June 03, 2010

Random Reflections.

I am back from my involuntary break caused by the call of science. Paper is submitted and now begins the nerve wracking wait as it is distributed for peer review. It will be criticized and scrutinized in details, most likely rejected by the third reviewer, asking for more proof and additional experiments.

Thus it is best to forget about it and once again divert some of my creativity into a more relaxed writing.

Having no posts prepared, here are some random reflections that have been occupying my mind and my thoughts, briefly or more intensely in the last few days.

I have noticed that from time to time, there is a public manifestation of joint bad driving days. The air pressure or air quality, the weather pattern or some other unseen phenomenon affect our collective consciousness, giving rise to a certain chaos in traffic.
This past Monday was one of those days. I was on several occasions stuck behind such bad drivers, that they had no business being on the road. People were braking and speeding randomly as if they were alone in traffic, using their turn signals on a whim (while turning in the opposite direction) and appeared under the influence of something. It was a strange morning drive to work indeed, causing my irritation level to rise periodically.

Leaving bad drivers behind, I have recently started to seriously contemplate old age. I notice the elderly more and most of all differently than I used to. When I was young, old age was largely removed from my thinking. It appeared as an extremely distant future that felt very remote and alien. I recall being fifteen years old, talking to my grandmother, on one of her last visits with us before she passed away. I asked her then how it felt to be close to eighty, when my own lifespan of only one and a half decade appeared already as an eternity. To additionally live more than five times my age came across as absolutely endless. She only chuckled and then replied amusingly; "One day you will know".
And sure enough, that day has come, even though sooner than I expected. Now I am half that age and my perception of time has changed considerably, as it moves with incomprehensible speed forward, increasing exponentially by each passing year.
I watched two elderly ladies at a buss stop the other day, wondering where they were going and if they were happy. Were they in good health? Did they feel like there was still something to look forward to? Did they feel lonely? Did they have families or not? At the grocery store last week an old lady was at the cashier in front of me. Her hands shook uncontrollably and paying for her purchase was a major struggle for her, causing the line behind us grow longer and more impatient. As I helped her with her groceries, I felt a wave of strong empathy wash over me, as I wondered if I will one day, in not so distant future, find myself in the same situation. This sensation left me with a sting of melancholy...

Moving on to more amusing issues, my shower tap broke the other day. The dispenser started giving me trouble a few months ago, when it began to drip. Within the last weeks the dripping escalated and developed into a weak stream of water. As I do not like to waste water and additionally I do pay for water, I was forced to finally call a repair man to come and fix it.
These are one of the times when I miss the presence of man in the house. If my Irishman was here, he could take a look at the dispenser and decide what should be done. Instead I rely on the smiling face of a stranger telling me in no uncertain way that a repair is futile and that the whole thermostatic mixer needs to be replaced. I feel so very ignorant standing there, trying to mobilize all my brain power, using all of my female intuition in order to ascertain whether he is telling me the truth or just seeing an opportunity to make some money off a clueless female. I try to ask the right questions, but eventually I always give in, trusting the professional standing in my house, realizing that I can simply not control everything. Thus I spend a fortune this week, but my shower is no longer dripping.

Before I bore everyone silly with a long post, let me leave you with a few pictures taken close to and right after midnight on Tuesday. The neighbourhood was fast asleep and as opened the windows, I felt an urge to step outside. Giving into the sensation, as I entered the yard, I experienced a magical moment. My solar lamps were casting a warm glow into a still night. All I could hear were frogs in a nearby pond. The air was unusually warm, humid and scented with shrubs in bloom, among others lilac.
And the night was light.
While in the west the remains of a stunning sunset still coloured the skies red, as I gazed in almost the opposite direction over the nearby roofs, the imminence of sunrise was already apparent in the north east. These beautiful views signal the impending White Nights culmination.

For the first this year I felt that winter has finally ended. In nature and in my perception as well.


Elizabeth said...

Glad you are back!!!!

Have the most gorgeous, sunny day Denmark has to offer.

xoxo Elizabeth

Avo said...

Welcome back!
What is your paper on?

As per usual, lovely shots, though this time I think I like your description of the moment even better.

Congratulations on your private spring solstice. ; j

Gal Friday said...

I *knew* I needed your blog this morning(am feeling so droopy and tired)to cheer me with it's contemplative thoughts and skies photos!
I have noticed that also--those days where the bad drivers all seem to be out in force(or the most annoying customers all come into the shop in one day). I am just glad you stayed clear enough of them to be safe, yourself, on the road.

