Summer & the Living is Hot & Easy

Being on the move in the summer can be fun, frustrating and hot. So far I have avoided the frustrating, but I am not able to avoid the fun and hot part.

Kolob Area of Zion National Park

The west this summer is experiencing extremely high temperatures earlier than usual. When I arrived in Southern Utah the third week of June it was already reaching the “100’s” in Fahrenheit. I was fortunate to be able to plug into shore power (using the electricity from my friend’s home). It gave me access to my air conditioner so I could be comfortable sleeping at night.

Willis Carrier

I have decided that Willis Carrier, the inventor of air conditioning really needs to be recognized and honored. God bless that man’s genius. I have been south and now am making my way back to the northwest. Everywhere I have been it has been “Hot”. Being in the low 90’s and the low 100’s has been common. And there is no rain in site.

I spent two days on Utah Lake south of Salt Lake City. It is a large, shallow fresh water lake. The state park campground is lovely. I secured a campsite next to the lake and enjoyed the beautiful sunsets each evening. I also was able to launch my kayak and kayak on the lake and up the Provo River.

Utah Lake

What do I do when it is hot? How do I maintain my sweet little home on wheels in this heat?

  • If I am active, I will either get up early or wait until later in the evening to be physical. Early morning kayaks or bike rides are a great time to see animals. This was even more important when I was traveling with Elsie.
  • Siesta time is in the middle of the day. This is my time to read or work on the business of my life (balancing the checkbook, etc).
  • I prepare my rig for the heat of summer or the cold of winter.
Reflectix
  • Reflectix is my friend. Reflectix is a reflective insulation that looks like silver bubble wrap. It’s commonly used in attics as insulation. It reflects heat. I have a Reflectix type of material for each of my windows in the van. When it is going towards hot or cold, weatherwise, Reflectix goes in each window. It is amazing how much that will keep the interior cool.
  • On hot days if I turn my Superfan on and with the windows shielded from the heat the temperature maintains at a very comfortable level.
  • My awning is opened, allowing less direct sun to reach the RV.
  • The back of the refrigerator is facing the outside of my van. I try to park the rig so the side of the van is shaded from the heat of the day. I am not always able to park it how I wish so creating a shade of awning to protect the refrigerator from the sun.
  • After the heat of the day is over, I open the windows and doors and let the cooler air in.
  • When all else fails it is time to visit friends or find a hotel room. I have never needed a hotel room. I am always thankful for my friends. They greet me with open arms and share what they can and it is always more than enough.

Now that I have the rig ready for the extremes, what do I do to enjoy the lazy days of summer? Summer is a time for fun and joy. I find it kayaking, biking, hiking and walking, and being with friends. Currently, I am in Boise, Idaho, staying with very good friends in an air-conditioned house. With the temperature above 100 degrees most days I am truly enjoying my situation. Steve tries to get Linda (his wife) and me to go for walks at all times of the day. He is not successful and has to wait until 8 pm or later to urge us out of the house.

The Greenbelt

Yesterday I took a 17.5 mile bike ride along the Greenbelt of the Boise River. I started at 8:30 am and was done by 10 am. The Greenbelt is one of my favorite bike rides. It is relatively flat and is shaded and cool in the early morning hours. The full length of the Greenbelt is 25+ miles. The majority of the ride follows the River. There are opportunities to see all kinds of wildlife, although I have only seen deer and ducks.

Continuing the trend of an active day, in the afternoon, Linda and I decided to tube the Boise River along with many, many others. After the first emersion, the water was comfortable. We drifted along the shallow river. It took us approximately three hours to float the 7.2-mile distance. There were a few tiny tiny rapids that still caused me to gasp as the water washed over us.

Biking in the cool of the day, rafting the river in the afternoon, and walking later in the evening are a few examples of how I choose to spend the warm summer days. As I continue my return to the Northwest I am sure that I will discover more ways to enjoy these warm days. Meanwhile, maybe I will pick up a good book or take a nap.

Yes, the living can be easy on these warm summer days.

Open Arms

My friend, Sharon’s birthday was a success. It was rather warm when I arrived in Rockville, Utah, 105 degrees F. Whoa, that is more than hot. I know, I know, it’s a dry heat—yet I believe anything over 90 degrees is hot.

