There are some days that I feel like I’m in a fog. The gray rainy days during fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest, added to foggy mornings can make driving a little scary and going outside cold and uncomfortably damp.
When it is foggy you can’t see clearly and apathy and discouragement can set it. I’ve had a number of days like that this past fall. Some times it is hard to roll out of bed, grab a cup of tea and then sit in front of a computer screen on zoom meetings all day with no breaks. I find that it can be hard to be motivated and keep a positive attitude.
However, if even a little bit of sunshine breaks through, we all grab the dog leash, put on our hats, gloves, and coats, and get outside, even if it is just for a little while. I have had more days than I can count of being locked in my little office, working full time during a quarantine that seems to be lasting even longer (through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year) than anyone could ever have anticipated. When the sun shines on a weekend I can’t wait to get out of my little room.
Recently, we watched the weather report and it was promising. We decided we wanted to hike that day. I wanted to hike to Oyster Dome and my husband said, “that’s too steep and too far to drive.” I said, “Okay, you choose – but we are going somewhere!” He did some research and found a trail that was less than a 15-minute drive, called the Langus Riverfront Trail. Then, the fog rolled in!
I was so discouraged! We talked about turning back but we both decided to keep going, I’m very glad we did. While we started our walk in the damp, gray, fog, it wasn’t long before the sun burned through and it lifted to reveal a beautiful clear day.
Our walk was through a series of wetlands, streams, tidewaters, and sloughs. When the settlers came they made changes by creating dikes, dams, and weirs to this resource area and began farming. Now, with a better understanding of the impact, this had on our ecosystem and the adverse effect on our salmon runs, the land is being restored and the dikes are being breached. Life is returning to this area that is a much better habitat for young salmon.
We enjoyed a leisurely flat walk on newly paved trails and then went across a bridge to Spencer Island and a muddy trail. With each step, we were closer to the gorgeous views of Mount Pilchuck, Glacier Peak, and the Cascade Mountain range. With cooling temperatures during the preceding days of rain, there was new snow on the peaks that shown white in the blue sky.
We saw a pair of eagles and spied their nest and watched them roost high up in a tree. We talked to someone who was also watching them and he said that he had been photographing them for the past seven years! He loves to see their new baby (sometimes two) each spring.
What I’m learning is that while my retirement journey and my plans may be a little foggy, I know that someday the fog will lift and things will become more clear for me. I would love to have all the answers right now, but with the pandemic raging, that is not possible. At this present moment, I’ll look for those few sunny days. I’ll put one foot in front of the other and try to see life from a bigger picture perspective. Whether I take the easy paved path or the muddy trail doesn’t really matter. I just need to keep moving.
Instead of being stuck and discouraged, I’m trying to remember what the eagles see from high up. Their perspective is completely different from mine. Because I might be walking in the valley, in some wetlands for now, but someday soon I’ll be climbing to the top of a viewpoint and looking down at a new beautiful life. For those gray foggy days, I can look at the photos I took with my phone, (that really can’t do justice to how beautiful it is) and remember that the fog will live and sunny days are ahead.
Barbara is the new star of the Rock Your Retirement show! For one year, she'll let Kathe Kline tag along as she goes through her retirement journey.