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, March 3, 2024

Head still above water

Don and Jane at Bellingham Bay

Yesterday, Don and Jane and I walked along the Boulevard Park path for a nice morning outing. It rained a little, not much, but the cool temperatures and stiff breeze meant we didn't shed our jackets quickly. Jane turned around at this point and went back to her car, while Don and I continued on to the Ferry Terminal and ended up getting six miles in all. 

I really needed this walk. Steve is still sick, but I think he'll be back next week. I've got a need to change my unsettled state of mind. I have been watching too much news, and I again woke in the middle of the night in distress, unable to rid myself of the images and stories from the news and allow my mind to quiet.

The best way I know to change my state of mind is with a walk. I went to the coffee shop and met Don and Jane, drank coffee and shared some muffins (Jane always buys something to share) and set out in the blustery wind. Before long, I realized that I was feeling better, more centered and happy to be outdoors with good friends. My spirits lifted and I was feeling grateful for the surroundings, the company, and the ability to raise my body temperature to stave off cold hands and actually begin to feel warm as we continued our brisk walk.

Last night I slept much better, and I think I got at least a half hour of deep sleep and more than an hour longer in restful sleep than the night before. A good night's sleep is really important for me. Another way I have of changing my mood is to pull myself out of my concentration on the immediate world around me and look at the longer view. Insead of thinking about what body parts hurt this morning, I take a look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day to see what amazing picture it has to show me. My favorites are distant galaxies, millions of light-years away from this tiny insignificant blue ball in the outer reaches of the Milky Way, our own galaxy in the vast universe of stars and nebulae and black holes. It never fails to uplift and changes my perspective for the better. 

Sunday is the only day in the week that feels different to me, more like a holiday from routine, although I have a quite specific routine for the day, it's significantly different from other days. If I haven't been getting my usual exercise during the week, I know I will get a longer walk in the afternoon, if the weather cooperates and isn't blowing or raining too hard. I know that my friend John will pick me up to take me to breakfast in Fairhaven, and I know that I will spend some quality time with SG later in the day. Although it is definitely part of my usual routine, it feels different on Sundays. And very much needed to round out the week, giving me a chance to step back from my usual activities and take a look around at how my life has evolved in today's world. Having been born halfway through the last century, I realize that pretty much everything around me could not have been imagined back then. 

I remember the days when I would come rushing home from school to listen to a program on the radio with my family. We gathered around a huge box and listened to programs like Baby Snooks or Fibber McGee and Molly, which were very popular and something that we enjoyed experiencing together. Today, everyone is lost in their own smartphone, separated from everyone else and not having a shared moment. In 1950, I could not have even begun to imagine the world of today, and I'm pretty sure that many of my readers were not even born when these radio shows were popular and available. If you want to learn more about that era, check out this Wikipedia link, The Golden Age of Radio. It's fascinating to realize how different social media was back then. And now look where we are.

That's another thing I would never have imagined: Wikipedia. When I was young, door-to-door salesmen sold massive volumes of encyclopedias to the population. We had an Encyclopedia Brittanica set, and I spent many hours perusing the information about subjects that interested me. It is still in existence. I learned this today:
The encyclopaedia is maintained by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 contributors. The 2010 version of the 15th edition, which spans 32 volumes and 32,640 pages, was the last printed edition. Since 2016, it has been published exclusively as an online encyclopaedia.
I'm surprised that it lasted for so long in print, since our world is now almost completely digital. I visit Wikipedia almost daily, for something or other than I am curious about. I also pay them for the privilege, although it's a pittance when I consider how expensive our brown encyclopedia volumes must have been. Just thinking about the enormous changes that have occurred in our world during the time I've been alive, it does make me wonder what the next century will bring. I won't be around to see it, but I can certainly imagine it. I hope we will learn how to exist on this tiny planet together without war. That is my fervent hope.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yes to Dr. King. Yes a hundred times over. And now it's time for me to begin the rest of my Sunday routine, now that my post has been written, and I'm feeling ready to spring out of bed (well, maybe not spring) and enjoy whatever is coming my way. I do hope that you will find a good way to spend your day ahead, and that you will be surrounded with unconditional love. Why not? Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things. Be well.


ApacheDug said...

DJan, I enjoyed this read. I don't always comment here as I do on DJanity, but I felt a real connection to things you said here. Sometimes I can get pretty cynical about things, and then I read pieces like this and you inspire me in different ways. I hope your week ahead is another healthy and adventurous one.

Rian said...

A good night's sleep makes a world of difference. I tend to sleep fairly well... usually 1-2 hours deep sleep (or so my Amazfit says). My problem is that I occasionally get the 'suspected medium risk' in the breathing category and usually wake up light-headed with my heart pounding... but it goes away once I'm up for a bit.
With the political climate on the rise, I'm not watching the news these days. We did mail in our votes for the Primary, but can't watch all the 'misinformation' that is shown on TV.
Enjoy your day, DJan! And Sundays feel different to me also... like a gift at the end of the week.

Marie Smith said...

The news brings me down too but in nature, I lose those feelings. The ducks and squirrels don’t care about politics or world events. They provide a much needed respite from the sorrows of the world.

Anvilcloud said...

I have experienced how a good walk can alter my mood. More in the past than now.

Linda Reeder said...

I have always used walking as a stress reducer. While I can't walk very far anymore, I still try to log a mile every other day. Yesterday morning the cold wind in my face felt so good, so fresh and refreshing.
I am just about a year and a half younger than you so of course I remember those old radio shows. We listened to them after school, and at lunch time during the summer. I was always good at mind movies, visualizing the action, so it was almost as good as TV.
Enjoy your Sundays, and every day.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Maybe you should only watch movie channels. My Mom had her Tv turned to the Hallmark Channel and never turned it to another channel unless she had company that wanted to watch something else. I have not seen the news this week...so I have no idea what is happening elsewhere. I look out the window it is dreary with a bit of a breeze, snow is on the ground. Far Guy is taking a morning nap, two dogs lay at my feet, I am still exhausted but thankful that no one is in the hospital. God is in charge and he will take care of problems all over the world.

John's Island said...

“I hope we will learn how to exist on this tiny planet together without war.” I believe your statement could be considered a worthy goal of humanity since the very beginning. Do you recall, in 1992, when Rodney King said, “I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” Now, some 30+ years later, we clearly can’t all get along. And, I just checked, the Doomsday Clock is still 90 seconds to midnight. Despite all that, I appreciate your weekly look on the positive side.

Linda Myers said...

I have a couple of email news sources that I read each day - they're balanced and truthful, as far as I can tell. Otherwise I'm getting better at ignoring all the things I have no control over.

I am beginning to walk again after my knee replacement - like a mile instead of a couple of blocks. It feels like I'm getting back to my old self.

Rita said...

I can always tell when I have been watching too much of the news these past few years. We all need our ways of bringing our spirits up, for sure. Wonderful days ahead, my friend. :)

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

A brisk walk on a windy day sounds refreshing!

Red said...

It's all relative. For much of the 40's we didn't have a radio and when we did have a radio may times the batteries were dead and the radio wouldn't work. Like you' used our imaginations as what might be in our future.

Chris said...

Yes a walk in the fresh air strengthens my soul. I still love the radio, my husband and I listen to a Radio Soap Drama every day, even listened to it when we were in Australia.

Glenda C. Beall said...

I am a child of radio and I miss it. I listen to books instead of reading now for a number of reasons. Radio makes me think of happy times.
I try not to watch news channels. Way too depressing and I can't fix the problems. Good post.