I am always delighted to connect with this family. Tori, Sharon’s daughter, and I have not seen each other in many years. It was fun to reconnect with her. It was almost like we had never been apart. This is family. Everyone goes their own way as they grow into adulthood yet when they have reunited once again, everyone picks up where they left off. I am honored to be even a distant part of this family.

The day of the party started out hot, yet as the time for the party drew close the clouds came in, there was rain and then it was cool and lovely to be outside under a pavilion to celebrate this 90-year event. There was music and food and greetings of friends who, due to Covid, may have not seen each other in a while. A chair was set at the entrance for Sharon to sit in and greet and be greeted by the revelers. My favorite photos are of Sharon reaching out with open arms to greet each guest as they arrived.

There is delight and warmth and welcome in those open arms. These arms are not just to greet those with like minds and like ideals. These are truly the open arms of embracing community. Not all the people at Sharon’s birthday party believe like her. Not all of them voted one way. Not all of them are intimate in friendship with each other. Yet, in this small town, population of approximately 245, there is a sense of community that is often lost in larger urban settings. They know that they have to get along to some degree to make their small town work. During Covid, they knew they had to rely on each other to make their sheltering in place work. Smaller towns recognize the need for a sense of community. It is a survival mechanism.

Over the past several years I believe that we as a nation have withdrawn into our familiars. We have forgotten how to reach out to each other and embrace despite differences in religion, political beliefs, the color of one’s skin, and more. Embracing differences may be more work but the rewards are, well, more rewarding. Community can only work if we embrace everyone.

Covid, or “The Great Pause”, I believe has offered an opportunity for people to function as a richer community. People have been reaching out, helping others. I have been the recipient of others’ embraces. I was welcomed by friends to stay with them for the greater part of last year. Our friendship has strengthened and we have become family. Others have opened their homes for me. Strangers have left supplies at my door. People have phoned or emailed to make sure this solo person was doing fine.

If I take the time to reach out to those that believe or do things differently, my life will be richer and fuller. I will learn new things and expand the world that I live in. I want to know that I don’t have to be stuck. I want to know that my arms can always reach out and embrace the new, the unknown. I also want to recognize when other arms are reaching towards me. Part of healing the divide of this nation, at the moment, may be remembering to open our arms and embrace everyone.

I am slowly returning to the Northwest. I am keeping my arms wide open to embrace people and experiences and remember this valuable lesson.

Saying Farewell

After two and a half months, today, I leave Whidbey Island. I am certainly leaving with mixed emotions. For those of you who have not been here, this place is amazing. And…while many of you are suffering in heat…it has been in the low seventies and beautiful here.

Each day Puget Sound sparkles below me. The Olympic Range shows in the distance. It is so relaxing and comfortable here. The sunsets continue to be amazing. I keep telling myself I do not need to take more photos of sunsets and each evening I, once again, will be out on the deck with my camera. I have enjoyed the opportunity to walk the beaches, kayak the lakes, and Sound and bike the byways.

Every day I see Mama deer walk through the yard with their fawns wandering behind. Yesterday I found a fawn laying and hiding in a flowerbed by the rig. We kept startling each other.

The sweet little sparrow still comes around every day. He sings at the windows and doors. I have tried to alienate him a bit but he is quite persistent. I was reading recently that young birds can attach themselves to humans. As they grow they will leave this attachment behind. I keep telling him I am leaving so hopefully he picks up on this vibe.

Yesterday I was over at the neighbors house visiting and saying farewell. I had left the front door open as I had been going in and out frequently. On my return to the house guess who was in the house? You guessed it. That little bird had taken the opportunity to check out my digs or to find his buddy. He was not happy because, of course, he could not figure out how to get back out. Ay Yi Yi. He did find his way out again with a little encouragement from me.

I will miss the water life. I will return. I love the north country in the summer. It is usually too hot to stay south for too long. I do look forward to visiting with family and friends that I have put off seeing due to covid. I am looking forward to the company on the thousand-mile drive south. All of it will be fun and a wonderful adventure. Yet I will look at all my photos with longing.

