Longshot

The Daily Prompt today is Against All Odds for writers and Longshot for photographers. The idea is for us to write “about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed.” My initial thought was to just do this photograph as a ‘longshot’ because the ‘against all odds’ didn’t resonate with me. I had times that were tough, when I thought the odds were stacked against me, but getting through them didn’t feel like a triumph. It was what I had to do. Period. Tough times are the balance to the easy times, no trophies expected.

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I am at the age of almost-70 and my developmental task is to look back 0n my life and come to terms with how it turned out. The easy times are a slam dunk; no need to come to terms with those years. What is left are those blocks of time when everything fell apart, when fate struck me down, when life wasn’t as I wanted it.  We all have them, times when we feel wounded, stuck, angry, afraid.

How many times have I said “I don’t need this!” I didn’t want those tough times, my life would have been better without them. I didn’t want to go down that road, tread that path. They were unwanted twists and turns in the plot of my life story. During the really bad times my fear was lodged in the pit of my stomach. There was that hollow feeling that life was over, life would never get better.

Of course, when I went through those tough times I was in the middle of my unfolding life story, not at the end – not yet. I was in the long, ongoing process of writing my life script, of becoming who I am. (Does our life story develop us or do we develop our life story?) Where I was and what was happening to me wasn’t congruent with what I felt I needed or how I thought about myself.

In those early adult years I took control of my life and knew what was expected of me. I came of age before the sexual revolution, before women demanded choices. I didn’t have many choices but I was in control – is that a non sequitur? As I look back, does it matter if I wanted to marry and have kids or did it because it was the expected thing to do?

I want to believe my daughters benefited from all those burned bras. One chose to have a career without marriage, the other married, had kids, and put her career on hold. I wonder if they will look back and wonder if they made the right decisions. Both had times of suffering and frustration along the way, both had times of joy and satisfaction. Will they have regrets, will they look back with a sense of integrity?

There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.     Kazuo Ishiguro

How different my perspective is at almost-70 than at earlier times. In earlier times that hollow feeling of fear in my stomach, the fear that my life would never get back on track, was understandable. I had no way of knowing what the future would hold.

Our view of the future is finite; sometimes we can see over the next hill, sometimes not, and sometimes not very clearly. Sometimes we distort our vision. We make our life decisions blindly – decisions to act or not, to stand steady or bend. My decisions were somewhere in the shadows between dreams outside my awareness and family needs grounded in reality.

As my life story unfolded I pushed hard to arrive, whatever that means. I was impatient for whatever it was that I was after. I was always mindful of what I wanted to be and do when I grew up, whenever that is. Sometimes I couldn’t go down a path, and sometimes the only path available was one that wasn’t in the plan. You know, that shadowy plan that would lead to that place called arrived.  I enjoyed some sojourns at arrived but they seemed short, probably because sojourns in the mud-holes of life seemed so long.

Now that I am almost-70 and looking back over the landscape of my life, I see that all was necessary. Somewhere in the landscape of the last half of my life, these paths have woven together into a beautiful pattern. I can see that no path was for naught, each was needed for my life to have integrity in the end.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. Douglas Adams

I have been writing like I have arrived, at the end. This almost-70 age is fast becoming 70. It occupies a lot of my thinking, not in a dreaded way, but in a way that means it is significant. Once again I am wondering what the future holds but I can’t see clearly. Once again I am wondering what I need to do to arrive, now that I see death on the horizon of my life story. I am worried about the inevitables of aging – losing my husband, leaving my husband, children getting really sick, cancer. My goal has been to grow old gracefully but now that I’m here I don’t know what graceful looks like. What I do know is that I have a wonderful Lord to lead me, and I come from a long line of very strong women.

That is probably enough for me to make it to my final arrival, but if anyone out there knows how to be 70-something gracefully, I would like to hear from you.

To hear more stories you can visit the Daily Post:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/daily-prompt-against-all-odds/

Tagged Y: Yesterday

Day before yesterday I thought of this “Y” but that was a busy day. Yesterday was our “Wandering Photographers” morning and then I took a loooonnnnng nap after we returned. Isn’t it amazing how quickly the yesterdays pile up. Somewhere in our 40’s we realize that we have more yesterdays than we have tomorrows. We shift from thinking about how long we have been alive to wondering how long we have to live. We begin to wonder if time is running out.

Good morning, Evening Primrose. Yesterday was your day.

Good morning, Evening Primrose. Yesterday was your day.

One of the advantages of having a lot of yesterdays, is that I have a lot of memories. Not that I live in the past – it’s just that so many things trigger memories of things I’ve done, places I’ve been, experiences I’ve had. My memories are good company in my quiet moments, bringing a smile to my face and a giggle to my soul.

