Archives for category: winter

Another day, another mile… and another cup of coffee, on a new morning. 🙂 Yesterday’s hike was lovely, although the most recent heavy rains left behind reminders in the form of broken and fallen branches, evidence of erosion, and very muddy trails. Still lovely.

I find new perspective every time I walk the trail.

Yesterday was a good one. An excellent hike, an afternoon of baking, some reading, some writing, some time spent hanging out with my Traveling Partner.. a day well-spent. There were enough delightful options for what to do with the time that I could easily have faced some sort of joy-threatening decision-paralyzing moment that could so easily evolve into a not-at-all-grown-up tantrum, but we passed on that “opportunity”, and just enjoyed the day, instead. Doing what I felt like, that day, and not worrying about what I could not get to, or chose not to do was a productive choice that felt good all day. I felt free. Free, too, to give my partner a hand now and then on his project, when asked, without feeling at all imposed upon. Nice. 😀

I’ll walk a mile of trail again today. Haven’t decided where, yet. Same trail, maybe; it’s my current favorite local trail, and even has a challenging bit here and there. Another day. Another mile. I just keep at it. Pain? Yep – my “constant companion” – or seems so. If I let pain stop me, I’d wouldn’t go far. No shaming coming from me, though, if your pain does stop you in your tracks. I get it; pain sucks, and your results vary. Mine, too. I shake an angry fist at my pain all the time, I remind myself not to let it stop me – and I’m 100% made of human. Sometimes pain stops me. I definitely fight it, though. I worry about “use it or lose it” limitations of human experience – if I stop walking for some unspecified time, will I stop being able to? That’s one of the “big fears”, for me. So… I get back out on the trail again, soon, after every bit of bad weather, after every injury, every illness, every distraction that takes my attention from getting back out there, on my feet, one step after another. That mile isn’t going to walk itself. I’ll walk it while I can. 🙂

Sometimes there are obstacles along the path. I make a point to be aware, to be safe, and also… to have some perspective. 😉

If the weather is sufficiently mild, I’ll throw my sketchbook and some pencils in my drawstring pack and stop along the trail, make some notes, sketch some details, and spend the afternoon in the studio. (That sounds like a “summertime” idea maybe, and sure, then too, but… the trails are generally more crowded, which for me is less pleasant, in summertime…and the views are very different in that season, also. Doable in winter so long as the weather is not so chilly that I can’t use a pencil comfortably.) There are a lot of cute tables and benches along this particular trail – well-suited to leisure moments. 😀

…I enjoy leisure moments…

…It’s already time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping the last of my second cup of coffee. It’s a Friday; I might have a third, later. I’m in pain, mostly managing it. I’ve felt the tiniest bit “under the weather” since yesterday, as if fighting off a head cold. I feel… tired. Bone-deep fatigue unrelieved by a good night’s sleep. Rested – still tired. I struggle to fully engage routine tasks. I don’t feel wholly alert. I struggle to resist distractions.

I find myself becoming annoyed with myself over my “lack of motivation” at the end of what has been a ridiculously busy work week. My inner dialogue begins to become aggressive and adversarial, and a tad “punishing” and disrespectful. I could take time to try to sort out where all that garbage and mess comes from… or I can take the break I so clearly need, and do a good job of that, instead. I mean, clearly I learned this self-abusive unproductive bullshit somewhere, but those sorts of ugly relationship dynamics are not a regular part of my everyday life now. I can just “let all that go”, and make a point to willfully treat myself with more kindness and understanding. To embrace my own “Big 5″ relationship values – even in my relationship with myself.

I’ve got a long weekend coming up. I feel my shoulders relax when I think about spending time in the studio painting. As I imagine the moment, and anticipate the feeling of “treating myself” to that creative time, I feel my shoulders relax, and a smile begin at the edge of my mouth. I imagine hiking my new favorite local trail, again, and doing some sketches there, and returning to canvas and paint at home. I imagine sleeping in, and waking slowly. I imagine waffles for brunch, and little breakfast sausages, piping hot, fat crackling and popping in the pan. I imagine putting my feet up with a new book, and sipping a glass of sherry as twilight becomes nightfall. I imagine spending quiet time with my Traveling Partner, and long leisure hours discussing one plan or project or another. Rest and art and love seem like good things to spend the weekend on…

…I straighten my posture, and look over this spreadsheet, feeling just a bit less beat down, and ready to finish this week… One more way to begin again. 🙂

I didn’t sleep well last night. My sleep was disturbed, interrupted and restless, and I was more than usually sensitive to common sounds in the background (think passing cars, air conditioning units, dogs barking, the refrigerator, stuff like that). It wasn’t particularly stressful in the moment. I would wake, listen a while, and return to sleep. Twice I got up, looking for the source of a noise that would prove each time to be outside the house. I woke with a headache, feeling fatigued and sort of “fuzzy headed”. Brain fog.