I feel so blessed by the people I have come to know since Jim’s death. I had no idea that buying my Roadtrek would open me to so many new and wonderful adventures. I had no idea I would meet and become friends with so many good and kind people. I had no idea I would be house sitting on Whidbey Island.

I am grateful that I have been able to stretch and reach beyond my comfort zone to embrace and live an unusual lifestyle. It has become quite the adventure.

Enduring Friendships-Getting Ready…

Have you ever had friends for what seems like a lifetime? I have.

I first met the Hatfield family as a young girl. My two older sisters and I babysat their three children. I was around twelve when I first joined the cue of available babysitters. On longer than one day assignments I would join a sister and take on the Hatfield kids. They were wonderful and very rambunctious children and it often would take two of us to actively babysit for them.

As we grew up the Hatfield family moved away. First, they moved to downtown Wilmington, Delaware (I grew up in the suburbs), and then halfway across the country.

As we, my sisters, and I grew up we got active in our own lives, and eventually, we lost touch with the family, except for the catch-up Christmas Cards every year.

Fast forward to 1975. I became a Vista Volunteer in northwestern Wisconsin. As the only nurse in the local program, I was sent for special training for disaster emergencies. I went to Milwaukee for a two-day training session. I knew the Hatfields lived nearby in Mequon, thanks be for Christmas Cards with return addresses. On a whim, I called them, and at the end of my training, now as a young adult woman, I reestablished my friendship with them.

It has been a blessing, profound and wonderful as I established a friendship with all of them that has endured over the years. They have loved and supported me unconditionally. Sharon, the mom, has been my mentor, teacher, astrologer, friend and so much more. In many ways, she has helped me shape my life. When I think of Sharon and her family my heart is full. 

When we were still babysitting for the kids, Sharon was an early example of an independent, strong, honest, and loving woman. We thought she was cool because she worked for Planned Parenthood, played the guitar, and had all the Joan Baez and Bob Dylan albums. For a mom in the 60’s she was cool. She was outspoken and voiced her opinions and beliefs without hesitation. As I look back to this early connection I realize now that she was shaping my life, even then.

Eventually, we met up, again, in Minnesota. I lived in the Twin Cities and they lived in Marine on St Croix, east of the cities. I would go visit when I needed to talk to someone. I would go visit when I needed to feel love. I would go visit and housesit while Sharon and David (her husband) traveled the western part of the USA. David was a hospital administrator and with his help and support, I was able to get a job at St Paul Children’s Hospital. Specialty jobs were hard to come by for nurses at that moment in time.

After a few more moves around the country, Sharon and David retired to Rockville, Utah, just outside the west entrance of Zion National Park. The “kids” were grown and had established themselves in different parts of the country.

Over the years all the kids and I have stayed in touch, at least through Facebook.

So why am I telling you this? My friend Sharon is celebrating her ninetieth birthday on June 23rd. They are having a party in the park in Rockville. Friends and family are coming to celebrate this milestone. Truly I think everyone is coming because they love her. She has shaped many lives with her honest and giving nature.

When I first received an invitation to join the celebration I said no. It is a thousand-mile drive and blah, blah, blah. Then I stopped and thought if this was eight years ago and I had just bought this rig, would I hesitate to go? Well, No. I would hop in my rig and hit the road.

I changed my mind. On June Ninteenth I am on the road. I head south and east. First stop, Pendleton Oregon, where I will join David Jr and his daughter and we will convoy to southern Utah. I am as excited about this meet-up as I am about the party. David is Sharon’s oldest son. We have had our own adventures over the years, getting stuck in a blizzard in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, northern Minnesota in the middle of the winter being one of them. He helped outfit me for my first backpack and along with a friend from Vermont introduced me to hiking and camping the backcountry. I could go on but I will not.

I am telling you, this family has helped shaped my life.

We will head south in my rig and his car. His daughter Taylor Rose will ride between the two vehicles and keep everyone company. I will have time to catch up with them as we stop to rest and spend one night at a hotel. Them in a room and me in my rig.

