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, June 30, 2024

An eventful week

Daisies, stuffed mouse, and me

Yesterday I went for a wonderful six-mile walk with my friend Steve, and instead of our usual routes either to the harbor or to Fairhaven, we walked east to the Barkley neighborhood. It turns out that we saw at least seven or eight yard sales as we walked, and we did stop to check out a few of them. He purchased this cute little stuffed mouse, which he says is part of a story that he would read to his son when he was little. 

As you can see, it was a sunny day and I am wearing a new hat I bought on Amazon a week or so ago. It was perfect forthe weather, and when I saw these pretty daisies along the side of our trail, I asked Steve to let me take a picture of him. He demurred and suggested I hold onto the mouse while he took the above picture. I like it, so I decided to share it with you.

I didn't go on the Tuesday hike, because it was a long drive and I'd recently visited the area, and also we intended to go into the same vicinity on Thursday. I'm glad I didn't go because there were 22 people who did go! At it was, on Thursday we had twelve of us drive to Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island. I had never visited the park or the World War II-vintage fort. I wrote about it on my other blog, if you're interested. It's such a long drive I'm not sure I'll be going back there any time soon. But it was a beautiful day, cloudy and threatening rain (but not raining). We had patches of sunlight instead.

Then there was Thursday's presidential debate, and I watched it, which was a mistake. I was so upset by seeing both of our options for president seeming to be rather distressing choices. I then listened to the spin doctors and their commentary, which meant I couldn't get to sleep until very late. And in a state that was anything but calm. By the next morning, when I got up after little sleep, I had gained a bit of perspective and was able to have a really good restful sleep on Saturday. Things always look much different when I'm not trying to solve the woes of the world and can see things with a better frame of mind. Whatever is going to happen has little to do with me, and I really need to take care of myself. Walking this morning with a good friend was all I needed to complete the transition from despair to serenity.

And, surprisingly, this coming Thursday is our national holiday: Independence Day, the Fourth of July (already!). We don't usually have a hike scheduled for that day, but one of our leaders, Barb, has decided to do a rather long and challenging hike and I will be one of many to join her. It looks like it will be sunny and warm, so I'll be taking precautions to keep myself comfortable. I've already heard early fireworks going off, reminding me of what's to come.

Yesterday while we were checking out yard sales, I saw a lovely rather vintage recliner (you know, one of those with a handle to bring up the feet) that was in really good shape. And after I sat down in it, I couldn't resist buying it. I made the purchase and we headed off back to the coffee shop. I called my friend John and arranged for him to help me get the chair to my home. And then I went looking for some strong backs to help me get it up the stairs to my second-floor apartment. It all went without a hitch, and I must say I am thrilled with my chair. I named her "Alice" but I actually think she told me her name and I simply acceded. It's a smallish chair, just right for someone my size, and it fits right where my easy chair has lived for years. I thought about sharing a picture, and maybe I will, but not today. I am happily ensconced in my bed, propped up with the laptop as usual, and listening to the sounds of the new day's beginning. Birds awakening, chirping and lazy. I think of them as brushing the sleep out of their eyes, just as I do.

We have a lot of crows around here, and I wondered why at this time of year they make such different calls. I read up on them and found that this is the season when the young ones fledge. Once they leave the nest, it takes some time before they learn to fly.
Fledgling crows can take 1-2 weeks to learn to fly and self-feed with the help of their parents. In fact, young fledgling crows will spend approximately one to two weeks on the ground as they go through this essential learning process with their parents. (Wikipedia)

Well, that explains the crows I see walking around on lawns, and the plaintive cry of what looks like a full-sized crow begging another one for food. It's simply a baby learning how to be a crow. The entire corvid family of birds are extremely intelligent and well adapted to urban environments. They include blue jays, ravens, and crows of every sort. Maybe I should take up birding. So many things to explore and learn about in my old age, but I think maybe it would help to have better eyesight than mine. Fortunately, much of what there is to learn is available audibly. And thanks to my trusty hearing aids, I can hear everything. And then some. The only problem I have with them is that ambient sounds are often too loud, like when I'm traveling in a car and trying to have a conversation with someone. The noise of the car can be a problem. There are downsides to all our helpful devices, it seems. But it sure is nice to have them, I'm not really complaining.

What else is going on in my busy mind? Oh yes, there is the problem of not being able to think of a word that is right on the tip of my tongue. Yesterday I couldn't think of the name of the app on my phone that allows me to navigate to places I don't know how to get to. You know, the Google Maps app. I tried so hard to think of it as I was talking on the phone, but it just wouldn't come. Now I begin to understand when someone uses a word that doesn't quite fit. It's called anomia.