I’m sipping my coffee, now, some hours later, and giving some thought to what the best self-care steps will be. The rain has stopped for the being, and the sunshine lights the side of the neighbor’s house. Flood waters have begun to recede, although my Traveling Partner maintains vigilant concern about the potential for flooding. New homeowner anxiety – seems reasonable to me. 🙂 I keep looking at the water level in the creek, too.

What sort of day is today? “Good enough”, so far. 🙂 Sometimes that has to be enough. I’m in a pleasant mood, in spite of pain and fatigue, and a look at my calendar suggests the day – and week – are likely to be a very positive and accomplished-feeling backwards glance, however subtly stressful in some moments, in real time. I guess that’s “good enough”, too. Perhaps not ideal, but… better than a lot of other things I could be forced to endure. I’ll make the most of what is in front of me, and enjoy it as much as realistically possible (considering that it is work, first, and also the pain… because that’s not fun).

Me. This coffee. This day. You, over there, reading these words. Sometimes it isn’t going to be easier or better or more satisfying or more pleasant; it’s just this, here, now. What it is. Sometimes “enough” is all the win I’m going to get. 🙂 That’s okay. I can begin again. 😉

I’m sipping my coffee, and starting my work day. It’s pretty ordinary in most respects. The rain continues to fall. By itself, the fact of rain falling is insignificant on a winter morning in the Pacific Northwest. Rain falls. It’s a thing people know about. 🙂 We are powerless to stop the rain falling. (I’m sure there’s a metaphor there, somewhere…)

It’s actually been raining, specifically here, where I am, for days. There are flood warnings. It’s a legitimate concern.

The “creek” beyond the retaining wall is generally just a trickle.

Rain. Floods. Storms. Weather exists. It comes and goes. I sip my coffee grateful that I’m not also dealing with a major power outage, as some colleagues just a few miles north happen to be, this morning.

…Few experiences define “feeling powerless” the way being without power can… I mean… for obvious reasons.

An anxious younger colleague reaches out for suggestions on coping with the lack of electricity. I share tips, practices, and perspective gained over years. Most of those are fairly practical, some of them are not helpful unless available in advance… still, it’s often helpful simply to “be there” for someone feeling anxious, so I did my best. 🙂 Then, I found myself reflecting on my own general “preparedness” for such emergencies in life…

  1. Big bag of tea lights for lighting the darkness? Yep. I’ve got those.
  2. A supply of safe drinking water? Yep. Just in case.
  3. Non-perishable snacks and camping food that can be prepared without cooking (or just boiling water)? Definitely; I try to stay “ready to camp”.
  4. Some way to boil water safely? Yep. Jet-Boil is handy. There are others. (And it won’t matter, anyway, if there’s no fuel for that stove…)
  5. Adequate canned fuel for the camping stove. (I’ve got that, too.)
  6. A lighter can be very handy. I have a couple around. (Matches, too.)
  7. Something to do besides doomscrolling and feed-checking? Books, board games, decks of cards… yep. On hand, always. 😀 (And it’s a good thing, too, since batteries have a finite charge!)
  8. Back up power? This one is tricky… an assortment of power bricks, charged, are available, so we’re good for sufficient power to check email, make phone calls, and provide limited connectivity for a short while. Better than nothing. Having a small generator would be cool… that’s a very different level of preparedness, and I’m not there yet. lol

Now… all that is well and good and super helpful… but only if I can find it in the dark. Can I? Hmmm… generally, yes. We moved recently, though, and I realize when I think it over as a potential crisis scenario; I can’t find the camping food/gear in my head with the specificity I’d need to go directly to it in the darkness. I know it is “in the garage” – which is my Traveling Partner’s wood shop, also (and which has an ever-changing purpose-driven arrangement of tools and work space, by design). Daylight means I would not need to stress over this detail; I can just open the garage door and see what I’m doing… but if I had to find my Jet-Boil stove in the darkness? I don’t think I could, right now. It’s a small detail, but one that reminds me that moving in, for me, is a fairly lasting process of many weeks – and I’m not “there” yet. I can’t find everything in the dark, yet.

