I am staying, temporarily, in a senior living facility in Woodinville. I really like it here and it is wonderful to only have to navigate one room instead of a multi-story house. (I’m in a studio apartment now.)
More than twenty people live in my wing of the facility. Most I have never seen. But there is one couple that I have passed in the hall so many times. I see them when I’m going to pick up my to-go dinner and they are coming back from their dinner in the dining room. (Both options, and more, are available to everyone.) We often come out of our rooms and enter the hallway at the same time. Now, we laugh whenever that happens.
It reminds me of being in Amritapuri. There are many people there I never see. And there are others that it feels like are around every corner I turn. Those people often become major parts of my trip.
I wonder what the frequent meetings mean in this case, in addition to giving us something to laugh about.
This morning when I went to the bathroom a mosquito caught my eye. It was in the toilet. I felt a dilemma. I didn’t want to sit down and have it sting me. but I wanted to use the toilet! I decided to flush the toilet and see if it would leave. It did. But did it come right back? I would have to take my chances.
Soon thereafter, there was a mosquito on the window screen of the main part of the studio. Was it the same one or a new one? To be determined. Maybe. This is a new experience but is one I will laugh about.
Probably the person that has caused me to laugh the most is a staff member named Pat. He is quite a jokester and to me is committed to seeing beauty and joy all around, and adding to it whenever possible.
Whether it is by wearing mismatched or playful socks or forwarding a file to my daughter and adding a note saying that I am behaving myself, he brings light into the world. And he always waves and calls me by name when I walk by his office.
My earliest memories of him happened on my first days here. The first thing I remember him saying is that at one time he had been a priest for 15 years. That certainly peaked my interest.
He came to see how I was doing for the first three days. The first time he asked me where I got my spiritual guidance and I gestured to a picture of Amma. “The hugger!” he exclaimed. (Amma is known for having given 39 million hugs. So far.) I was amazed that he even recognized her picture because it was a really old one. During that visit, a mother duck followed by seven ducklings walked by my window.
Since then when people visit me, if he knows that they are coming to see me, he asks them if they are huggers. If they look at him like he’s crazy then he asks if they’re devotees. Most are. This process has brought much needed laughter into my life.
I think there was one other thing I was going to write about but I don’t remember what it was. The mosquito incident drove everything else from my mind. I guess there will be a part three to this series at some point!
While the amount of snow that has been occurring in Seattle will seem small compared to what most of the country is experiencing, it is not small to us. When I moved here in 1966, Seattle occasionally had big snow storms, but there have been many years when we had no snow, or almost no snow.
The last ten days have been quite an adventure. I have loved the beauty of the snow and the challenges, but I’m quite ready for the snow to go away, at least for now.
I learned a new word! I had written a friend that lives in Bellevue and asked if it was snowing there. She wrote back that it was graupeling. I didn’t have any idea what that word meant so looked it up. Google kept changing the word to grueling. I was persistent and eventually tried graupel. That worked! Graupel is defined as soft hail or soft snow pellets.
Later that day, I walked outside and saw many graupels in my yard .
(Click on any photo gallery to enlarge the photos.)
I saw something else that made me curious. At first I didn’t know what it was, but soon realized it must be a thick icicle. It was more than an inch in diameter. There were many fallen icicles on the ground nearby.
Later that day, it began snowing in earnest.
Saturday, February 9
During our first big snow, I stayed inside for days because I was afraid to walk down the front steps. The steps were slippery and they don’t have a railing. This time I realized I could just walk out the basement door. Duhhh. Why didn’t I think of that before? I ventured outside much sooner and more often on these snowy days.
I knew that the little Greenbelt trees that were bent over from the weight of the snow would be bent over again so I walked into the Greenbelt from the Hanford Stairs. The weight of the snow on one of the shrubs created a canopied entrance to the site, I felt like I was entering a magical land.
I removed the snow from the tree I had freed before. I did the same with five other trees on that outing. In the process, I wondered if I was hurting them by freeing them when I knew they were just going to get buried again.
When I got back to my house, I wrote my supervisor at Green Seattle Partnership and asked her what she thought. She told me it would be best to leave them alone.
After leaving the Greenbelt, I saw a neighbor who was about to walk down the hill to the store. As we talked, we noticed that people were try drive down 25th Ave S where a tree had fallen across the road the night before. When they turned their cars around, they almost all discovered that they couldn’t get up the S. Hanford hill. Most couldn’t even make the jog in the road at 25th Ave. S and S. Hanford. We guided the motorists to a place where they could park their cars until the roads were drivable for a while.
When we stopped doing that, I walked down 25th Ave S and took a photo of the fallen tree.
Then I returned home and cleared the snow off of one side of the front steps and off of my car. I tried to clear the front sidewalk too but didn’t get very far with that endeavor; there was ice under the snow that I couldn’t break or get under.
At least I started the job. I was impressed that I accomplished as much as I did. And it felt so good to be out of the house.
Sunday, February 10
It was beautiful on Sunday morning. At 10 a.m. the sky was blue.
Sometime before 2 pm, the sky started to darken. Soon thereafter, it began to snow again.
Monday, February 11
The snow kept falling… and falling.
After the snow storm that started on February 3, I didn’t clean the snow off of the car until it had stopped snowing. That was probably on February 6. My car had been parked in the driveway. It took me much longer to be able to drive than the neighbors who had parked on the street.
When I did eventually try to get into my car, the front door was frozen shut. During the second series of snowstorms, I decided to park the car on the street and to remove the snow at least once a day.