Word-finding difficulty, also known as anomia or word-retrieval difficulty, is a common experience that can affect people of all ages. It can feel like the "tip-of-the-tongue" sensation and can be made worse by certain emotions or lack of sleep. However, if the difficulty becomes persistent or severe, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Yes, I have experienced this many times, but somehow becoming an octogenarian has increased the frequency of my frustration with finding the right words. I am unused to it and hope it doesn't get any worse. Do you have the same problem? I wonder.

That pretty much describes the week I just had. This is the last day of the month, and July's heat will soon make me try everything I can to keep cool. Fortunately, we don't live in one of those parts of the country where it gets super hot. I couldn't deal with it very well. We don't have or need air conditioning at the moment; fans do the trick, but it sure looks like the world is getting much warmer. That's another thing I probably won't live long enough to be inconvenienced by. But who knows what lies ahead?

 Well, this turned out to be a rambling post, going nowhere in particular, but simply a chronicle of my week. The good part of my day today, after breakfast with John, is getting to know Alice better. I'll probably take a walk at some point, and I am determined to enjoy every moment of the coming week. My dear partner still sleeps next to me, and I hear the birds incessantly chirping outside, and life is good. I do hope that you will enjoy your week ahead, too. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things.


Sunday, June 23, 2024

Picking and choosing

Fifteen years ago

Yes, I am still able to go on most of the hikes I could accomplish fifteen years ago, like this one to Winchester Mountain in 2009. I did, however, skip the trip the Trailblazers took last week to Noisy Creek, a more than ten-mile hike after a long car trip. Nine people did go, and apparently they had a great time. Other than feeling a little bit of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), I realize that I have now reached the place in my life where it's possible to pick and choose, rather than keep myself reaching for new heights at every turn of the calendar. It's summer, and the next few months will be spent going into the High Country, as in this picture. And yes, I will pick and choose carefully. Full sunshine as in this picture is not my favorite hiking condition. I seem to wilt in the sun and certainly don't want to be a drag on my fellow hikers.

There is little doubt in my mind that, if I continue to listen to my body and take it slowly, I can still climb almost every mountain that we have on our schedule. However, it makes no sense to push myself as hard as I have in the past, since there are so many other ways to keep myself fit in my later years. I am enjoying the yoga classes at the Senior Center, as well as the Fitness Center there, and keeping the routine for the upper body that I've worked out as necessary to maintain my strength. At present I am only doing that once a week, before yoga on Mondays, but I'll try to find one more day during the week to work that in.

I don't see the retina specialist for any more eyeball jabs until August. We both decided it's unnecessary to try to salvage any central vision for the right eye, since it's gone and unable to be retrieved, but instead continue to concentrate on trying to slow the progression of the geographic atrophy in the left eye, which still maintains its central vision. I'm definitely losing the ability to distinguish the distance between objects, and sometimes when I'm gazing at a photograph, it takes awhile before I can figure out what it is, exactly. But eventually I do. And I am still very grateful that it's not happening all at once, but gradually so I can find ways to adapt. 

When I reminisce about all the different hurdles I've managed to clear during my long life,  I know that this one, my eyesight, is probably the most difficult task I've faced. Well, that might not be quite true: the fact that I've survived the death of both my children, one in 1965 when I was just 22, and the other when I was 59, in 2002, both of those events seemed insurmountable when they happened. By the time I had recovered from that first one, an entire decade had passed, and I have few memories from that time period. Perhaps it's a survival mechanism to forget the hardest of the hard times in one's life.

And although I've had many hard times in my life, I don't think they are that different from what other people endure as we grow older. We lose faculties we once took for granted; we lose family and friends to illness and circumstances that take once central characters out of our sphere; our cars start to break down and require replacements; our jobs change and finally end when we retire. All those inevitable moments in a long life are milestones we reach as we look back at where we have come from, to who we have become today.

