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.

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.