Hot Summer Daze

The long summer is drawing to a close and for me, hot summer daze seems to best describe this season spent in Southern California. I realize that as I grow older I tolerate hot weather less and less and find myself dreaming of crisp fall days, days when I step outside and become intoxicated on autumn air. Knowing I was grounded for the summer due to a minor medical issue, I vowed to explore the beauty right outside my door, but as temps creeped into the triple digits I fell short of that goal many days as spending time outdoors could result in an irascible, sweaty meltdown. So when this outdoor kinda gal found herself trapped inside, gym fitness and reading became my go-to activities. Nothing wrong with that, I might add, especially when I have a wise, beautiful friend who recommended a special book to me, knowing I might find myself in an introspective mood from time to time. She couldn’t have suggested a book more conducive to the kind of year it has been and is one we would all do well to read, “The Five Invitations”. I can’t thank you enough Erin.

This year has created an interesting array of emotions for me, bringing to life a trip I have longed to take for decades, that being our Patagonian adventure. Coming home with what I thought was a minor finger dislocation became that plus a ruptured volar plate, detached collateral ligament and fractured knuckle. This week I graduated from hand therapy with parting gifts of various torture devices…yay!

Even with 12 weeks of therapy my injury does not even make the list of the tragic turn of events so many of my friends and acquaintances have experienced this year. The list of those we know who have passed this year has now grown to double-digits, not to mention all the public figures whose journey in this life has ended – Aretha Franklin, John McCain, Barbara Bush, Winnie Mandela, Stephen Hawking, just to name a few. Beyond this, we have friends who have had significant medical events and are still struggling with major illnesses, some where hospice has stepped in to provide comforting care. My thoughts are with all of them as they traverse the next phase of their life journey.

The author of “The Five Invitations”, Frank Ostaseski, a contemporary scholar of ancient Buddhist teachings, had me reflecting upon what death can teach us about living, how embracing our impending death, whenever that may be, can allow us to be more fully present, more alive, living each day to its fullest.

“Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most.”  ~  Frank Ostaseski

Although my thirst for wandering wasn’t quenched this summer, I am grateful for the insights gained as I practiced being more present each day. We head out for some autumn adventures soon and I hope to carry my lessons learned with me. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the blogosphere once again.

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52 thoughts on “Hot Summer Daze

  • What stoic you are! I can’t imagine the pain that your hand injury was causing you as you traveled. I am so happy you have graduated from PT and are feeling better. I too had a stay indoors summer, but like you am looking forward to this Fall season, my favorite time of year. Stay well.

    • Since Patagonia was a trip of a lifetime for me I tried not to let it distract me. I must admit towards the end of our trip my red, warm knuckle caused me concern as I as worried about an infection. Instead I found it was just inflammation. And I agree with you Gale, fall is one of my favorite times of year as well.

  • Ah, this is such a timely post for me, as I can relate to every word said. It has been an interesting summer for me as well. Unfortunately, not one I envisioned. I’ll need to check into that book. Hopefully you’ll manage to capture some fall images on upcoming adventures and enjoy some cool crisp air.

  • We were lucky to be out of SoCal and in the central highlands of Mexico during the worst of the hot weather so we missed it… darn 🙂 And, now it has suddenly turned into winter, at least in our neck of the woods. I hope you are enjoying cooler weather too and can start venturing forth a bit. It’s nice to relax, but a body has to move! I love the picture of the blooming flowers and the bees… they work so hard, don’t they?

    • Yes, the bees are busy little guys! I am looking forwarding to heading out next week and enjoying a change of scenery and climate. Hopefully you will experience fall where you are soon.

  • love the pix, Lu. Know all about those torture devices. hope all gets better. amazing how it turned so bad!
    Gotta say, i’m still envious as all getout about all the places you’ve been and seen. thanks for bringing all the pix to us

    -david

  • Beautiful LuAnn! I am so glad your hand has healed. My husband is still dealing with his back issues and what is a bit of a bummer is he missed the best three months of the year in MN…summer! We have a lovely fall usually but he still isn’t fully active. I do plan to enjoy the gorgeous fall days. What are your next plans? Are you staying in Southern California? I guess I never asked where you are “from” as I know you have traveled so much via RV for years. Not even sure where your home base is! 🙂

    • We are just outside of Temecula, about an hour from San Diego. We go to Encinitas and San Diego when we want our beach fix. We are doing a road trip back to the Midwest this fall, to visit lots of family and friends. I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I have a friend whose husband struggled with back issues and it was tough to see him suffer. He too was a very active man, like Paul seems to be. I truly hope Paul is able to return to all the activities he loves soon.