It occurred to me to list all those numerous life events, to look back at them from the vantage point of Summer 2024, but when I pondered creating that list, it felt daunting, as well as possibly leaving out some important milestones that I prefer to forget. And that wouldn't be fair to my desire for accuracy. As I sit here in the dark, I can look out the window at the burgeoning daylight and think about what's ahead for this summer day: first, a trip in John's truck to Fairhaven for our weekly breakfast, solving the Wordle puzzle and Connections on the New York Times while we wait for and then consume our breakfast. I'll then come home and spend some time chatting with SG, who will be up and out of bed by then. I'll probably go for a nice walk to Cornwall Park and perhaps listen to a podcast while I walk. I'll do a little puttering (isn't that an interesting word?), read the posts that show up in my news feed, and then turn on the TV and watch as much of the world news as I can tolerate. The big task on my schedule for the day is to get my laundry done. Since it's Sunday, the Senior Center is closed, or I might have ventured there for some activity. 

Pretty boring stuff, when I think about it. There are plenty of tasks I could take on here at home, but I know I probably won't. I might eventually get to REI to buy myself some new pants, but it's not something I particularly look forward to. I remember the days when shopping for new clothes was something I enjoyed, but now it's just another chore. Last Sunday I went bowling with my friends, and although we played two games, I only got one strike and one spare, with a smattering of gutter balls. Nevertheless, it was fun to be with them and spend some time together. I never considered that my life would become so mundane, but frankly, it's just the way I prefer it. I know that just living will cause many changes to come about, and anything I can do to keep our lives on an even keel is a good thing.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. —Desmond Tutu

When I think about how so many innocent people in the world today are facing dire straits, through no fault of their own, I teeter on the edge of despair. And then I remember what the enlightened among us, like Desmond Tutu, remind me: there is light despite all of the darkness. It matters where I place my attention, and so today I will make an effort to think only positive thoughts, surround myself with only positive energy, and remind myself that I am one of the lucky ones: I can pick and choose what I will make of today and who I will spend it with. And just like that, I can feel gratitude beginning to surface in my heart, and as the light grows in the sky outdoors, I can feel it taking shape all around me. 

My dear friends, I hope that today, and this coming week, will bring you all that you desire, and that you will also surround yourself with positive energy. It's there if we just look for it. Until we meet again next week, be well.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Leaving languishing behind

Sitting in the feathered seat

Earlier this month, I went with the Senior Trailblazers on a long-ish hike (nine miles and plenty of elevation gain and loss), and when we reached our lunch spot, this wonderful carved seat awaited us. I am sitting in the eagle spot, with two carved ravens on my shoulders. It's a beautiful thing to see, and I was more than happy to sit down and enjoy my lunch with friends before heading back.

This day was the beginning of a bit of a slide into a state that I have learned is labeled as "languishing." Not depressed exactly, but also not in a happy place, either. The other day I listened to a podcast on Hidden Brain about "Why You Feel Empty." It's all about a book written by Corey Keyes, a sociologist at Emory University, on what languishing and flourishing are all about. The full title of the book is "Languishing: How to Feel Alive Again in a World that Wears Us Down." It sure made sense to me when I listened to the podcast. I will order the audio version of the book, once I've finished watching the TED talk that Corey gave earlier this year. It's all available at this website, which I hope works for you, from Penguin Random House, his publisher.

I think the beginning of slipping into this mental state started when I turned eighty. It's a landmark I never actually felt I would reach, since neither of my parents lived anywhere that long, and heart disease is rampant in my family's history. Of course, I was blessed to have been given statins long ago, and I've managed with them, along with diet and exercise, to keep it in check. But I never dreamed about the one health issue I had not given much thought to: going blind. Although I've been dealing with AMD (age-related macular degeneration) for years, it never really bothered me until I lost the central vision in my right eye. I am now legally blind in that eye, but a new treatment has emerged in the past year to slow the progression of the disease. I have now received one injection into each of my eyes, and if all goes well, the left eye will not become blind in the same manner. Or at least not as soon as it would if I didn't get these injections. Nothing can be done to bring back what I've lost, but I am hoping that in seven weeks, when I see the doctor again, there will be signs that it's slowed and he'll give me another left eye jab.

As I've written in here before, it has brought a major change in my life. I am so accustomed to reading and writing that it became hard to imagine that life might still be worth living if I become unable to continue pursuits that feel central to my sense of self. No more blogging, no reading the news, no connecting with my virtual family, so much gone. That began to wear on me, and I fell into a state of languishing. What good would I be to the world? To myself? What would be the point of an octogenarian writer who has become blind?

And then I discovered that there are ways to overcome almost every single one of my concerns, maybe not having things the same, but there is a real challenge here, one I think I can use to my advantage. In his book, Corey lists some things that people who are languishing can do; he calls them "The Five Vitamins of Flourishing."