As the time draws closer (8 days today) I am getting excited to have a new adventure to head towards. My rig is ready. My refrigerator is ready and I too am ready.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of people as I have been pretty secluded over the last year and a half. It is good to have my RV, If peopleing is too much for me I can disappear into my very own space and even shut the door. The party is set up for social distancing and I am sure the mask will come out. This is the first chance I have really taken in a long time Yet, How Could I Miss This Celebration.

Adventure awaits and I am going to embrace it. Adventure awaits and I am walking into it with my arms and heart wide open. Adventure awaits and I look forward with excitement and love to seeing Sharon and her family again.

It is Exciting. Life is An Adventure.

Feeling a Sense of Accomplishment

There are times in my life that I get frustrated with the everyday world. I would like everything to run smoothly and efficiently without any attention from me. This is not how my normal everyday works. I bet it is not how yours works, either.

When I first got my rig I decided upfront that I was going to hire someone to do any needed repairs. That type of thinking did not last long. Before I knew it I was under the rig, in the engine, and fixing anything that might have needed fixing. I am, after all, my father’s daughter. My two sisters are my father’s daughters as well.

I am not the most gentle of RVers. I travel on dirt roads and small country roads. I don’t particularly like freeway or highway driving. At least once a year I go through my rig and tighten screws, replacing them if need be. It is good to do home checks.

My refrigerator in my RV is a little workhorse. And I mean “little”. It has seen wear over time. It has been jostled. It has been filled to the hilt. More than a year ago the door started to show some issues. I decided that while I was stationary I was going to work on it.

It was not easy work. It required new tools, new thoughts, and ideas. My door was sliding off the bottom pin. Although it would close I could never guarantee that when I opened it that it wouldn’t slide off the pin. Thanks to J&B Weld and my trusty Dremel tool I created new holes to support the pins.

Of course while I was working on that I decided to buy some contact wall paper and add it to the front door panel so that it would look spiffy. It covers the dents and scratches and looks brand new.

Of course, as I was finishing that project I discovered that my door latch no longer worked. After perusing the YouTube Videos I discovered what needed to be done. In the process, I broke some of the plastic and finally bought a new latch. The latch that came out so easy did not go back in that way. I contacted my favorite everything Roadtrek person and with the help and encouragement of Campskunk, my latch is now in place and my refrigerator door has the sweetest click.

The Workhorse is Back.

When I tackle projects, such as this, I feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride. I am glad I can ask for help and ideas. I am glad when it all works out. I am glad my door won’t come off. I am really glad I have a snazzy refrigerator that is ready to take on the next road trip. Yep it is an afternoon of feeling good.

On to the next project.

The Magic of Friendship

I love nature. There is nothing more soothing to me than venturing out into the forests, beaches or deserts. I love nature. I am a birder and love watching all the wonderful birds I see when I am out with or without my camera. I love watching animals big and small. And, Oh the flowers. Nature keeps me happy and whole even when I don’t feel one hundred percent.

There are many different types of birds in Washington where I am currently residing. I have seen Black-Headed Grosbeaks, Western Tanagers, Rufous Hummingbirds, Northern Pintails (ducks), Gadwalls and so much more.

I failed to mention Eagles, because they are everywhere. I see them almost daily, in flight, on the beach, and in the trees. I even met one up close when I was looking at that tiny little spot way out in the water. I almost walked into it as it was sitting on the beach directly in front of me. Birding is fun here. Birding is fun everywhere.

Young Eagle

There are moments in my life, in your life, when magic happens in nature. If it is large enough we see it and delight in it. Some magic moments are more frightening and overwhelming. If we live through it, we will grow and become more confident and strong. Some moments are quiet and small with great impact.

Approximately two weeks ago I was sitting on the deck when I heard the most beautiful bird song. I pulled out my bird app and was finally able to deduce that it was a song sparrow. On my app, there is a section that lets one hear how the bird sounds. I played it and sure enough, it was a song sparrow. When this little guy heard the sound he flew to the deck and warbled away.

I have ceased playing the sounds yet he comes and finds me several times a day and sings his tune. If I am inside he stands on the back of the deck chairs and looks in and sings. If I move to the other side of the yard he finds me. He has sat on my feet and knees and arms, shoulders and head. I think he is in serious like with me.

