Spring season and walkabouts

hummingbird-2139279_1920 I haven’t been too interested in the news lately. I’ve spent a lot of my time preparing for doctor’s visits, which means sitting in a tiny room, drinking a lot of water so that the phlembotomist can take blood out of my veins. And in the the TMI vein, so that they could take a urinalysis.

So I was mainly oblivious to the national walkout that was supposed to be spontaneous outrage from students who were really getting a free day out in the sunshine. If it were spontaneous then the school administrators and teachers wouldn’t have pulled fire alarms and walked with the students to “pre-assigned” plazas for “protests” and “speeches.”

I grew up in the Cold War where we were taught to climb under our desks and hide during a nuclear event. In one elementary school during a “nuclear” emergency alarm we were marched out of class and we sat along the walls of the hall until the alarm was over. Basically if we were really hit then we wouldn’t have survived.

During the Cold War, we would see images of the staged May Day marches of the Soviet Union. During those days we were proud that if such a power would land on our soil that we would fight and shoot our enemies.

It is like I have walked into a surreal landscape where a group of teenagers who would have been considered able to make adult choices (like defend their country when I was their age) are asking to be disarmed. These same students are asking that someone else take care of them because they are too delicate to make their own choices.  I am astounded that an 18 or 19 year old is now considered too young and irresponsible to handle their own defense and their own life.

I do know that I am only seeing one side on the news. I know of several young men and young women who are making their own lives. Some of them are going into the military and some of them are traveling. Others are starting businesses. We don’t see them in the news. If I didn’t know of these enterprising young ones, I would have believed that our nation was already on the skids.

I am a veteran. I served. So my view is probably different from yours.

When I turned on the TV and watched the “walkout” this week, I saw history being repeated. I turned the TV off.


As we walk

Every evening Foxy and I walk to the elevator past our neighbor’s apartments as the sun sinks in the West and the light goes from peach to dark blue. Since the heat in Las Vegas Nevada has dropped, one of my neighbors who is in her mid-70s keeps her front door open to let the heat out and the cool air in.

Foxy, a little chihuahua-terrier mixed dog, rushes inside to great her. My neighbor used to have dogs many years ago. Now she lives in a senior independent apartment and doesn’t have room or energy for a dog. Just for a moment she smiles and pets Foxy. Foxy’s tail wags continuously until the neighbor quits petting her.

We do this every day unless I feel sick. On those days I will get a call from my neighbor to see if I am okay. She misses Foxy and she misses our talks. We will visit and talk about family, life, and illness. We will talk mostly about experiences–like having dogs or working. My neighbor worked in a casino most of her adult life. She has severe lung problems because of it.

When I was a child, I knew a lot of families who welcomed their grandparents into their homes. We live in such a different age now where the elderly is put away where from their families. The knowledge of the elderly is lost.

I laugh because when I stop and talk to them I find out that one grandmother has cancer and goes on the bus every other day to get radiation treatment. She doesn’t tell her grandson because he is taking care of a wife who also has cancer. Just last week an man in his mid sixties died. I met him and he didn’t look sick on the outside.

Every day we see paramedics in this area. Some of the elderly come back and some don’t. I talked to a man who had just turned 84. “All of my family and friends are dead now,” he said. “I am alone.”

Sometimes I wonder why we have gone to warehousing our elderly. At one point they held the knowledge of their tribes. They still hold the knowledge of their families. Every day we lose more knowledge as they die.

Aging is not fun. Many of these folks who are living the long life are grumpy from pain and from loneliness. Some of them spend their days gossiping. They are people after all. They are also the trailblazers to what comes next.

Birds fly, humans walk

One of my New Years resolution was to exercise six days a week, which is an ambitious goal. Of course, I broke it within three weeks. First I had the virus from death (three weeks lying on my back), and then gout. Or as my doctor puts it, suspected gout because it wasn’t diagnosed by a doctor.

If you have ever felt like knives were stabbing the big joint of your toe, and the joint is hot, and the foot is swelling, well, then it is probably gout. It was the most painful thing barring my hospital visit when I was first diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, and when I had shingles on the sciatic nerve from my hip down to my knee. On a scale of one to ten, all three of these experiences where in the 100 range.

So when I saw the doctor this week, he asked me if I was exercising. I wasn’t. I was walking to and from the post box, which is like a half mile a day more or probably very less. He encouraged me to walk around the apartment complex (a distance) maybe 3-5 times, three times a week. Well I settled on three times.

Can you see where this is going? I picked Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday as my walking days. This morning I went around the apartment complex twice. Yep, it was as far as I could go. My muscles were twitching and my right hip was weak. I was breathing a little heavy and I started sneezing. The pollen count has been really high the last month. Plus we are so dry here that we are having restrictions on activities that would cause fires.

It’s at this moment when I want a coffee and a chair more than I want to talk to my hubby, that I saw the hawk. It flew from the tree to the roof to the streetlight as quickly as I am telling it. It wasn’t very big for a red-tailed hawk and it seemed curious. For one moment, I was so interested in its markings that I forgot about the how tired I felt.

Yes, I need to walk more. I need to walk more because I need to be closer to nature.

And see the birds.