What already exists immediately around us is more important than all of our anxieties about what’s not there yet. The imperfection of reality is perfect.
~ Kyle Chayka
Rivers, oceans, forests, mountains, earth, and rocks are all our body. To protect the living environment is also to protect ourselves.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
It seems a lot has been happening since my last post. A lot happening in the world, in life, and even here, with me. On the other hand, it also feels as if little has changed. Do you think that’s just the way of life? The more things change, the more they stay the same?
I’m beginning to think that’s a Truth.
two three weeks since our hike in some of the backcountry of Assateague Island. I thought I’d get around to posting about it before now. Life has kept me busy, but not that busy. I sometimes think I don’t have anything to say. That’s not true, either. What is true is that I don’t like to share my fears. Fear, it seems, spreads more rapidly than a virus.
As you can see, we had a beautiful, blue-sky day for our hike. It was a little chilly (in the 40’s, F), but the winds were light to almost non-existent. I overdressed, as usual, and had to remove a few layers as we hiked. I think it was one of the stillest days I’ve experienced on Assateague during the winter months.
The dead trees we encountered as we got closer to the bay reminded me of trees we’d seen in California, about twelve years ago, after fire had moved through the area. Let me show you what I mean:
The difference, of course, is obvious in the charred, blistered, and blackened bark on the trees in California. As we hiked through the area of dead trees on Assateague, I couldn’t help but notice how dry it was out there and think that one strike of lightning (or a carelessly discarded lit cigarette butt) might cause quite a fire. I also thought about how we might get a strike of our own, on the head, from branches or trees falling. I did see one tree, off a little ways, fall.
We saw evidence of horses (plenty of poop and prints) but no horses while we were hiking. We did see some later, after we left the backcountry and the beach.
We did not see another soul. We heard a few birds here and there, heard and saw a few splashes in the water (turtles or frogs would be my guess), but mostly, it was quiet. Not even the usually ever-present, underlying, hum of the wind could be heard. I’ve gotten so used to that sound that it feels odd to me when it’s missing.
As I sort through the photos I took, I realize how fascinated I was with the standing bones of the trees. There were so many different shapes and sizes. I’ll spare you. There really are far too many images of them. I will go back through them someday and do a little culling. Or printing of those I really like.
I’ve been on and off working on this post for a while, as you’ve probably already noted. We’re pretty much in the midst of self-isolation now so there will be plenty of time to sort through photos, write blog posts, and visit other blogs, if I so desire. Plenty of time to direct my mind and attention Elsewhere because the news cycle is a culture of fear at this point and fear is not going to do anyone any good.
Two weeks ago, we were up in Philadelphia with my father. He’s 88 years old and had never been to hear a symphony orchestra play. He told me that after I mentioned going to the Kennedy Center, way back in January (it does seem so long ago, now). We jumped right on it and ordered tickets for the Philadelphia Orchestra. By the time the day arrived, there were already murmurings about Covid-19 and I was already telling people that it was time to stay home. I felt a little like Kassandra from Greek mythology. Nobody thought it was something to take too seriously. So, we went to Philadelphia, had lunch there, enjoyed the concert, and then spent the evening with my father and his friend, cooking a crabcake dinner for them. (My father loves crabcakes and the Eastern Shore is the place to get them. We took some up with us, along with a bunch of side dishes.) It was lovely and I’m glad we went. It was surprising, at the time, how many empty seats there were at the concert. That probably worked to our advantage in terms of social distancing.
I worried, a little, about my father, but it was also his decision to go. We talked about it before we left for the concert. I heard from him yesterday. He’s fine. His friend is fine. Everyone in my family up that way is fine. We didn’t catch anything, either, from that trip. Not even the common cold. Probably because we already practice good hygiene and do a lot of hand washing when we’re out and about, especially during cold and flu season. It’s the sensible thing to do.
M the Younger, his wife, and the boys are going through another round of the flu. Or, as he put it, it could be this new plague but they will probably never know due to the lack of testing. They are all young and healthy, but it has been a rough flu season for them. I hope whatever they’ve caught passes quickly and that all viruses leave them alone for a while. Our oldest son and his family are all fine as of this writing. They’ve had their rounds of colds and flu this season, too.
This week, on Wednesday, I had a colonoscopy. It was already scheduled. I wanted to cancel but the folks at the doctor’s office and some of my loved ones insisted I go ahead. It’s probably good that I did, just to get it over with. The prep, by the way, was not the worst part for me. I know lots of people say that’s the worst part, and usually it is. Not this time. The waiting was part of the worst. They were running late. All I wanted was to get it done and get out of there. I was surprised by how lackadaisical the nurses and staff were about the virus. One nurse was shocked to hear they were essentially closing down the local universities, thinking that was a bit drastic. My Kassandra-like persona stepped up and said they should have shut everything down two weeks ago. The nurse thought that was silly.
Well, then. Here we are, schools shut down, events cancelled. And the day after my procedure, the hospital where I had the colonoscopy suddenly got interested in making preparations for the virus. We’ve had months to prepare, as you know. Our government dropped the ball, big time. All that aside, it is amazing how many people are stepping up in a myriad of ways. Let’s look to them, to the helpers, as Mr. Rogers said, and let’s try to be the helpers, in whatever way we can.
(On a somewhat humorous side note, I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from various places about spring cleanses and how they boost your immunity. I don’t know about that, but can say I’ve had my spring cleanse via the prep and the procedure.)
The media shows the tiniest percentage of what people do. There are millions and millions of people doing wonderful things all over the world, and they’re generally not the ones being touted in the news.
~ Fred Rogers
I’m sure that’s enough from me for now. I can’t promise to stay away from writing about current events, but I will try to bring you something to counteract that. A little beauty from the outside, perhaps. Or words that soothe and comfort. As for watching the sunset, let’s meet at the Point. There is rarely anyone out there so social distancing will be easily done. Sunset is scheduled for 7:09 PM. It’s warm here today, with a high expected of 74°F. It might feel a little chillier by the water. A sweatshirt or a jacket should keep you warm enough.
Be good, be kind, be love. ♥♥♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,256) The helpers in this world. 1,257) Sunrises, sunsets, and all the other colorful gifts we are given from Mother Nature. 1,258) Daffodils beginning to bloom. 1,259) Friends and family. 1,260) You, for your blog, for stopping here to visit, for your friendship.