I have learned a bit about song sparrows. They can sing at least twenty-four different songs and produce variations of the songs. They often will learn songs of neighboring birds. Unlike other songbirds, they tend to repeat their song several times before moving onto another variation. They are mostly ground birds bouncing in and out of the nearby bushes. One time He was sitting on a pole that is supporting deer fencing. He quickly looked down, flew to the fence and just like that he nabbed a moth. I did not even see the moth until he picked it up and swallowed it.

When I go out and visit with him I sit quietly and talk softly with him. It has been interesting to watch his progress in identifying where it is safe for him to go. When he first decided to try my arm he would fly onto the arm and immediately pop off again. Each time he tried he stayed longer. If I did a sudden movement he would immediately go to a nearby fence. He did this same type of testing with my knees, shoulders and now head. Although he still does this when I first go outside the time has shortened.

This behavior is no different than when people meet other people or move into a new environment. Don’t we often test people? Or I should say, wouldn’t this be a good idea? As children grow they test the world around them all the time. This is how we learned some basics of life, such as not to touch a hot stove burner. Hopefully we have all learned this. It is through testing out the options that we find our friends and our true family. It is often why some friendships are short and others last the test of time.

I am pleased to have met this little fellow. I feel honored that he has picked me for a friendship, although I do tell him he needs to go meet other girl sparrows.

He has reminded me to practice patience. It takes time to welcome others into my life. I take time each day to sit quietly with him. I use this time to sit and observe nature in my immediate surroundings, listen to the birds and watch what is going on out on the Sound. And I breath. Always I breath.

He has certainly added a bit of joy to my stay on Whidbey Island.

Today I am thankful for magic, trust and nature and one little brown bird.

A Change in Attitude

Monday I went in search for rhubarb. Did you know that Washington State is a prime producer of rhubarb? I did not know this but as I drive or bike around the island I have noticed the Rhubarb for Sale signs at the end of driveways. I love rhubarb. This rhubarb search started because of a recipe published in the New York Times for Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Cobbler. There is rhubarb growing where I am house sitting but not enough.

I have been feeling a bit lonely and out of sorts for the past few days. I have been feeling sorry for myself. I find it hard to be solo in a society that favors couples and relationships. This is not my world. I am not sure what my world should be. Covid has made me even more confused and lost. This was my mood as I ventured off to find rhubarb.

My day changed. My attitude shifted.

My first stop was a farm stand with a coffee stand, produce and plants for the garden. The two women behind the coffee cart helped me weigh out the rhubarb. We chatted and laughed. I ordered a cup of coffee and then discovered this was a brand new enterprise, having only been open for two days. We talked about living in an RV and house sitting. They were so kind and helpful and my attitude shifted with this momentary conversation and feeling of worthiness. Happily with rhubarb in hand, I departed.

My mini-aventure in happiness and self worth continued.

I am having a major issue with my refrigerator door. It kind of fell off because of broken plastic parts that have worn with time. Buying a new door is expensive. I am a do it myself kind of woman and I have decided that I want to try to fix it. I have been studying this door and thinking. Today since I was near Home Depot I thought I would walk in with my door in hand and ask some of the experts.

I was standing in the aisle with all the nuts and bolts and doing the Home Depot stare. The stare was something I learned from Jim and I often notice it on people, especially men in these kind of stores. Now I do it too.

This man in an orange top was walking down the aisle. I assumed he was an employee. I stopped him and started to ask for his help. He said he was busy and left. A few minutes later he returned and asks me about the door. I showed it to him and explained the problem. I need to figure out some way to secure the door and replace or fix the broken parts. He looked at it for a few minutes and came up with a suggestion. The first idea didn’t pan out so we started talking it through again and he came up with a great idea and even better, one I can do myself.

I took a close look at him and realized he was not wearing a Home Depot employee vest or work uniform. He had an orange safety vest on. I said to him “you don’t work here do you?”. He smiled and said no. He works contract for the military in Oak Harbor. He said that people often mistake him for a employee of Home Depot as he frequents the store as part of his job. Sean and I had a great conversation and he figured out a solution to the issue at hand. He made my day. I was so surprised that he came back to help me. The smallest interactions sometimes offer the greatest rewards.