Vitamin 1: Following your curiosity to learn something new. Well, learning to post a blog without being able to do it directly can be accomplished in several ways. Before the end of this year, I hope to have learned enough to submit at least one Sunday morning post using other methods than typing on my laptop.

Vitamin 2: Build warm and trusting relationships. I already have a fairly good beginning here, since my partner and I have a thirty-year head start on this one. I also have other meaningful relationships filled with mutual trust. Some are fairly new, but others are of long standing. I will work on finding others as needed,

Vitamin 3: Move closer to the sacred, the divine, and the infinite. This vitamin comes rather naturally to me. I have begun a morning meditation practice, now going into a third year, and I will continue to study Buddhist philosophy to augment what I already know, and will remember the wonderful lessons I have learned from Christianity. All sacred texts bring the same message.

Vitamin 4: Have and live your purpose. This one needs some work, since having been retired and no longer being part of any organization that requires my presence, I have become disengaged in ways that can be solved by becoming a volunteer in something that appeals to me. I was a volunteer for more than five years helping people to write their Advance Directive for End-of-Life care. I need to find something else like that.

Vitamin 5: Play! Make time for activities where you enjoy the process, not the outcome. Doesn't that sound like fun? I enjoy Wordle (although I sure want to find the word of the day) and Connections, a game on the New York Times website that gives me lots of pleasure to play. I wonder if these games can be translated into something that a blind person can do, and play. I'll find out. If not, there are others that can serve the same purpose.

So now you know my current situation as well as I do. If you have any ideas of how I might continue to flourish as I navigate another one of life's many dramas, I am certainly willing to listen and ponder how I might move into a more positive frame of mind. Many of us who make it to this age must have come up with some solutions that I haven't thought of quite yet. We octogenarians are resourceful, after all, or we wouldn't have gotten this far, right?

And today is Father's Day here in the US. I'm not sure whether it is observed in other countries, but I have so many memories of my dad that still live in my heart and mind. He died in 1979, so long ago at the age of 62. He was a good father, and when I think of his presence, I remember that he was the one who would get up early and send my sister and me off to school, often with a lunch that he prepared. He was an early riser, like me, while my mother slept in after going to bed much later than he. Daddy was often the one who would wash our hair in the kitchen sink, comb it out, and make us presentable before we caught the bus to school.
If there is any immortality to be had among us human beings, it is certainly only in the love that we leave behind. Fathers like mine don't ever die. —Leo Buscaglia
I will always have memories of my parents, as long as I live. And I was tremendously blessed to have had them raise me to adulthood. Now I am feeling the love for all human beings, and grateful that I had such a good start in life. And with that, I will sign off for today and look forward to another wonderful day where I can still see the sun shine. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things, dear friends.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

My latest adventure

Low tide at harbor (Steve's picture)

Yesterday my friend Steve and I walked from the coffee shop to Squalicum Harbor, one of my favorite walks. I felt pretty good, physically, when we started out, but I lost some of my energy as we made our six miles around the harbor. I think I am not completely recovered from my long and rather strenuous hike on Thursday. Although there was a time when such a hike would not have bothered me, I am feeling my age and lack of ability to bounce back quickly.

I apologized to Steve for whining, when we were on our way back from the harbor and almost to the Farmers' Market. I felt like I might not be able to make it without stopping to rest. But I did eventually, and I enjoyed a scone and a Shave Ice treat at the end. The cold snow-cone-like frosty treat revived me. Although it wasn't all that hot for some people, the temperature in the mid-70s and full sun sure felt hot to me. Each one of these excursions will help to acclimatize me to warmer temperatures. I must say, though, I much prefer cool temps and partly cloudy skies.

Looking at the rest of the country, however, we are not under that awful heat dome that many are experiencing at the moment. I saw that the temperatures in the Southwest have reached into the triple digits, while we are having what would feel like a cold snap for many. I like this much better! My friends in California are doing their best to stay comfortable during this period. And I do hope that the electricity grid in Texas will manage to stay in operation, since many family and friends rely on it. And it's not even summer yet. It does look like we'll be having a warmer than normal summer season.

It's now been more than a week since I had my first eye treatment, and tomorrow, Monday the 10th, I'll have my second one. It took a few days for the redness and swelling to settle down, but I didn't have any other untoward reaction, so I suppose it will be a repeat of last week's adventure this time. 

And that is the main thing on my mind these days: what is happening with my eyes and whether or not I will be able to slow the progression of the deterioration of my vision. Although I have been dealing with AMD (age-related macular degeneration) for years, it's only recently become a real problem and making it hard to read for any length of time, even with my device's low vision settings, but it's far better than no sight at all. And yes, it is an adventure that I have been dealing with, and how it goes from here is not clear at all. If this treatment slows things down, I will be happy, but it might not, and I will be looking at being legally blind within the next year or two at the outside.

