Woods & Water: Week 1

As mentioned in my previous post, this year I’m building and reinforcing my value system with three different practice-and-blog series. That post focuses on values about cleanliness by practicing and showing off nail grooming. The second post and series I’m kicking off here revolves around BEING OUTSIDE. Specifically in the woods and by the water, at least once a week each (and specifically SALTwater).

So on the 6th day of January, because I made this commitment to myself (so I can feel proud of my follow-through instead of like a beach bum slacker? see also: puritanical values about work), I dropped everything else and went to the beach:

 

Normally I’d avoid the beach on a Saturday (because normally I avoid people, and normally beach + Saturday afternoon = people), but because it’s winter and it was probably going to rain, there were hardly any people at all!

So I didn’t have to figure out how to interact with anybody except fog and rain and sand and space and day meeting darkness and feet hitting ground … and that is my happy place.

So what does this have to do with values? Well … I value: my body | fresh air | sweating | taking the temperature with my skin | working to LIVE | sunlight | LIVING TO LIVE | telling time by tides and shadows | free self-health-care as valuable “work”, more valuable than any desk work | connecting with what is REAL under my feet | my exceptionally good fortune in living in this time and place out of all of the times and places humans have existed | solitude | the colors green the colors brown the colors grey the colors colors colors blue yellow brown green green green green NIGHT | the enormity of sky | seasons | my freedom | my ability to exercise my freedom and to choose what is healthy(iest) | having a platform to celebrate and serve what I value and what sustains life | bunches of other good shit like just BEING ALIVE

Basically: I AM SUPER FUCKING LUCKY I CAN WALK ON THE BEACH EVERY DAY. Whenever I want. And very often have it all to myself: way more quiet, peace, and solitude than the vast majority of people on this planet have access to.

I value quiet, peace and solitude. And huge bodies of saltwater. I feel some kind of a huge moral ethical human spiritual obligation / necessity to feed on my good fortune and revel in the pleasure, nutrition and healing it gives me to be out there, in what little there is left for however long it and I linger.

 

 

The time & weather when I started my walk, and when I ended it:

winter weather in port touchdown

For that first week of January I did my woods and water walk all in one outing, hiking up the hill from the beach as it got dark. The trail was steep, slippery, and getting harder and harder to see, but I wanted to be speedy to cover as much ground before it got totally dark; this was a fun extra-sensory challenge to really focus on FEELING my footing, being aware of every step and seeing with the soles of my feet.

drainpipe near dusk

This wet walk alone up an eroding hill intensified my appreciation of the book I’m reading (It), remembering what it’s like to be a kid roaming around outside relishing freedom, suffering from fear, and just being alive outside with your heart beating fast.

Didn’t your values seem a lot clearer when you were a kid than they do as an adult? I want to be as clear as a childabout the value and rightness of certain things. Like mud puddles.

twilight alone

Being outside alone while it got darker and wetter and darker I felt more and more like myself, and giddy about it.

In some ways I’m not even sure what this word “values” means and how to talk about them meaningfully or accurately (is that possible?). But the darker it got and the more sure I knew where I was and how to get somewhere else, the more I remembered who I am and felt happy about the rightness and certainty of it: I’m a night person who loves being alone in my body outside.

I would rather listen to water dripping off of different things onto different surfaces than people talking words. Part of valuing these things – night, solitude, rain, outside, wet sounds – is valuing myself for being the kind of person who runs sopping wet through the dark alone in winter.

Note on blocking out part of our hometown name: it’s not a secret on our sites, but I don’t want to make it THAT easy for no good reason. Plus it’s more fun for you to read if it’s a blank you can fill in with your own idea of a perfect place to live!

Starry Winter Night Stroll

We got up too-early to go dance. It was worth it, but then all we wanted was a movie and food-in-bed and murder-porn lazy-time.

File Jan 25, 1 35 04 PM

With the velvety curtains drawn around our well-fed body heat, it finally got too stuffy by other people’s Sunday-night time-for-bed standards under the sloped-ceilings of our sleeping alcove. I whined for Delia to make me a bulls-eye egg NO WAIT can we take a walk?


Out in the dark in our pajamas, strolling the silent neighborhood … so many stars. My pj’s are a soft knit dress and thin fleece hoodie: no panties, no bra. Just shuffling along. It feels balmy compared to a couple weeks ago when the moon was full and the ground hard-frozen. She finds out her new nalgene does indeed glow.

