These two images were taken moments apart, the one on the left was taken when the sky was overcast on a mostly cloudy day. I had been just thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to have a bit of sun for this picture when the sun came out, lighting the wrong way, resulting in the picture on the right. As most photographers know, cloudy days are often better for photography because you get better detail without the bright sun. And so it is with people; we learn more about ourselves, we see more deeply into ourselves and our relationships on the difficult, cloudy, days. We can see more detail and with more clarity. Maybe that’s a good reason to welcome those days for what they can show us.
PS: I did a bit of processing on this picture but started off with both pictures directly off the camera and processed them together as a single shot.
I’ve been rewriting a bunch of code recently, converting an old btrieve based system to SQL. That may not mean much to non-coders but it is a bit of task. I ran into something that revealed some poorly written code and, while I’ve avoided re-writing most operational code, I had no choice here. It has taken longer than expected. And it turns out that it may not be doing what it was supposed to do in the first place. I realized I was in a bit of a panic. But then I realized that this is really what my job is all about and that improving the code, making it more reliable, more predictable, more maintainable, is what I do. Problems exist so we can solve them. So, tomorrow, I’m going to get back into it, not in a panic, but with a renewed sense of purpose.
I was doing yoga tonight and feeling all the aches and pains. I keep trying to stay active; hiking, walking, swimming, sailing, skiing, and yoga. And yet I ache – my knees, my feet, my hips and I started wondering if this is worth it; it just hurts to stretch these bits. I quickly realized that if I wasn’t doing this slow, intentional exercise that all those other things I like doing would soon become far more difficult as I age. Maybe there’s a message there about anything that seems like hard work – because exercising our bodies and minds, stretching muscles and emotions and problem-solving, ultimately helps keep us moving forward.
I wrote a post tonight on another blog I’m doing about a renovation project. It turns out I’d already written pretty much the same post a month ago. Obviously the issue has been on my mind a lot. But I completely forgot I’d done it. And I did a better job last time. Sometimes my brain is operating like a babbling brook. I worry that this forgetfulness is a sign of dementia coming on (my grandmother suffered from it) but I’m going to just relax and reassure myself that I have a lot of stuff happening and I can be forgiven if I can’t keep track of it all. And maybe take an opportunity here and there to seek out calmer waters.
Today I registered for a membership at a local trails organization and while browsing the list of volunteer needs ran across “Trail Steward”. I love hiking and I love the local trails but in the moment I was struggling to see how I could possibly fulfill such a role. I realized that most of the struggle was because, today, the arthritis in my foot is hurting. So how could I possibly be a trail steward if I can’t walk? The reason, however, that the arthritis is acting up is because I did a pretty challenging 11km hike yesterday. I also did two 7km hikes during the week. I’ve been here before; sometimes the pain is absolutely debilitating but, with time and care, I recover. It highlights just how important it is to remember that though there is pain, and no matter what the source; physical or emotional, it will eventually go away.
Note; the accompanying photo is of a year old forest fire burn area. It, too, is recovering.
I spend a lot of time living in front of a computer for my job, for volunteerism, for entertainment. This summer, because my partner has become a volunteer guide, I’ve had the great fortune to spend far more time with horses than I ever would have imagined. It isn’t much, compared to independent riding, but spending a few hours on trail rides helps one get to know these animals. Learning how to relate to them and communicate with them feels real in a way that a lot of my communication through the week just doesn’t. I’m feeling a lot of gratitude to these animals and to the opportunity I’ve had to get to know some of them.
PS This is Buck. I’ve been riding Cash and Gus – but Buck stood still long enough for me to get this picture.
I looked up from breakfast this morning to see this spider web just outside the patio door. Not there the day before, clearly a spider had been very busy working this bit of magic. And the sun, which has been smudged by smoke most of the summer was crisp and bright. This is how the gifts in our life come to us, when we’re willing to see them; small glories, little victories, simple kindnesses. To be open to seeing these things with gratitude, as not something just passing or mundane, seems to me to be a path to contentment. It is easy, in the rush of the day, to overlook these little things but, today, I saw it and took a few moments to appreciate it. And for that, too, I’m grateful.
Since I got back from vacation, I’ve been putting in place some of my plans to re-imagine my job. I’m fortunate I’ve got the latitude to do so. The biggest part of it, pushing off trivial support tasks to other people so I can do the coding I’m responsible for, seems to be working well. Not only that, but the support people are responding positively too. No wonder they are called support people as they are being remarkably supportive. The job is not done yet, as I think I’m still feeling a bit traumatized by how hard it was and don’t trust the change yet. But it is a good sign that I can influence the direction this goes.
There’s a conference coming up at the end of the September for a volunteer organization I’m with which is of interest to me. It would probably be a great thing to go to; I’d meet some new people, make some friends, meet old acquaintances and friends. It would also probably be good for me to go for the sake of the organization. But I’m not feeling it. It is expensive both in terms of money and time. Quite frankly, at this particular time of year, I’d rather take those couple days off work and spend them hiking with my partner. I’ve been mulling this over for a few days and I realized today that a lot of the reason I think I need to go is due to a feeling of obligation to the organization. Now I need to sort out whether that obligation is real or something I’ve fabricated, and, if real, how important is it?
Today’s theme was procrastination. It popped up from a couple of my self-help sources within minutes of each other. Ironically, they appeared just as I was in the midst of distracting myself with unimportant diversions. They helped me figure out that I was avoiding an email that arrived last week that carried with it the potential, I was assuming, for a difficult conversation. Fortunately, I can take a hint. So I dealt with the email quickly, gritting my teeth for a challenging reply. In the end, I got positive feedback. Which is good, but even better was that I learned something about the anxiety, and anxiety-driven assumptions, that can fuel my procrastination. It is definitely something to watch for in the future.