite shoes for the past year. They weren't terribly expensive, and they were comfy from the first step I took. For those who might be interested, they are Hoka's Clifton 9 GTX brand. And for months they have kept my feet dry as well.  

On Thursday, I took a spill on a wet log and scraped my right forearm quite severely. Even though it didn't tear the coat material, it certainly took a good bit of skin off my arm.  I knew that I had broken the skin in a couple places, but it wasn't until we stopped for lunch that I inspected the damage.

Three pretty good scrapes

Two of those scraped spots show broken skin, so my trusty friends pulled out some antibiotic cream and a couple of good-sized bandages, and then I was good to go. It actually stung awhile after treatment, but then there was no longer any discomfort at all. This picture was taken Friday morning after a good sleep and after a shower, before re-bandaging the affected areas. It makes me happy to see how well it is healing up. I got a massage later on Friday, and I learned that it wasn't only the arm that took some of the beating, but my entire area from shoulder to waist was sensitive. Otherwise, the massage was just what the doctor ordered. She of course skipped my forearm.

It has occurred to me that it might be because I have "old-lady skin" that it tore like that. I notice that when one's skin gets old and rather fragile, it doesn't take much for it to be injured in such a manner. It was a glancing blow, so I was not in danger of breaking any bones. Fortunately I do have a strong constitution, but I don't want to jinx myself by saying I am indestructible or anything like that, because it's not true. I have taken many a spill on hikes before, but the last bones I broke were because of a bad landing under my parachute, almost two decades ago.

As I rouse myself to begin another Sunday here in the Pacific Northwest, I just checked the weather and we are expecting another bout of rain, but nothing like we received yesterday. By tonight the second atmospheric river should bring more warm rain, so I'll check my wardrobe of rain gear and figure out what might work better to keep me dry. I feel so much better when I can get out and about, so I won't let a little rain stop me. Or puddles! 

Last night I dreamed about my grandmother, who has been gone for quite awhile, but she was there, being her normal self in my dream, and it sometimes makes me wonder just whether our loved ones hang around in the corridors of our minds forever, or if it's just an illusion. Then I remember that it's ALL an illusion, that what we think of as reality is made up in our minds and has no intrinsic meaning. At least that is what I believe right now. But it sure was somehow reassuring to visit my granny in seemingly concrete form last night.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. —Lao Tzu

 Friendship and loved ones are the staples of my existence. Without my circle of friends and my dear family, I would be quite bereft and lonely as well. But I am very fortunate not to have to try to exist without them, but I realize that it's important to value and cherish those who give me such love. It starts with my partner, who lies asleep beside me right now, who is journeying with me through the travails and joys of life. I am quite aware that as octogenarians, we will not always be as lucky as we are in this moment of time, so I need to bring my gratitude into the present moment and acknowledge it. 

There are only a few things I need to remember in order to find serenity, but probably the most important one is that we are all on this little lifeboat together, trying hard to find a way to peace and happiness. It sure helps me to visit my blogging family and see how each one is doing, and your efforts at dealing with the vicissitudes of your own lives. I like that quote from Lao Tzu, reminding me to "let reality be reality." I'm just glad that reality also includes visits from long-departed loved ones.

John's "chariot" will be coming to get me so we can head to Fairhaven for our Sunday breakfast in just a little over an hour from now. Before then, I will have done my Tibetan rites (five daily exercises I've been doing for well more than a decade now), spent a few minutes following my breath in meditation, and take all my morning vitamins. Then I'll head out to the front porch, enjoying the mild weather, and watch for his arrival. We'll have a nice breakfast together in the only place open so early, and then come back home to my sweet partner and look forward to the day ahead.

And with that, my Sunday morning post is finished. I have already inserted my "ears" and find that life is qualitatively better when I can hear. Thanks, hearing aids! I wish there was a way to slip on my eyeglasses and see the way I used to before AMD (age-related macular degeneration), but it's good enough. And of course, I'll read today's posts that you will have written, and enjoy visiting my virtual family. Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things. Be well.