As I approach the half a century mark, I think about what is ahead from time to time. Right now I try to be grateful that my body is still working the way I want it too. Which is why I never mind if I have to walk a longer way in a parking lot or stand all day at work(well, maybe I mind that a little)--at least for now I can still do it with ease.

Cat in the road said...

“Bad drivers” – You are not alone in your perception. I have over 200,000 miles under my belt. I see that weather has a big impact on drivers. The beginning of warmer temperatures brings out a primal instinct of aggression.
“Getting older” – You say your Grandma chuckled amusingly. There’s a reason for that and you’ll see as your time comes. Hint; It’s not as bad as you think.
As far as the repairman, rely on your female intuition. If he sounds like a crook, get a second opinion. Gut instincts are usually correct.
Last but not least, the beginning of a new day is a “magical moment.” Collect as many of these as you can and one day you’ll ‘chuckle’ too.

Paul C said...

So interesting to read about your random reflections. It was kind of you to help the lady in line with her groceries. Yes, encroaching age becomes more apparent to me as well. Also how interesting to see tangible evidence of your white nights documented so well. You have a beautiful vista.

Ramakrishnan said...

Hi Zuzana
Dropped by through Fashion Panache.I was delighted to read your very interesting blog. your para on bad driving habits & drivers sounded like a scene from a typical Indian city - Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai.
As regards changes in perception with aging I totally agree. I am 60 now and well my perceptions have undergone a sea change ! And the shower dispenser repair - is a common occurence.
The pics of the sunset at mid night was so fascinating - any way you belong to the land of the mid night sun

Hilary said...

I used to think that 30 was old. Then 40. I still hear a news report or some tale about someone who is 50 something and I immediately think "old guy".. until I realize.. "Wait, I'm 55! And I'm still really young!" Numbers are the culprit.. not age.

I try to alleviate my lack of knowledge about repairs by going online and looking up all the info I can find about the problem. Occasionally I've learned that I could fix a few things myself. Other times, at least I know what to expect.

Love your sunsets and rises.. that always fascinates me.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

I also am curious as to what your paper is about. Do tell. The change of perception about aging is a weird phenomenon. I am continually amazed at how fast time is going these days (I'm 59). One's attitude is everything. I would never trade the wisdom that I've gained, but I do check myself for the inward spiral of self pity or the morose negativism that takes away joy. Each day is a gift whether you are young or old. A wise friend of mine says, "Your problem is not what happens to you but how you respond to what happens to you."

Claus said...

Welcome back! You were missed :-)
I hope the shower problem gets solved; there is no worse feeling than that one of having a problem at home, and not being able to fix it oneself, or someone you trust completely.
Age...time certainly has been flying by quicker from the moment I turned 16. When I turned 17, I asked myself when the entire previous year had gone, and it was then that I started noticing the pages of a yearly calendar go by faster. Just like with death, being alone inmy elder years is rather worrying, and try to avoid the subject, but I know I will have address it at some point, and that day might come sooner than I expect it. Not a fun thing to look forward to.
Hope your day is going well!!

young-eclectic-encounters said...

Sometimes it is nice to just go with the flow and ramble along with our thoughts. This was a very thoughtful post with much in it to contemplate. Thanks so much for sharing Johnina :^A

Anonymous said...

Your post hits home. I am now 64 and am beginning to feel the autumn of my life. It makes you appreciate each day more.

Brian Miller said...

welcome back...was good too see your comments yesterday...bad drivers, we got them, and sometimes i may be guilty, st least that is what the judge says...old age, only when i allow it, smiles and then i will go gracefully, maybe....your pics are amazing! had a beast of a day today...working since 6 AM and not done until 8PM so i grabbed a few minutes...see you soon!


always love visiting your place, zuzana - wonderful conversation and fantastic images - nothing better!!! have a glorious day!

Anonymous said...
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sprinkles said...

Welcome back, I've missed you!

I totally get what you mean about getting older. Recently, I went with a friend to a nursing home. She was going to be entertaining them with a dance and I was there to help her with the music. I looked around and felt quite sad, wondering how many of them would still be around a year from now. I also wondered what their lives were like. Because we were there to entertain them, they were all quite happy to see us.

A few weeks later, I had to go back for something totally unrelated. I saw some of the same people sitting in the front room. None of them seemed to be paying much attention to the others and it brought back all that sadness, wondering once again what their lives used to be and just how different it all must be now. It also made me wonder what my life will be like when I get to be their age.

Anonymous said...

Getting older is something that has definitely given me pause for thought as I... well, get older. I don't want to be that old guy that most people will probably just dismiss and fly past in all their enviable youth, but sadly that's becoming a reality. If I can't prevent my ageing, then I shall have to learn how to preserve a semblance of dignity instead.