I sip my coffee and think about power, powerlessness, and feeling prepared for life, generally. I could do better, I can see that. 🙂 I make some notes to myself.

It’s time to begin again. 😀

It’s funny how a long-held dream or goal sometimes unfolds very differently than I imagined it might. House in the country? Check. Well… I mean… it’s well away from the city, and there is a large-ish farm across the road… The house itself? It’s in a small suburban neighborhood at the edge of a small town. lol It’s not exactly “rural” in m most respects, and quite convenient – even rather “walkable” (although the country lane that runs between our neighborhood and the farm on the other side is perhaps less than ideal for walking; it’s a busy road, and narrow in spots).

I’m not complaining. I love this little house. I love the view from the deck. The house manages to be both larger than I thought I could afford, and much smaller than I thought I might want. lol There’s a lot of that sort of thing cropping up as dreams become realities. It’s a bit like a chapter in Alice in Wonderland. How lovely, though, that generally the translations of my dreams into reality have been so much more likely to be a pleasant surprise instead of a disappointment, these days. (I’ll note that I don’t think this reflects a change in “the way things turn out” as much as it reflects a change in my perspective on things and ways, generally.)

That gets me thinking about books I got over the Giftmas holiday that I haven’t yet finished, and other books I’d also like to read. I think about a favorite bookstore, and wonder when the pandemic will really end? I do miss a bit of proper shopping. 🙂 Today will be a good day to read, too.

Similarly, my anticipated “regular local mile” – which I figured would likely be right here in my own neighborhood (and that has been a frequent walk) – turns out to be nearby, but still about a 10-minute drive or so… and about 5 miles away. It’s a lovely forested walk. There is a 1-mile loop, and a 1/2-mile loop. It’s the sort of lush bit of forest that I love, and the trail carries me up and down the hills, and over a creek a couple times, and around and through the forest until it returns to the trailhead. It’s quite lovely. I’ll probably go there often. I went yesterday. I’m planning to go today – I may do both loops (I like it that much).

Yesterday the approach to the trailhead was quite foggy when I got started.

It’s a good season for walking and reflecting, at least here in the Pacific Northwest, in this area where winter’s are generally relatively mild. (Maybe snow or ice later in January, or in February?) I enjoy the walking for more than fitness; I find that it “clears my head” and gives me literal “breathing room” for sorting things out and “gazing inward” while I enjoy the scenery along the trail. Taking pictures helps keep me grounded and anchored to “now”, as I walk. (I don’t do well stuck in my head.)

It was a beautiful misty morning for a walk.

I remind myself to run an errand on the way back from my walk this morning. I mean… for sure, that’s convenient, why not? I hope I still remember when the time comes… lol

The Vine Maples and Big Leaf Maples extend their bare branches, but without their leaves, I can see almost all the way across the park from a high vantage point on one side.

The muddy trails don’t fret me. They are still passable and fairly safe, and I always bring my cane for trail walking or hiking. I love the tangles of branches, the morning mist, and the puddles reflecting the sky.

Lovely little city park. It’s enough. 🙂 More than enough.

I sip my coffee and look over yesterday’s pictures. They distract me from the pain in my neck, which is quite a feat. I smile and sip my coffee, feeling wholly content and satisfied with this moment, right here. I think of my Traveling Partner, hearing him move about in the other room. I’ll invite him to go walking with me. He’ll look out at the chilly gray rather rainy looking day, and smile and say “No, thank you.”

My partner appears in the doorway as if I’d called to him, just as I begin to turn my chair to go ask if he’d like to go walking with me. He looks apologetic, kind, and very serious. “You may want to just avoid me today,” he says in that loving apologetic tone I know so well, “I just hurt that much, and I don’t want to treat you badly or take it out on you at all.” I nod. I let him know I understand and that I’m okay with that; I hurt too. It’s not an ideal combination of humans-in-pain, sometimes. We take our best care of each other, some days, by alerting the other we’re not fit companionship, at all, and making room to love each other with a little space between us. It’s a much better practice than some I’ve seen, and it works for us. No hurt feelings. Clear expectations.

So…a quiet Sunday, a walk, some housekeeping, laundry, and I’ll probably bake cookies and bars for the week, too. Before any of that? I’ll have to begin again. 😀