I now have a plan and hopefully the door will be fixed within the week.

Since I was in Oak Harbor and had not really visited this part of the Island I looked at a map and figured out how to take the backroads close to the west side of the Island on my return Greenbank. I discovered Joseph Whidbey State Park. Every State Park I have been to in Washington is very pretty. This park did not disappoint. I hiked a short trail to the beach and started to stroll up the beach. As I walked by a family, two adults and two children, the woman got up, with mask in place and asked me if I was looking for agates. They proceeded to show me all the agates they had found and told me it was a hobby that everyone enjoyed. She guaranteed that I would find some. Well she was wrong, however, I was given the gift of another momentary interaction that made me feel unique and worthy.

Searching for Agates

I have my rhubarb and a plan of action for my refrigerator door repair. I certainly have a much better attitude and outlook than when I left home this morning. Sometimes the smallest interactions are the mightiest. I came home feeling happy after a fun-filled day of small interactions with other people. My self worth had increased and I currently find no traces of my morning attitude. It helped to be out in nature for part of the day. I saw some new birds which is always exciting. I have also discovered another park that I would like to go back and explore more. Maybe I will find an agate.

Today I am thankful for the unseen guidance that puts me in the right place to receive what I need at this moment in time. Today I am grateful for all the tiny moments given to me by others to brighten my day and my awareness. Today I am Thankful.

Continuing the Tradition of Afternoon Drives

When I was growing up I lived with my two sisters, mom and dad, and at one point, three grandparents. We were a busy family and because my grandparents needed help and care we very rarely went on vacation. On some Sunday afternoons, we went on a drive with my mom and dad. We would wander the back roads of Delaware and Pennsylvania, looking at homes and enjoying the wildness of the the back-roads.

I remember looking out the windows at the pretty trees and fields. Sometimes we would stop to visit people my parents knew but usually, we just drove and looked out the windows. I saw farm animals, deer, bunnies, and more. My father had a natural curiosity about the world outside the windows of our car, and house. If we met people along the way, it was not unusual for my parents to get into a conversation with those we met. We learned unique and interesting facts about people’s lives and the areas where they lived. Sometimes we were directed to unique and interesting attractions.

I bet my sisters, like me, remember those afternoon drives. Not only was it magical seeing different places and meeting other people but it was also important family time. There were no grandparents with us and we were able to enjoy family time. The three of us were not always on our best behavior. Sometimes we got bored. Yet all these years later we remember those drives.

Common Crane

I love to drive. I enjoy getting behind the wheel of my sweet little home on wheels and go explore the byways of where ever I am. Two days ago I took a drive. Actually, I was looking for a Common Sandhill Crane that had gotten lost and strayed into unfamiliar territory. I am a birder and I decided it would be an adventure to meet up with other birders. I never saw the crane or any other birders. I did have a very magical afternoon. It would have been a drive my father would have loved.

Deception Pass

There are three points of entry or exit from Whidbey Island. Two are by ferry and the third is north through Deception Pass, crossing a bridge to the mainland. Two days ago this was my exit from Whidbey Island. I went north and east to small towns among the farmland. I never found the crane. Darn.

drive
Chuckanut Drive

I did, however, find the town of Bow and Edison and Chuckanut Drive. The Drive was the most amazing part of the day. It is 24 miles of twisting and winding road riding above the Skagit Flats and bay. I drove through the Blanchard National forest, with the water to the left and beautiful firs and green to the right and all around me.

I paused my ride to visit Larabee State Park, one of the first state parks in Washington. This week has been one of very low and very high tides. I arrived at Larabee State Beach at low tide. As I clambered over the rocks to the shore line I met Shawn. She teaches Marine Biology at one of the local community colleges. She and another woman were exploring the tide pools. I joined in. I was welcomed without hesitation. There are people who are natural born teachers and Shawn is one of them. I saw things that I would have passed over if I had been on my own. The tide pools truly came alive for me.

After spending a couple hours on the beach I returned to my rig and began the return drive over Chuckanut Drive. But, wait my drive was not over yet. I continued to meander my way through the backroads, discovering a wonderful Bakery in Bow before moving on to the end of the road in the town of Samish.

