"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Time, from both sides now

 “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”- Abraham Lincoln

Gully in Antarctica
You know that idiom, “Time flies when you’re having fun?”  The past few days I’ve been thinking about all the things that have happened since my husband and I moved into this new house.   I suppose it isn’t so new anymore, though, because the move was in February of 2002.

I’ve been sanding and refinishing the clear coat finish on the log siding, and have only the front wall of the living room to do.   I’ve had rails built about the decks and had a carport built.  I took down most of the chain link dog pen fencing because I don’t have sled dogs anymore.

 Probably the most earth-shaking event involved by marriage.  My husband died after a long and heartbreaking illness, and the years of caring for him during that illness about did me in.   One thing led to another, and five months after I placed him in an assisted living home, everything came crashing down on me.   That was a tough one to get through, but I came out on the other side a happier, more complete, and wiser woman.

With no one making demands on my time but Pablo the Parrot, I expanded my “giving-back” area of cleaning up litter from a mile or so near my house to 50 miles of highway through the National Park, and I’ve picked up thousands of bags of litter over the summers.

A yak in the Tibetan high plateau.

A crane sculpture in the Forbidden City, Beijing.
I traveled.  I’ve been to six continents so far, and the last one will be next Jaunary.  I’ve rode in a hot air balloon in the Australian Outback, punted on the Avon in New Zealand, snorkeled in Fiji.   I’Ve walked along the Great Wall in  China, drank tea with nomads in Tibet, sailed the inlands waterways of Russia.

 I’ve seen parts of Austria and Germany.   I’ve watched polar bears roam the tundra in Churchill, Manitoba.   I sailed from Buenos Aires (Argentina) the Falkands, South Georgia, and Antarctica and fallen in love with penguins.

Polar bears sparring in Manitoba

I rode a barrel-bellied mule to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, stayed over night at Phantom Ranch, and carried the US mail up to the top of the canyon.  I hiked washes and slot canyons in the Upper Canyon.   I went on a cruise to Alaska, zip-lined in the rain forest of Ketchikan, and hiked part of the Chilkoot Trail near Skagway, then rafted back down.

I rode a horse into and across Haleakala Crater on the island of Maui.

Holly ahead of me in Haleakala Crater

I’ve been to Arizona, California, and Washington.   I’ve visited  Halibut Cove, Fairbanks, Valdez, and Denali National Park.  I took the Alaska ferry to Yakutat and walked beaches alongside monstrously huge brown bear tracks.  I camped in Yosemite National Park with best buds for a week, for the first time.

I caught my first salmon in the Kenai River, something I tried to do but couldn't.  Put me at the Russian River, though,  and no salmon is safe from me.

I've done many things that escape my memory right  now.

The best thing is I returned to writing after a 40-year hiatus, and it has given me much satisfaction.  I could go on and on, but you’ve probably stopped reading by now.

I hope not because this isn’t about me.  While I was reconnecting with old friends, seeing the world, taking classes to learn new things, shooting tens of thousands of photographs, and living life as fully as I can, three young women were held in a house in Cleveland, Ohio, subjected to things we don’t want to think about happening to us or our loved one.

So while the rest of the world went on, for those women time barely moved as they survived minute by minute in fear, pain, and humiliation.

Thanks to the bravery of one young woman and with the assistance of a kindly neighbor, they were freed, freed to have their own lives.   I wish them Godspeed.


  1. You survived your own form of imprisonment while caring for K. then found a new life. These girls, as so many others have, will also find a new life. They'll do it in their own way, in their own time.

  2. I agree with Rilly.

    It's hard to even begin to imagine the lives of the three women in Cleveland. I know I can't. I pray they will be able to recover enough of themselves to live out the rest of their lives with some dignity, peace and hope.

    The messages that are being printed on our minds as we observe the news are ugly. It's hard not to feel anxious. But we must focus on the good in the world or we imprison ourselves by fear.

    Thank you for speaking out, Gully.