|Unattributed painting on a birthday card my brother said reminded him of my area|
Today is the third day in a row we have found our air smokeless thanks to a cold front finally bringing some rain and a bit of wind to scour out the air. I've been gratefully back to taking my daily walks after about a month of daily air quality in the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" (that would be me) but mostly higher (red where most should stay in and a doom-like day of about as hazardous as it could get for everyone). I was stunned not long ago to pull up the smoke map and see this was affecting not just northern Idaho and part of eastern Washington but every monitoring station between here and the west coast, red dots even over Portland and Seattle which you would think would be clear so close to the ocean breezes. Turns out that at one point winds had shifted from their normal west to east to the exact opposite, pushing all of our smoke into western Washington and over the Cascades. Winds shifted again, this time from a more northerly direction which brought them smoke from the many fires burning in British Columbia. Just nowhere in a 4 state region (northern California has also been burning up with terrible air quality) to escape. We just all hunkered down and spent as little time as we could out in it. No wonder we have been jumping for joy as the air has cleared, at least for now. Real progress!
|Another birthday card that looks like a scene from city beach|
There's even progress on my shoulder pain front. The physical therapist hit upon another possible source of my shoulder pain and tried some different things, sending me home with a set of exercises to do daily. They have really helped, and every day I realized there are more things I can do, ways I can sit or lie that I couldn't before. Not totally out of the woods yet - I sense there is much more work to be done - but even he is excited to see real change. Not ready to hop on a boat and sail away yet, but feel I'm closer to getting back to my weekly yoga class, and perhaps an easier hike along the lake shore. Can I sit at the sewing machine yet? Haven't tried but don't think so, I'm just excited that I can spend a little time sitting and typing rather than standing at my laptop. And that the numbness is starting to go away in my first two fingers. Tricky trying to pick small things up off the table, I noticed, and wondered how it would be to hold a needle for handwork.
Not much progress though on the recycle bookbinding challenge. I did get some more text copied onto the teabag spreads, using different types of pens in different colors and finding some don't work like I thought they would. And then I just kind of stalled out, knowing that I needed to add more things to the pages and try to make those additions make sense with the theme, but drawing a blank as I stared at what was before me. I think the aching shoulder became the brain's priority and it could care less about those pages. As the pain has lessened, I catch myself having little lightbulb thoughts, remembering things I thought I might do, but knowing some of them might aggravate things, even in short shifts. It will come when it comes.
|Really good German Chocolate cake with Vanilla Ice Cream|
I did have a birthday over the weekend, but between the smoke and the shoulder pain, I had no desire to do anything remotely exciting. It was enough to enjoy the German Chocolate cake I whipped up, have a long phone conversation with one of my brothers, watch motorcycle racing and drink in the well-wishes that came my way.
One of my dear Wisconsin friends sent me a note with the Thoreau quotation which served as a little shot in the arm. Such good advice (I should, I WILL!). And so appropriate were several lines from a longer blessing she included with the card, not knowing how much I needed to hear them as I work through this current physical challenge:
May you discover kernels of wisdom
hidden in unwanted experience.
May you find comfort and consolation
when you are hurting.
May you know the protection
and guidance of your angels.
With the cooler temps and even a maple tree down the street starting to turn color before August is even over, it's hard not to think we were cheated out of summer. With Thoreau on my mind, I was slightly amused to run across another quotation from him echoing this melancholy mood a lot of us are experiencing as our year gets away from us, this recorded August 21, 1852:
"The sound of crickets gradually prevails more and more. I hear the year falling asleep."
Yeah, I too have noticed a change in nature's sounds, and two rather aggressive squirrels have been chasing after birds who might be trying to steal any seeds or nuts they are finding in my lawn. A year later, Thoreau comes across even more morose, though I find his thoughts not unlike my own at times:
"What means this sense of lateness that so comes over one now,—as if the rest of the year were down-hill, and if we had not performed anything before, we should not now? The season of flowers or of promise may be said to be over, and now is the season of fruits; but where is our fruit? The night of the year is approaching. What have we done with our talent? All nature prompts and reproves us. How early in the year it begins to be late! It matters not by how little we have fallen behind; it seems irretrievably late. The year is full of warnings of its shortness, as is life."
Thank goodness I entered this last near-half of the year in a freer mindset than I usually do. Otherwise, this being benched by a cranky shoulder would surely depress me in like manner to Thoreau! Yes, I have that 5 page list mostly languishing, but really, that was just an exercise to purge my mind of all the things that generally clutter it and cause a bit of a panic. Something about relegating it to paper helps me let go of it so it doesn't keep spinning in my head like a gerbil in a wheel, and it's a quick reference for those times I'm standing there wondering just what were all those things I wanted to do. Or, in my current situation, what I might be able to handle as I slowly progress in my recovery. Amazing how easy it is for me to draw a blank or jump from one idea to another and another if it's just in my head. I'm such a visual person. It's easy to scan the list and see how much on there can wait, and what small little thing might be doable. Am staying open to those "kernels of wisdom", some "comfort and consolation" from unexpected places. There's still plenty of year left to enjoy and "produce some fruit".
Well, I've probably overdone it on the keyboard. Time to settle in with some heat on that shoulder!