Linda Reeder said...

In spite of getting wet and a little banged up lately, you sound quite content this mornng.
I'm up early because discomfort kept me from getting back to sleep, so here I am at the computer while it's still very dark outside. Unlike you, I am not an appreciative early riser. Later, when it's daylight and hopefully dry, I will make another attempt to walk a mile with my trekking poles. Tom comes with me. I'll do my daily PT of course, do some calendar planning, and watch some football. It will be a slow day, but full enough. I have a good dinner planned to cook for this evening.
Enjoy your slow day. Sounds like our lives are just full enough.

Anvilcloud said...

Dreams can be so powerful and can take you back in time, so that a bot of your older brain gets infused with a bit of your younger brain.

Rian said...

I love that you dreamt of your grandmother. I wonder about dreams too. What exactly are they? Do our minds invent them? Could they actually be visits? I had a dream about my mom a few weeks ago. First ever (that I remember). I have been visited by other family members in my dreams, but never my mom. And this wasn't a memory... it was a visit that left me with a happy feeling.
So glad you didn't hurt yourself badly when you fell. You are strong, but older skin is fragile.
And I know you're happy with your hearing aids. Me too! And although I don't have AMD, and I know you wish you could slip on your glasses and see as well as you used to, I still find both my glasses and my hearing aids miraculous. Some may say it's all a lot of trouble, but I think that despite the inconveniences, we're very very lucky.

Elephant's Child said...

I am so glad that your normal routine is restored. Ouch on the arm (and the other sensitive areas). I hope that you and I stay upright this week. A big hooray for family (chosen or blood) and friends too.

John's Island said...

Sorry to hear about the spill and injuries. Hope your recovery is rapid. I do like the quote from Lao Tzu. It is a reminder that change is an inherent part of life and that our response to change can significantly impact our well-being and happiness. It encourages a stance of open acceptance, flexibility, and a willingness to adapt, which can be beneficial in navigating the complexities of life. Be well, happy week ahead! John

John's Island said...

PS I found a video on YouTube about How to restore the GORE-TEX DWR (durable water repellency)


Marie Smith said...

Who could have imagined when we were young we’d be talking about atmospheric rivers as seniors?

Have a great week, Jan!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Ouch! Those are nasty scrapes. I am glad you are healing so well.
In favorite boots with a hole, I put my foot into a plastic bag inside the boot.

Tabor said...

I am always glad to read your uplifting blog. You give me reason, beauty, endurance, acceptance, and hope to move on. I am not sure that I agree about reality...but who knows any of this anyway?

Gigi said...

I've always known I was short; but never realized just how short until the wedding pictures came back! It didn't help that I wore flats either.

Ouch - your arm! I have begun to notice that my skin is thinning and is always covered in bruises and scrapes lately. All part of life I suppose.

Have a fabulous week, my friend!

Far Side of Fifty said...

As we age our skin gets thinner so it is easily injured. You will be all healed up before long! I hope you find some waterproof shoes and have many nice walks in the rain this week:)

Red said...

When Gortex first came out the material would deteriorate and no be water proof. You're lucky you didn't do more damage in your fall. It's good you get out because I think I'd sit in the house and watch it rain.

Chris said...

So much walking, you put me to shame and those are nasty scrapes, and I bet they're feeling very sore. Good your friends were able to bandage your arm..

Barwitzki said...

Small scratches are a part of life and they strengthen us as we fight through.
Thank you for your nice amount. Optimism is one of the elixirs of life, good friends yes and a friendly approach to one another.
Keep moving - hug Viola
p.s. Have you been a parachute jumper as an athlete?

Galen Pearl said...

Hey DJan, I haven't visited for a while, so I just spent some time catching up on your last couple of months of posts. I am always inspired, touched, amused, and moved by your accounts of your life, both your inner life and your "outer" life. Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts and experiences with your grateful audience.