I have already begun to make plans for how I might proceed, and several of my friends have offered suggestions that I will definitely follow. You would think that someone who has jumped out of airplanes for decades wouldn't be afraid of a little thing like this, but yeah, I am. Under the best circumstances, I'll find ways to work around the loss of vision and still carry out everything that I enjoy today. But I will probably have to give up reading and following the blogs you write. That's in the future, though, and for now I can still use my "good" eye to see your creations and pictures, etc. There are so many wonderful people in my universe, and I feel very fortunate to have this moment of life-affirming beauty.
Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something. —Ralph Marston

 Although it's hard to see in that picture, the tide in the harbor was lower than I had ever seen it. We've been having what is called a "spring tide," which occurs during full moons and new moons. (It has nothing to do with it being springtime, they occur year round.) During spring tides, the high and low tides are more extreme. This has been going on all the time, but I only recently (like yesterday) noticed how far out the beach continued in the harbor. People who live near the coast usually already know about tides. 

I remember years ago, when I lived in California and decided to hitchhike down the coast to get to Big Sur. Since I was living at that time in Sacramento, it was not a long ways to go, a few hours ride in a car, and I had no fear of hitchhiking back in those days. I was a young and not-too-bright hippie who never thought anything could happen to her. One driver gave me a ride to the coast not too far from Big Sur, and I decided to camp out on the beach.

I had a small backpack with a sleeping bag and some clothes, and I found a lovely place in the warm sand to set up my makeshift camp. I snuggled into the bag and fell asleep, only to be awakened in the middle of the night by the tide coming in, and suddenly I was surrounded by water! I didn't know anything about tides, but I found a rock that jutted out above the beach and scrambled onto it. There was nothing to do, nowhere to go, just stay there until the tide receded. That was my first adventure with tides, and I soon learned that they rise and fall twice a day. Bellingham is located at 48.75 North Latitude, near the Canadian border.  It also means that our tides are higher and lower at this distance from the equator.

When I was sitting on that rock, surrounded by water, I watched a seal playing nearby. He was so at home there and seemed to realize that I was not a threat to him, but instead found me to be a captive audience. That seal lives on in my memory of that fateful day. Once the tide receded, I packed up, walked to the highway and hitched the rest of the way to Big Sur. It was something I never forgot, and now that I am living in a coastal city, I am much more aware of the vast ocean at my doorstep and its characteristics.  

We are not far from the summer solstice, the day when the nights are shortest and the days the longest. That is when I learned about how different it is so far north, with Bellingham being so far north that we don't get completely dark at the summer solstice. If you go even farther north, to the Land of the Midnight Sun, it never gets dark at all at this time of the year. I am grateful for my sleep mask that makes it dark for me whenever I'm ready for bed, no matter what time of year it is.

I managed to get more than eight hours of sleep last night, and this morning I feel much more like myself, with a spring in my step and no longer feeling so tired from Thursday's hike. I guess even though it didn't seem as though I am recovering as quickly as I'd like, I have to remind myself that I am doing quite well for an octogenarian. For that I am eternally grateful, and for however long I can continue to be active, I will also enjoy these days in the sun. But I will not mind one bit as the days begin to grow shorter and the sun will set at a reasonable time. 

Well, I managed to write a post without bemoaning my eye situation for too long. It is truly wonderful to be alive in this day and age, and my gratitude for my life, with its ups and downs and challenges to be met, is boundless. I will also not forget my dear virtual friends, and I will enjoy every moment that we have together here in the Blogosphere, knowing that they will change with the days, weeks, perhaps years that we have ahead. I do hope that the coming week will bring you lots of joy and delight, and that you will be surrounded by love. That's what I wish for myself as well. Until we meet here next week, I wish you all good things.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Not yet legally blind

Beautiful lawn display

I took this picture while on my regular Saturday morning walk with my friend Steve. We met at the coffee shop, I did the Wordle (he had already done it) and we then solved the Connections puzzle together. And then we walked to Fairhaven along the Boulevard Park walkway. I felt so much better after we spent time together, even though when I climbed into bed Friday night, I didn't know how I might be feeling about doing much of anything on Saturday.