  • Wonderful to hear that you have ‘graduated’ LuAnn. You have handled the injury with grace and patience. Wishing you a lovely autumn and I look forward to following the adventures.

  • Love your post. Fall is just at the infant stage in Evanston. Hot and humid now but know this will change soon. The leaves are beginning their fall and winter journey. I love the crisp mornings we have had a few days ago. Take care. Love you.

  • I am so glad you are going to “get out of town,” and see some areas other than Southern California. I am also glad that your hand is well enough to hit the road again. After reading this post, I have purchased, and downloaded the book you mentioned, and will start listening to it tonight, as I get into bed. I am anxious to hear what it has to say. Take care on your road trip and let us know, by writing and pictures, as to what you are up to. Be safe!

    • It feels good to know I am able to spread my wings again. Hope you enjoy the book. It can get a little heavy at times but stick with it. I am a fast reader but took the time I needed to really absorb it. I will be posting along the way.

  • Thank you for the book recommendation, looks like one I will enjoy. May your finger continue to heal and you be free of further injury for a while.

    I hope your fall travels are beautifully satisfying. I too am looking forward to moving on from San Diego very soon. Can’t wait to be closer to nature without millions of other people nearby!

  • A beautiful thoughtful post LuAnn. Don and I too talk about the inevitability of death, and that we must live, really live, while we can. So glad to hear your hand has healed. Obviously that turned out to be way worse than you originally thought. And glad to hear you’re ready to hit the road again. Happy fall adventuring.
    Alison

    • Thanks Alison! Although my hand injury was a bit more extensive than I originally thought, time in therapy gave me the ability to slow down and spend time reading and reflecting. I found some blessings I hadn’t anticipated this summer.

  • LuAnn, I’m glad that you’re on the mend (slowly, ever so slowly) and feel well enough to head out for the fall. It’s one our favorite times to travel, and in fact, we’re off to Romania at the end of the month. Years ago, at a particulary stressful time in my corporate life, I joined a group that was studying eastern religions and took up meditation. As you probably know, all these religions emphasize “being in the moment,” and it was amazing to me what a difference this simple concept made in my life. I wish you well in your continued recovery, and know that being in the present will make your travels even more enjoyable. Bon Voyage. ~James

    • Thanks so much James. I look forward to hearing about your trip to Romania. Fall is one of our favorite times to travel as well. Being introduced to mindfulness meditation has been a blessing in my life. Safe travels!

  • LuAnn, I’m so happy to hear that you’ve completed your rehabilitation and that your finger has healed. I know it was difficult for you to have your wings clipped for so many months, but it sounds as though you transformed your challenge into an opportunity for going deeper.
    Even though most of us (at least in our culture) don’t want to think of our lives ending, it’s really the only way that we can fully embrace this precious gift of life. Being able to sit with my fears and sadness and to know there is also always joy is one of the things that attracted me to Buddhism many years ago. Thank you for a beautiful, thoughtful post.

    • Thanks Laurel. I have graduated from hand therapy and now it is up to me to continue my exercises, which I fully intend to do. I still wait up each morning with two stiff fingers but is doesn’t take as long to get them limber as it did a few months ago. I am told it will still take another 6 months before the stiffness and discomfort leaves but I am happy with where I am. I agree with your views about embracing each day, which is why Buddhism resonates with me as well. We head out on Monday for a road trip back to the Midwest to visit family and friends. Looking forward to getting on the road again.

  • LuAnn, I’m glad to hear your finger has healed, and you’re ready for some autumn adventures. Frank Ostaseski quote is a good reminder to really live while we can. Have a fun autumn!

