Predictability?

I spend a lot of time trying to get a handle on what is a known known, a known unknown, an unknown known and an unknown unknown about this pandemic.  Mostly I want to know when it will be over so I don’t even have to plan when I’ll be walking with the TPW again.  It will be Saturday morning and, if I don’t have a meeting, Tuesday evening.

I checked the “vaccine calculator” this morning.  Although some vaccines have been held up for delivery, it still forecasts that I will have my vaccine between February and June.  That gives me something to plan toward.  I watch the numbers of new cases in Toronto and make little games for myself.  For example “if the numbers of new daily cases are coming down for 3 consecutive days, I will go to the store instead of ordering my groceries.”  They haven’t and I haven’t.

I won’t list the unknowns!  This is an amazing unintentional psychological experiment.  What is predictable is that TPW members stay in touch with one another!  Thanks to you all.

The Joy of Seed Catalogues

Someone – maybe in a seed catalogue – said that gardens are a belief in the future. Well, so are seed catalogues. I have been sitting in the same chair for what feels like months now and it has been pretty gloomy. Even walking on cold, drizzly and overcast days has not done enough to lift my rear end out of that seat. I even tried the polar bear swim on New Year’s Day. It was invigorating but didn’t look like a long term plan. I don’t think I can talk anyone into joining me until the ice has melted.

But gardens! I can look at seed catalogues and gardening websites for hours and think about how to make my postage stamp garden and flat roof into a whole farm. Well, not really. Even though I can buy seed to grow a 500 lb. pumpkin, I don’t think I will. Now arugula is another story. So are every sort of flower and vine that grow in my heat zone. I may even send to the Netherlands for lisianthus seeds – even though I likely don’t have enough sun to grow the beautiful blooms. As someone once said, “Which plants do gardeners want?” “ALL OF THEM!” “Where will we put them?” “WE HAVE NO IDEA!”

I’ve been feeling a little Grinchy

My shopping has been on-line. Some things weren’t the colour I expected and some didn’t make it all But then…

And he did hear a sound coming over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow.
But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so! But it was merry! Very!
He stared down at Whoville! The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! It came!
Somehow or other it came just the same!
And the Grinch with his grinch feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling. “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons, it came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
(Thanks, Dr. Seuss)

A grey and rainy Friday night.

It’s Friday night. It has been grey and rainy, and I forced myself to do the grocery shopping – something I used to enjoy and now barely tolerate. WHY is that guy wearing his mask under his chin? Does that lady really need the apple that is directly in front of me? Now I have to decide whether to set the alarm for an early Saturday walk or to turn it off and risk sleeping in until it’s too late to be early. These are the stresses of COVID times.

It was so wonderful to see all 33 faces of our TPW friends on Wednesday. It felt like a big group hug. And it also felt safe. It has been a long time since we have seen one another’s full faces. Yes, there was ZOOM LIPSTICK! But much as I love my TPW friends, I hate being cold and wet. Sleep wins this week. May we all stay safe and rested and get back together when we won’t spend so much time stressing about it.

Memories

I walked the lakeshore from my place to Sunnyside and back Saturday morning, about 9k.  I was alone so had lots of time to ruminate.  What came up were so many memories linking the shore to my time with TPW!

I walked this lakefront from western beaches to eastern beaches and back again when I was training for my first (and only) marathon twelve years ago with Jean’s Marines and for lots of “halves.”.  And my very first race, the Harry Rosen was in High Park thirteen years ago – I still love that shirt.  (Seven agonizing kilometres with hills!)  I recall the first time I walked “to the bathroom and back” in under 60 minutes.

Since TPW was formed from the Jean’s Marines’ walking group, we’ve walked the lake shore every summer.  I’ve watched people tackle distance and time.  But more importantly, I’ve had companionship.  I remember hundreds of breakfasts at the Grenadier, summer brunches on the patio at Sunnyside, picnics at the farmer’s market, roti at Caribana.  I’ve been there when malicious pavement has reared up to cause eyes, noses, elbows and knees to bruise, bleed and break. I’ve watched people get more physically fit and listened and learned as they worked through problems in their lives. I’ve mused over cloud formations and human relations with fellow walkers.

I missed that fellowship this summer.  I hope we’ll be back in May.

