September musings

I sit here drinking coffee, the morning sun streaming through the window on this beautiful Saturday morning. I am pensive this morning. I read some journal entries from 5 and 6 years ago, which was a time of great personal growth for me, a great time, really. But had this realization that I am a bit stuck right now.

I have a very secure lifestyle. In this strange pandemic time we are in, I have a secure, well-paying job. I have a nice place to live. I have the love of my family, and get to see my grandchildren regularly. I have a wonderful husband, whose job working in another city has made this year even stranger than “just” all the other happenings in the bigger world.

I will be 64 in December. I am at the time of my life when many think of retirement, or have already retired. I don’t want to “retire”. I do want change, though. I am considering taking a travel job assignment, which would take me to new places, new experiences, new people, yet I’d be able to take more time off between assignments.

I am inspired by older people who keep going. In particular, my role models are people in the entertainment industry. “Old” actors who keep acting into their 80’s and 90’s are my new role models. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin didn’t decide they couldn’t take on new projects just because they were past a certain age, for example.

Time to envision the second half of my life. For now, I look forward to a Saturday afternoon riding bikes with children.

Certainly Uncertain

I had kinda decided I was done with this blog. Even made a print book of it, pretty cool.

But I felt a need to write here, for what more uncertain time are we in but now? Covid 19 has changed everything. Remote working for many, stores and restaurants closed except for pick up, many people without paychecks… and no one really knows what will happen next, in spite of the government making moves to “open up the country.”

I feel at loose ends, because I took today off.  I’d really like to go to the beach, get my feet wet, feel the wildness of it. But it is an hour and a half drive, each way, and no guarantee that I could find a beach that is open. So, instead, I have been lounging around in bed with coffee and computer, listening to the birds through the open window.

I am feeling the loneliness of this time. Many people are posting about the trials of working at home and having to care for and/or homeschool their children simultaneously. I know that’s hard, and the thought of it sounds pretty exhausting. But it is also hard to be in long distance relationships, not only with your children and grandchildren, but also with your husband. I’m very thankful for the technology that allows us to see and speak with each other face to face. But it is no substitute for physical presence.

Five weeks ago, I got my hair cut. A week later the hair salons were ordered to close. My husband, 200 miles away, not so fortunate. He is getting pretty shaggy. My coworkers who get their nails done consistently are all au natural. Conversations focus around those type of trials and tribulations. It is the small things that are easier to discuss. Harder to talk about are the people who are dying, and the businesses that will not bounce back.

This year’s high school seniors missed out on prom, and graduation ceremonies are postponed or cancelled. The Class of 2020 will have a different sort of story to tell their children. College students have gone home to study online, and parents are wondering if they will get reimbursed for dorm costs, and some colleges plan to continue with online study only – a wave of the future? Some remote workers will never return to work in an office.

The new normal isn’t just coming, it is here. Some of it will look like the old normal. But this is the beginning of the Age of Aquarius, the ushering in of unity with diversity. The old ways will fall away, they always do, in spite of resistance and the abundance of conspiracy theories. There is often great suffering when great change is happening.

There is a new industry that I expect will be around for a while – Fashion Face Masks. We will see people wearing masks for a very long time. And I, for one, will never shake hands again.

 

Living in the moment – a meditation

My mind is a wanderer, taking me to the past or future.  In this moment, early Saturday morning, I sit on the back porch in the not quite oppressive humidity, listening to the birds, enjoying my coffee and considering going inside because of the occasional mosquito. I close my eyes for a moment, letting my mind go where it will.

I think about the past week at work, the first week since my coworker left so my work load has doubled, and consider alternatives. I miss working at home, yet I do like being out in the world with people. And no matter the challenges of the workday, I leave on time and leave it all behind until the next day, and everything is all right.

I think about the upcoming move, ready for it to happen, yet willing my mind back to this moment – the beauty of the forest of trees behind the back fence, the birds singing, the enjoyment of the coffee, and the love of my husband and family always with me. And everything is all right.

I think about all the scary things  happening in the world, the rifts that political and moral ideations cause. I am concerned about what is happening to our planet because of the disregard and carelessness of people, especially wondering how there will ever be a stop to the addiction to single-use plastics that is literally killing the planet. And wonder if everything will ever be all right.

In this moment, I experience a multitude of thoughts and emotions, and knowing that they are intangible, I watch them float by. More come along, some the same, some different. Some stay constant, some are there for just a moment. There are attempts by some of the less desirable to stick and cause distress, but as I become aware of them, I say hello and goodbye. I hold on to the good, and release that which does not serve me well. And, in this moment, in my little inner world, everything is all right.

I can ponder and reminisce, plan for future dreams, worry about the future, yet, in reality, all I have is this moment.

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Mother turtle dance + stars and hermit crabs

The night we went to the beach to look for a mother turtle was magical.

We were led by Eddie, a young Italian biologist working among fisherman on the Nicoya peninsula. His mission is to educate them about sustainable fishing as well as to do his part in preserving the sea turtles.

There were no lights other than the red light from his headlamp. Brighter lights disturb the turtles. It was a perfect clear night, and the multitude of stars seemed low enough to reach out and touch.

As we walked almost blindly, there were what seemed to be a lot of rocks or shells. Eddie shone the light at our feet and we were simultaneously delighted and horrified to see thousands of small hermit crabs scurrying around! It was impossible not to step on them, but Eddie said that our weight would just push them into the sand.

Finally, Eddie told us he had spotted an Olive Ridley turtle, but we all needed to stay back while she dug her hole. When she began laying, he said, she would go into a trance and wouldn’t be aware of our presence. When he said we could, we circled around her and watched in wonder. It’s hard to see in this picture, and you can google and see lots of clear pictures, but this is me sharing my experience of this amazing act of nature.

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As we stood in awe, Eddie informed us that he had discovered that the turtle was missing a back rudder, and he suspected that the hole wasn’t deep enough. Turtle eggs are highly susceptible to predators such as raccoons and dogs, who often steal them as they are laid or shortly after. So he said that when she was finished, we would dig them up and relocate them to a deeper nest in a safer place on the beach.

After the eggs were laid, she covered them with sand, and, turning in circles, patted the sand down.  This took about 20 minutes, and we could see that she was hindered by her lack of  a rudder. We followed her as she made her way in the starlight to the ocean, cheering for her as she reached the water, never to see the fruit of her labor.

 

Eddie immediately started digging up the nest, and allowed someone in the group to assist. We were all awestruck as the count went up and up until the total of eggs was 108! The eggs were placed in a bag and passed around so we could all feel it’s weight – quite heavy! Imagine the work – this sea animal, beautiful in the water but awkward on land, hauling her already heavy body, made even heavier with these eggs,50 feet over land before releasing them from her body and returning to the sea.

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While we were engrossed in the task of rescuing these eggs, Eddie spotted another turtle. By the time the last egg was recovered from the first nest, the second turtle had begun laying. We again watched the act with a reverent awe, and as this mother, with all her flippers intact,  began her dance of covering the precious eggs, we could see the perfection. She patted, and twirled, and rested a bit, then repeated this over and over until she was satisfied with her work.

 

After we cheered her on her return trek to the ocean, it was somewhat anticlimactic to  watch Eddie locate a spot to rebury the eggs. It was all a wonder, though, and I will always hold that night in my heart as one of the most amazing I have ever experienced.

Here is a link to a youtube video of an Olive Ridley giving birth, covering the eggs, and going back to the sea. It is very cool, but doesn’t capture the magic of being there on the dark beach under the blanket of stars being a part of the mystery of life.