We should be walking naked. Through gardens, not towards the obscenely-bright porch lights of people who go to bed so early. We should be walking naked with bare feet. RUNNING, even. Maybe we will someday, and then come back inside to dance. Or if it’s summer … stay outside to dance. All night long.

Huglamp_16-9

There’s Orion. There’s The Big Dipper. There are billions and billions and billions of things I don’t know the names for. Just tiny little lights in darkness from where we’re moving, such tiny barely measurable distances together, walking at night towards another cold still building where we’ve danced before, and other people. Maybe for a hundred tiny little years.

HOLD MY HAND, I said. WE’RE MATES. MATED FOR LIFE.

We left the sometimes-lit straight roads for the darker curving trails. Little miniature hills roped with roots, rising and falling under our feet.


 

I can hear her downstairs, smell the buttered bread and egg she’s frying for me coming up the stairs.

Growing and Changing

Growing is hard work, and out of your control a lot of times. It happens whether you think you’re ready or not.

Photo May 08, 3 30 11 PM

I truly want to grow and think I have a pretty great attitude about it, but I don’t. Not completely: I want to be in charge of WHAT changes, HOW MUCH … WHEN and towards what (perfect) ends.

The good news: I might be past the worst of my midlife crisis, and am embracing good changes. Want to read about them? This month (National Bike Month, coincidentally) I’ll post more here about a significant lifestyle change we made at the end of March right as my grandma died (which was harder for me because of other family issues it brought up than actually losing my grandma) and this crazy overheated early spring unfolded … AND as the person I’ve been spending the most time with other than my wife decided to move out of state for a new job.

AND PRINCE DIED! Maybe that has nothing to do with me and I shouldn’t take that loss so personally, but his passing has been a touchstone of grief and strengthening wellspring of affirmation and inspiration at the same time.

wild roses

High Winds & Rainbows

Day-Before-Yesterday Rainbow

Day-Before-Yesterday Rainbow

After a year full of SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN and hardly any rain, we’re finally being dragged into winter. We’ve had some weather the past few weeks with lots of wind, power outages, and some cold nights in the twenties.

High wind warning an excellent excuse to close early!

High wind warning an excellent excuse to close early!

It’s at the point where people around here get these warnings and just want to avoid all of our machines taking dives and/or hearing our battery backups start beeping. After months of our main data storage being down (and lots of our raw content+ inaccessible) I feel the same way, like “I don’t want my shit to suffer more possible power surges nor do I want to try to work on something only to have the power and/or internet connection go down”.

And I kind of like it, the excuse to just feel the air swirling around and feel it hitting the house and be thankful I’ve never had a tree fall on my head.

The high winds didn't materialize that day ... but they did the next!

The high winds didn’t materialize that day … but they did the next!

It’s funny that they sent this Thursday when the winds didn’t happen but on Friday … the wind came without any text. Maybe nobody wanted to give another false alarm so our local emergency service didn’t alert us. I’m a little weirded out by how much I respond to our county’s emergency texts, like they’re my one friend in the community who wants to call me up and ask if my power is on or not. I don’t mean I respond by replying, just that I feel like a real interaction is happening that makes the weather so much more official and impactful. It makes me remember that the little plot I occupy on the grid is surrounded by neighbors. Usually that makes me apprehensive but somehow these texts make me feel welcomed in a very non-threatening way. Because it’s NOT a real interaction and I don’t have to say anything back.

I think the high wind warning expired a couple of hours ago and we got some more rainbows:

More rainbows as the winds die down

More rainbows as the winds die down

It gets dark early here; sunset is on the schedule today at 4:18.

By the time normal people get off work and eat dinner, it feels like we must be up past our bedtimes.

I’m not a normal person, so bedtime is whenever I say it is. At this time of year it seems appropriate for it to be allllllllll evening, like seven to seven.


Flicker vs. Flasher


Delia was totally entranced by this Flicker outside the window of our sleeping alcove:

Northern Flicker September Washington state

Northern Flicker (sorry for the crappy camera phone pic)

I could not do anything to distract her from observing the bird, but I did have fun trying:

Trixie tries to distract her wife, Delia

Exposing my bottom to my wife.

We have Flickers around here (Western Washington on the . . . fuck, I should have a page to link to for this) pretty much year-round. Sometimes they go crazy hammering on our metal roofs.

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