I ended the day at Deception Pass State Park. I hiked out to get a view of the bridge and see the waters that flow through the pass. Ah, I discovered a lake that I have since returned for kayaking. After driving to the other side of park to see the other side of the pass I began the trek home.

Kayaking on Cranberry Lake

It was a successful driving and meandering day. It certainly would have been on my dad’s list of afternoon drives. I guess I truly am my father’s daughter. I love finding the unique and special everywhere I travel. Maybe the locals know about these places but for me they are a joy and wonder to discover and explore.

Continuing with the driving tradition, tomorrow I am off to the Olympic Peninsula to explore and wander more beaches and maybe check out a few mountains. It is time to explore and camp.

Today I am thankful for a father who gave me the sense of adventure.

Exploring Without & Within

Wow, I have been on the Island for close to a month. Where does the time go? What have I been doing?

I have been enjoying my time here. The place I am staying is definitely a home. I have felt welcomed and comfortable. I keep thinking I will get tired of the sunsets, yet each time I see one, I am amazed again. Almost everywhere I wander I meet up with eagles. They still thrill me when I see them.

I have been told by my neighbors and the locals that this past week has been highly unusual for Whidbey Island. It has been sunny, warm and beautiful. I have had ample time to find hiking trails and beaches to walk on. I have finally gotten my bicycle out and took a hilly ride near where I live. And today it is raining, a soft quiet female rain.

Although I have been completely vaccinated I have been trying to figure out what is next. I am very wary of being around people. I am concerned about interacting at a close range with others. A few days ago there was an article in the New York Times “The U.S. Is Opening Up. For the Anxious, That Comes With a Cost”. It was an interesting article Parts of it rang true for me.

When does necessity become a habit? If it is a habit and it is not quite as necessary to be so strict, how do I break this habit or at least loosen up my lifestyle a bit? I really don’t know what the answers are to these questions. I think I will need to continue to take baby steps. I have moved into a loose bubble with my neighbors Robyn & Tom. We have all been vaccinated. I enjoy their company. They are more comfortable with moving back towards a new normal. Sometimes they take me along.

I have now been out to dinner once in an inside restaurant with a great view of the Port Townsend Ferry. The tables were socially distanced, and had high backs. Everyone was wearing their masks appropriately. It felt safe and it was fun to be out and about. Would I do this very often? No, I prefer outside dining or takeout.

Friday night I went to the movies with these same neighbors. There is a small old theater in the town of Langley. The Clyde theater has been owned by the same family for years and everyone knows each other. To encourage people to return to their movie theater, they have been careful. Every other row was roped off. If you were in a party of three or more you had a row to yourselves. There were less than thirty people in the theater. It was fun and felt like an adventure. They now have a Saturday matinee for fully vaccinated people. Would I do this type of activity often? No, yet it was a step in the right direction for me. The movie was Nomadland.

Company has been arriving on my doorstep. My friend Melissa who lives in Seattle is taking full advantage of our close proximity. On the first visit, we introduced our germs to each other, sitting on the deck, sans mask, and walking the beaches. At the end of the day, she returned to Seattle. Since then we have enjoyed each other’s company in my current home twice more. We have known each other since the mid-seventies and we have a lot of catching up to do. What makes it even more fun is that she is active and we have been hiking and kayaking together. I am enjoying her company.

Pat, another northwestern US friend has also come for a visit. She lives on San Juan Island so we are not too far apart. I met her at the Mt Vernon Tulip Festival and had a marvelous time. Then she returned to my house for a few nights. We spent one whole day sitting on the back deck, talking, bird watching and definitely catching up on our lives. I have written about Pat before. She diverted her trip in November 2019 to come and give me support after my sweet Elsie the Cat disappeared. A true friend indeed.

This coming month I am planning to adventure out a little more. It is time to explore further than the island boundaries. I am hoping to spend a few nights on the Olympic Peninsula. It is time to spread my wings. It is time to remind myself to trust science, to trust the vaccines I have received. It is time to dip my toe in the water realistically and practically. It is time to enjoy each day, be grateful for life and maybe reach a little beyond my current comfort range.