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.