Good morning, New Dawn Rose.

Good morning, New Dawn Rose.

I am ready to face a new day while hanging on to my yesterdays. Not all of them were good yesterdays, but I think I’ve forgiven those who have made yesterdays painful. I’ve also forgiven myself for the mistakes I made in the long ago yesterdays. I wish I could say I would do things differently if I were given another chance – but I don’t think I would. I did the best I could, with who I was, and where I was at the time. I was “good enough”. Now I have things to do with my new day.

Good morning, sunshine.

Good morning, sunshine.

Good morning sun. Thank you for a wonderful yesterday.

And thank you Frizz for another week of challenges. To see more “Y” interpretations go to:

http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/tagged-y/

Issyk-Kul lake

Thus far I have shared my experience in Kyrgyzstan of spending a couple of days at Son Kul where I slept in a yurt and learned how to milk a mare. We also traveled around Issyk-Kul lake. It is believed that the Chinese traveler Jan Chan Tzan explored this lake in 128 BC as part of his 6-year travels. The lake is a tourist area in the northeast corner of Kyrgyzstan, close to Kazakhstan and China.

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English: from cia wfb

English: from cia wfb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now a little information for those of you who like numbers. It is 668 meters deep at the deepest point making it the 5th deepest lake in the world. It is the world’s second largest mountain lake at 1606m above see level.

Issyk Kul is Kyrgyz for “warm lake” but it isn’t! We sat on the south side of the lake and put our feet in the water – for a little while. The only thing that made it tolerable was the very hot sun. The real reason why it is called warm lake is that it doesn’t freeze in the winter. It is probably due to the fact that it is at the bottom of a drainage hollow and has no outlet so the only way water is lost is through evaporation. This gives it a slightly salty composition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASharon and I were able to hire a driver with a van and a guide for 5 days with accommodations in homes that provided supper, B&B and a picnic lunch each day for a total of 777 USD – what a deal. This is our tour guide, Azamat, who is Kyrgyz and is decedent from a khan. And he likes Kumis!

Here are some of my favorite pictures and stories from our trek around Issyk Kul.

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In the town of Karakol our driver let the three of us off at the mosque and then we walked through the town to the Orthodox Church. We were able to go inside the Orthodox Church to see the paintings and to purchase icons.

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My picture of the inside of the church isn’t real good but I always feel like I’m violating the sanctity of places of worship by taking pictures of the interiors.

The walk to the Orthodox church was uphill and about half way up we came upon the town market. Sharon pointed out that the woman sitting on the steps was a beggar. I was intrigued so, being tired, I sat on the step a ways from her and we smiled at each other.

Aug08 00036After a couple of minutes I moved closer and because she looked Russian, Sharon asked her in Russian if we could take her picture. She seemed pleased to oblige.

Her family is local and we learned that she has grand children and a new great grandchild. She was very proud of them – they were all well established but there isn’t a pension in Kyrgyzstan so she was begging to bring in a little more money. Azamat was somewhat bewildered as to why I would speak with her and concerned – or just curious so he sat behind where he could hear our conversation.

I thanked her and paid her for the privilege of taking her picture and sitting by her on the market step.

On the edge of Karakol was the town cemetery with the beautiful backdrop of mountains that were visible from everywhere.

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The landscape changed frequently as we rode along the southern side of the lake.

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Our driver took us to an area along the lake that wasn’t developed and to get there we drove along the floor of what they described as motley clay mountains. This was an extremely rough ride over boulders and through ditches with high canyon walls rising on either side. Even with seat belts on we were thrown around the back seat. I thought my all my insides were going to be shaken loose and my spine broken apart. He went through places that I didn’t think possible – and he was loving it.

But we were rewarded with a time to look for beautiful stones along the beach, sit and cool our feet in the water, and a picnic lunch – in the usual tail-gate style.

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This is the market square in the village of Kochkor.

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On this square was a shop where they made felt and quilted handicrafts and had a store where their crafts could be bought.

I bought some wonderful felt craft objects and a pillow cover made of antique embroidery.

After a supper of soup and bread at our B&B we went for a walk in the neighborhood. These young boys were more than eager to pose for us.

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The next morning as we were leaving for our trip to Son Kul, we asked if the owner of the B&B would pose with us for a picture. She said yes but asked us to wait for a moment. When she reappeared she had on her traditional attire

This was a Kyrgyz woman of prestige and social standing which she was very proud of. Her deceased husband had been a doctor and a director of a hospital so he would have been trained in Russia. She had large portraits on the walls which is fairly uncommon in Kyrgyzstan and enjoyed using her nice table service when she served us our meals.

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