Thanks for the insightful read, Zuzana. Much appreciated. :)

Julie Hibbard said...

Your mind wanders...and wonders. I love it...
I look forward to the day we have a few drinks together!! OH what conversation we will have!

Anonymous said...

That was a very profound piece of writing. It made me stop and think that I should step outside the next time I can't sleep. It is very quiet in our neighborhood too and I love it. Hope the leaky shower gets repaired without paying a fortune.

steviewren said...

I'm back as well! I drove in from Texas last night....13 hours in the car listening to a book by Douglas Preston.

Glad your paper is done. Like you, I always worked like crazy beforehand and then put it behind me once the work was done. I hope your reviewers are all pleased with what they read.

I remember the first time I looked at my own hands but saw my grandmother's papery skin. Oh my! I'll be 56 soon...too soon!

Love the pictures of your midnight sky. I have always wanted to see what sundown/sunup was like in Scandinavia.

United Studies said...

I have always thought the same way you do concerning traffic! Especially here in the Washington DC area...it is always a bad traffic day!

Hope you have a wonderful and restful weekend.

Brenda Pruitt said...

Actually, I found your "reflections of the details of your current life" very interesting. You can make the mundane sound exciting. Isn't it funny how some people can do that? I am 53, so at a point where I view the old ladies in the grocery line and know that time for me is not all that far in the future. If I'm lucky enough to get there!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I LOVE your "random" reflections...You have such a beautiful soul that you bring a revelatory thoughtfulness to every aspect of life...I loved your thoughts about your grandmother, growing older, and the two senior women at the bus stop...and your words about the night time and end of winter? Written with all the characteristic loveliness of your poetic prose! Doesn't much matter what you write or post, you do it beautifully! And the photos are fantastic! Have a terrific weekend! Love, Janine XO

SandyCarlson said...

I hope all goes well with your paper. You sure have been busy. Your sunset photos are really wonderful.

Mahmud Yussop said...

Ha ha, I'll comment on aging. I have a simple philospohy about this: Accept early that you're getting older and a lot wiser each day so that you play your age. It's fun really. I'm now just more than half a century old! But wait to me life begins at 50!They will be more opportunities for life adventures no doubt in the years ahead ( God willing )for I believe a life well lived is by far the greatest mark that I could leave for my children and great grandchildren to know.
Ok, take life by one stride a time because we just cannot solve the world's problems.
Have a lovely weekend and for once let life cruise along.

Cheryl Kohan said...

First of all, I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE the photo of the typewriter in the field!! It's fantastic.

Next, I thoroughly enjoyed your random thoughts, today! It illustrates that life is much the same no matter where in the world we live.

Traffic and lousy drivers are rampant here in the U.S. We also have the same misgivings about plumbers and electricians and other worker-types who may or may not be giving us a truthful diagnosis.

As for getting old...I just keep telling myself that I'm only as old as I feel. I feel young until I glance in the mirror and think, "Who is that??"...oh, it's ME! I absolutely do not mind getting old. However, I never want to stop learning new things and I think if you keep learning, you'll stay young.

Love the sunsets, Zuzana...what a nice way to end your post.

Unknown said...

Very nice reflections here! I like that advice "One day you will know"! Cool! :)

Zuzana said...

Elizabeth, Alesa, Tina, Scribe, Paul, Ramakrishnan (welcome), Hilary, Richard, Claudia, Johnina, The Bach, Brian, Gypsywoman, sprinkles, Tony (welcome), Julie, QMM, Stevie, Jacki, Brenda, Janine, Sandy, Mahmood, Sandi, Cheryl and Michael, thank you so much for lasting through this mammoth of a post.
I enjoyed reading your own sentiments when it comes to traffic, getting older and fixing things around the house. Your lovely words made me nod in recognition and made me smile. And I learned a thing or two.;)

Your kind visits mean the world to me, thank you for always finding the time to let me know you were here.


Rosezilla (Tracie Walker) said...

Sorry I'm late, but I'm here at last. Loved the post! And I love those old typewriters, like in the first picture. Hope things go well with your paper. I remember meeting my future husband's grandmother when I was 17 and she was 77. She told me she felt as young as I was, and then she looked in the mirror and was so surprised to see that she didn't look as young as she felt. Now I understand better what she meant, but that comment always stayed with me as I grew up. I have loved my life, even tho it has been very hard sometimes - there are so many beautiful things to balance out the ugly. And I always feel like "the best is yet to be." A new kind of beauty is always just around the corner. Culminating in the ultimate beauty of heaven with my precious Lord and Savior for an eternity! I'm just ahead of you, and it just gets better and better.