I saw the retina specialist Friday afternoon, which took quite a bit of time, mostly waiting in different rooms to have my eyes dilated again, pictures of my retinas taken, and waiting to see the doctor. This is the same doctor I saw a few years ago, who told me there was no reason to keep seeing him, as there was nothing they could do to slow my geographic atrophy caused by macular degeneration. Last year, a new treatment became available, and my eye doctor suggested I see him again.

Of course the first thing I did was go online to research these treatments and learned that they are intra-ocular injections. That means getting a needle stuck in your eyeball, numerous times over the months to come. If I'm lucky, that is.

Finally I got to spend some time with Dr Subong to discuss my situation. I asked him which of the two treatments he might use, and he said he uses the one that has been around longer, almost a year now. I asked if he would give me a shot in my good eye, the left one, so that the progression might slow right away. But he said no, he would be giving me my first injection in the right eye, because if I end up being allergic or having problems, there would be less trauma. He said I could lose the eye in a worst-case scenario. I reluctantly agreed that he was right, and then the procedure began, first by numbing the eye with both drops and a gel. Then they came in a short time later and did the same thing all over again. By the time they did that, I only felt the coolness on my eyelids, no sensation in the eye at all.

Then came the injection itself. The doctor used his fingers and a q-tip to hold my eye open, while he injected the stuff. It's very thick and viscous and took about ten seconds for the entire injection. Once he finished, he asked me to open my eye and tell him what I saw: nothing! Dark black nothingness. He said he would have to "release the pressure," but before he got going, I began to see some light, and then gradually my vision, such as it is in that eye, returned. The eye had been treated with several antibiotic creams prior to the injection, and the assistant began to flush my eye with warm soothing water. My eye did not feel right, but then again, I had just had viscous liquid inserted in it! It wasn't fun but necessary and not as bad as I feared.

I was so glad that my guy was with me through it all, though he was in the waiting room until I was done, and then he drove me home. Now I am glad that the doctor started with the bad eye and left my functioning eye alone for now. I did ask him how long he thought my good eye was likely to continue to let me see central vision. He looked at the pictures carefully and said, "maybe a year, or a little more." So even though I am not at all happy about having to go through this, I will do what I can to keep some central vision. Once it's gone, like it already is in my right eye, there is no getting it back. So I am hoping that this procedure will give me more time to read and write.

Dr Subong said that each injection seems to delay the progression by about 20%, and that they seem to be cumulative in their effect on the atrophy. Of course, this is speculative, because everyone is different and responds differently. I am happy to say that I don't seem to have become one of those unlucky ones who are allergic or react negatively to it. The white part of my eye is filled with red and is swollen out, but there is no pain or discomfort, other than a slight ache in the eye, as if I had just finished a marathon crying jag.

If and when the progression becomes complete, I will no longer be able to see anything with my central (focal) vision. I will still have all my peripheral vision, but will no longer be able to continue with the activities I have grown to rely on, and this Sunday blog post will stop. I will still be able to hear podcasts and "read" the news the same way as any legally blind person does. If I am still able to see because of these injections, even just for a few more years, I will be very grateful.

So, that is a warning to all my visual friends, who will still be there but I will not be able to "talk" with you like I am doing right now. When I thought of how I would come to stop blogging, this outcome never occurred to me. Blindness and relying even more on my ears is definitely in my future, if I live that long. I can still type, but I cannot find or fix any typos or read what I have written once that comes to pass.
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content. —Helen Keller

I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to walk this path. I am still in the throes of grief and have a bit of melancholy when I think of where I am headed, but I trust that my inherent optimism will eventually prevail. Being able to be physical becomes even more important to me. I can always walk in the woods, even if I have to take a bus to get there, even if I cannot see the leaves on the trees, I can still hear the abundant birdsong of the feathered denizens that live among them.

When I think of my blessings, I sometimes forget to include the ability I still have to ponder and reason, and need to give thanks for my intellect, which still seems to be intact. It's almost like a sixth sense, and since it's ubiquitous, I forget to be grateful for its continued presence in my life. That, and my sweet partner who might soon augment my eyes as well, give me hope for the future.

With that, dear friends, I look forward to the rest of my day. My friend John will soon come to take me to breakfast, and afterwards I will be watching the torrential rain we are expecting for the next couple of days from the warmth and comfort of my home. I might even decide to walk in it, who knows? It's not that I need any more adventure in my life, but I will rejoice in being able to, if I choose. 

I hope that you will have a wonderful week ahead, and that you will not forget to look around you for the blessings that surround you. I will certainly being doing just that. And I give thanks for you. Be well until we meet again next week.