  • Gayl and I are sure glad that you are getting back into the swing of things, LuLu. We know that you enjoy exploring and seeing new things all of the time. We know that down in your neck of the woods, the old Trumper guy isn’t very popular and that is a valid way to see the situation. We feel the same up here, but we also know that our enjoyment of our retirement is also so very important. Since my stroke several months ago, it really wakes a person up and we are trying to still enjoy our lives. Darn it, the good old guy Burt is only two months younger than me and this really woke me up. I know that Terry is experiencing a lot of mortality feelings, the same as me and we all need to maximize our enjoyment of life every day. Keep up the positive view of things in life and we hope to see you guys sometime in the near future……….Rog and Gayl

    • Thanks for the very thoughtful comment. We wish we would have been able to come visit you two this summer. The short stints away from the park unfortunately were always in the direction of Poway, for my twice and thrice weekly therapy sessions. You and Gayl have been on our minds and I hope that life is getting closer to normal, or more of an acceptable normal, since your stroke. Terry has taken a hard look at his own mortality these past several years. As long as we can keep moving, we hope to continue our wanderlust. Big hugs to you both!

  • Glad to hear from you and happy that you are on the mend. When you were on your trip you hardly mentioned the pain you were in. And now months have gone by and finally you are healing. So happy for you.

    The Pennsylvania heat coupled with humidity was unbearable into September this year. Which made for outdoor projects early in the morning.

    Hoping for a cooler fall in our beloved Arizona.

    Looking forward to your Autumn adventures!

    • Thanks Nancy. Knowing I would most likely never get back to Patagonia again, I wasn’t going to let a little finger injury get me down. I’m looking forward to hitting the road again!

  • Well, as your thoughts turned more toward introspection this summer, obviously so did your photography! Wow, what beautiful photos revealing your intimacy with nature!

  • Having had our own hot summer daze last year, I can so relate 🙂 But the upside is your fingers are healing! It must not have been your shutter finger, otherwise, your wonderful close-up photos are outstanding! Of course its not the shutter finger it’s your eye and composition that produce sharp photos.
    I will check out the book you just read, for my anxiety rises up when I think of death.

    • Thanks MonaLiza! My hot summer and my hand injury was nothing compared to what you and Steve have gone through. I smile every time you post photos of the two of you out on the trails, once again living life to the fullest! I do think it serves all of us better to embrace the notion of death. Not that any of us want it to happen soon but I do believe doing so allows us to embrace each day more fully and live in the present. It seems you and Steve do just that these days!

  • We are going to be in Ohio for Fall for the first time in ten years. I do look forward to seeing all the gorgeous colors.
    Your finger injury sounds terrible. I could hardly read about it. I’m glad you’re on the mend. Do the therapy because it really really will helps in the end.

    • It has been six months since my injury and in another six I hopefully will be back to where I was before the fall. My therapist has worked wonders and with daily work, I can do most everything I love to do. It’s all good. I hope you are improving every day Marsha. You are the consummate role model for doing what it takes to heal. Hugs

  • More adventures, yay! Once one wanders, it becomes an unquenchable thirst to see more and experience all the world has to offer. Your blog is a bad, good influence!

  • I’m glad I checked my Reader for you today … for some reason, I am not getting notifications that you have posted even though I have set things up to do so. Anyway, glad to hear that you are on the mend and that you found something inspiring to do while stuck inside. I’ll have to check out the book. And what beautiful photos!

  • Whether you are writing a travelogue and taking me on your adventures, or writing about your time ‘stuck’ in SoCal, I enjoy your thought processes. Thanks for a lovely post, LuAnn. Enjoy autumn and travels! I leave Sunday for hopefully a final installment of Yellowstone River to the Missouri. We’ll still have a short section to finish next year, but here’s hoping we get to the confluence this year! It will be big water but hopefully no ‘dancing waters’ as we had last year. I confess to a bit of anxiety, though. But warmer gear, and knowing what to expect from our scouting excursion last year will see us through. We’ve decided that we will not get picked up–if we must we’ll wait out bad weather in our tents somewhere along the shore. May the sun shine on all of us during the next few weeks!

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