One day, I noticed that brushing the snow off of the car had resulted in a pile of snow around the car that was at times had a height of two-feet. Being hemmed in by snow would would certainly make it difficult to drive. A day later, I noticed that snow was piled tight against the side of the front tire. I sure didn’t want it to freeze there so on Monday, I removed that snow.
Soon after finishing that process, I was surprised to see a woman ski down S. Hanford St. Moments later, her husband pulling a child carrier, or whatever that structure is called, turned the corner onto 25th Ave. S. There were two small children in the “vehicle”.
While I was talking to the family, I noticed a fire truck had gotten stuck going around the roundabout at the south end of the block. When looked that direction a few minutes later, it was gone.
When I checked my email later in the day, I discovered that neighbors had posted photos of “snow art” that they had seen on North Beacon Hill. I was impressed.
Seeing those objects made me think of the snow angels I used to make when I was a kid. I kept thinking of them throughout the day. Eventually, I decided I was going to do it! It was a lot easier to lie down than it was to get up. I thought it interesting that the size of the right wing reflects the trouble I am having with my shoulder.
I was surprised at how heavy the snow was. It took more effort to move it than I thought it would.
On Monday, I cleared the snow off the car .
That afternoon, it snowed heavier than any other day. It was so beautiful.
But before long, my car was again covered with 4-6 inches of snow!
Tuesday, February 12
A neighbor came over and let me know that she was going to clear my sidewalk for me. I was excited to have the help. I joined her so we worked on it together. The day before, another neighbor had told me he would help me get my car out of the snow when I was ready to drive. A third neighbor had picked up something for me at Lowe’s after the previous snow storm. My new roommate carried pellet bags into the house for me and one day, she cleaned the snow of of my car after cleaning it off of her own. I’m lucky to have neighbors who will help me when I need it. I need to remember these incidents when I’m feeling alone in the world.
Wednesday, February 13
I was supposed to teach a class about our forest restoration project to Environmental Science students from Seattle University on Tuesday and on Thursday the students were planning to work on our site. The university was closed on Tuesday so I will be teaching the class on Thursday. That meant I had to cancel the work party. I hope the students will come to a later one.
I have enjoyed the beauty of the snow and all of the adventures it has brought my way. I also appreciate that it has given me the opportunity to catch up on so many things on my “to do” list. But as I said at the beginning of this post, I’m ready for this to end; and it looks like it is going to. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be able to drive!
While the rest of the country was suffering through devastating winter storms, Seattle’s temperatures were in the high 40’s and low 50’s. It felt like spring. Many of the plants were beginning to bud; some of the leaf buds had even opened.
Last night I was watching the Super Bowl at Al’s. Soon after I arrived, it began to snow. I stayed for the first three quarters but was very distracted. During the 4th quarter, I decided it was time for me to go home.
I don’t like to drive in the snow, plus I live on the side of a hill. It doesn’t take much to make my car slide and I hate that feeling. I have avoided driving in the snow since the year I slid down a steep hill near my house sideways, with a station wagon right behind me. That incident was probably in the late 70’s or early 80’s.
Last night, I made it home without incident. It was not snowing when I went to bed, but it snowed more during the night. This was the scene from inside my warm house this morning.
Later in the day, I decided to walk to the end of my property and take some photos of the Greenbelt.
The snow is really beautiful but I hope it goes away soon… and doesn’t damage all the new buds.
I dealt with numerous challenges yesterday… and this morning. Today, those challenges have been resolving one after another.
just after 8 a.m., I looked out of my dining room window and saw sunlight streaming through the trees. At the same time this was happening, it was raining. The sunlight made the raindrops sparkle. My photo doesn’t do this experience justice, but I hope, along with my words, it gives you a sense of the beauty I witnessed.
Then I got into my car so I could drive to the bakery to pick up the pumpkin pies I’m taking to a Thanksgiving dinner later in the day. As I drove out of the driveway, the first thing I saw was a beautiful rainbow. I parked the car so that I could take another photograph. The rainbow was already beginning to fade when I snapped the picture, but I think the photo offers a glimpse of its beauty. Fifteen seconds later, the rainbow was gone.
as I was walking up and down a slope to place burlap on areas that we are going to cover with wood chip mulch on Sunday. There is a shrub planted every place you see the blue and white checkered tape. Some of the plants haven’t been marked yet.
On one trip up the slope, a log caught my eye. I took a closer look at it when I walked back down.
Gopika and I decided to take a canoe back to the ashram yesterday after visiting Amma’s Vrindavan Field, the Ayurvedic Herbal Garden, and the Ayurvedic College, School of Engineering and School of Biotechnology grounds. I will write about our visit to those places another time but wanted you to see the canoe photos now.
This morning I decided it was high time for me to watch the sunrise. And what an experience it was.
I can’t believe that it took me three weeks to open the curtains of my room first thing in the morning so that I could see the beauty of the sunrise. What a metaphor that is for life. We miss so much because of the blinders we wear.
Quite a few of the photos I took towards the end of this series had a blue orb in it. I’m thinking the camera may have been reacting to the blinding light of the sun, although that is only a guess.
To view the previous posts in this series click here.
My friend Prarthana sent me stunning photos of the sunsets she took here the last two nights. I asked for, and received, permission to share them with you. Enjoy!
When I got off the elevator on my floor tonight, I was blessed with the sight of a gorgeous sunset. I took a photo so I could add it to this series. The picture looks essentially the same as what I saw with my eyes. Generally, the colors on my sunrise and sunset photos are muted. I’m so happy with this one.
To view the previous posts in this series click here.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”-William Shakespeare