I Stop For Birds

This is an apology for my tendency to slow down the pace of my fellow TPW members. I can’t help it.  I have a deep need to stop to admire the world around me, even, or perhaps more especially, when the world around me is on pause.

It feels important to figure out which bird is making that odd noise – or is it a squirrel having a fuss? Is that a hawk at the top of the tree? What kind of hawk? And what has it caught in its talons? Did I think the hooded merganser was a bufflehead? I had better not make that mistake again!

I know that my dear friends are working on improving their speed and keeping their heart rates up, but can I just stop long enough to admire that Baltimore oriole? I tried to keep walking while admiring but ended up looking very closely at the ground. Sorry about that. Please join me if you wish to play the “what bird?” game — or walk around me if I am in your path. I will not be insulted if you zip past me while I am looking up.  I can’t help it. I stop for birds.

Danielle

CAUTION: THIS POST MAY BE INFECTIOUS

I live with earworms.  Most (maybe all) days, there is a soundtrack to my day.  Lately, I seem to enjoy part of the day with “Falling Leaves,” for obvious reasons.   My earworms insist on specific artists for each song.  Part of the time “Falling Leaves” will be by the Ray Conniff Singers but there’s a particular part of the song that is always sung by Nat King Cole.

I watched The Flower Drum Song last night so “I Enjoy Being A Girl” was playing here and there.

And just before I sat down to write this post, my high school fight song played a few rounds.

I am amused that the songs are often from my early life.  And also that I’m never sure of all the words so only a few lines are complete most times.  My brain spends a lot of time in the background trying to work out the vague lyrics from the rest of the song.

Clearly, Covid is getting to me – perhaps too much time alone?

The best part of today was seeing a half dozen TPW’s walking on the lake front.  You all looked fit and hearty!  I am hoping to be able to get back at it in November.  Oh Dear!  There’s Aerosmith with “Walk This Way.”

IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL IT’S OVER [Yogi Berra]

Another beautiful Saturday: warm, sunny, and perfect for walking and enjoying the colours of autumn.  Or was it? We awoke to news of very large numbers of COVID-19 cases in our city and warnings that we should stay out of harm’s way. Is it still safe to walk with up to 25 people so long as we are outdoors and staying at least two meters apart? Some of us think so and some of us are not sure. Some of us, for our own reasons, are concerned that we are risking our health and some of us fear we may be risking the health of others. Others believe our fear is overblown and that for everyone’s mental health, we should simply go about our business in ways that are cautious but not panic-stricken.

I think I may believe all the above – but at different times and in different places. And because it is Thanksgiving, a feast our family has not chosen to celebrate this year, I would like to express my deep and abiding thanks to all of the TPW walkers who accept everyone’s feelings and decisions on what is the right choice. No one is made to feel afraid or ashamed by the choices they have made to stay at home, to walk alone, in small groups, or all together. As my friend Robert Priest has said. “We are one another’s angels.”

September

September!  It is seen by many as a start of the new year with school and lovely Fall harvests. For others it is the end of Summer and approaching Autumn, followed by Winter.  For me September is my birth month and being a bit of a nerd, it was the excitement of a new school year.
This year is different for all of us. Many of us have adapted to changes by signing up and training for virtual fall races.  Training has been quiet and introspective. I am doing weight and strength training online, as well as Zumba classes. Zooming (or something similar) has become the way of reaching out.
As we move forward our community of walkers have not slowed down. We continue to connect and encourage others to reach for their goals whatever they may be.  We can all give thanks for our friendships and support.

The Answer is Yes

I don’t know if everyone is feeling as confused as I am these days. I need to decide how to feel each morning when I get up. Do I feel happy because a family member got out of hospital or, do I feel upset because I couldn’t be with them when they were brought into emergency? Does my good friend feel happy because she has a new grandchild? Or does she feel sad because she could not be with her daughter when the child was born?

Are we happy because these late summer mornings are so fresh and lovely or, are we sad because this very strange summer is coming to and end? Are we delighted to see our energetic and smiling friends or, are we sad because we can’t get up close for a hug? We are happy to be healthy and afraid that we or our friends and family members may not stay that way. We want to be safe and we want to forget we are living in a pandemic. There are many more questions than answers. Are we missing out? Should we be grateful for our blessings and privileges? I think the answer to these and many more questions is yes. We all need permission to feel many emotions all at once. We are kind to one another. Let’s remember to be kind to ourselves as well.