How do I account for myself? The last three weeks are a blur, and the last two days have been lived inside my head, pretty much, because of the rain and the cold winds. Even with a jacket on, being outside wasn’t real pleasant (though I keep reminding myself how unpleasant it is in Northern Michigan right now).
But back to the question, what have I done? Well, I think, I’ve pretty much walked every day. That was a primary goal for me, because I certainly wasn’t getting enough exercise at home. I don’t go far: I still don’t have the stamina for a good, long, fast hike—but it’s fun to able up and down the little streets of the town. The houses are pretty primitive, many without electricity and most accompanied by outhouses. People don’t have yards, either: it’s hard to grow grass on a coral reef. But there’s lush vegetation everywhere—many plants we find in grocery stories to take home: elephant ears, corn plants, aloe. And flowering ones too: hibiscus and morning glories everywhere. And then, of course, coconut palms, sea grape, and various types of pines. Gardening here is not planting things you do want, but getting rid of the things you don’t.
And all the greenery covers up a multitude of eyesores. Abandoned buildings look romantic, with half-standing masonry walls and flowering fines. Rusting trucks and old appliances disappear from view in a matter of weeks. And glass and trash can be buried in the weeds of decades.
Most of the houses here are concrete, with thick walls for insulation. They stand up well against hurricanes—the roofs are the first to go, it seems. Niceties like window glass and screens aren’t always present, either—often the hurricane barriers like shutters or plywood sheets remain nailed to the windows until well into the summer months. As I walk, I play a guessing game: is someone living in a house, or is it abandoned? Often I can’t tell, unless there’s some laundry hanging out on the line.
So I walk, taking a few photos to use as subjects for photos or sketches. My leg still hurts some, and I’m not very graceful, but I’ve pretty much been all over town and up and down the shoreline, but I’m closer to my goal of getting some strength and endurance back.
I’ve done some work, too. Did a housing statistics analysis for one MLS, and completed some writing (which may never see the light of day) for another. I’ve done some blogging, too, and I’m starting another project which may assist real estate associations through some very difficult transitions. Right now, though, I am waiting on my internet connection: it got very sporadic during the last Big Blow, and as I write this, only two out of six green lights are blinking on the cable modem, which means that the internet connection is down.
And I’ve read and painted. Painting, too, was one of those primary goals, and I try to spend each day at it. Am I getting better? Probably not. I am a long way from those delicate watercolorists I so admire, and it occurs to me that may never be my style because I’m not a subtle personality. On the other hand, it may just be that as I try to cover up my mistakes, my paintings just get darker and more colorful. (I wish Roseann were here to be my gentle guide!)
Being the kind of person I am, it’s much easier to write about all the things I haven’t done…and the list is long. I am most tempted to launch into a full-blown recital of them, but hey! I remind myself, who cares? Only I do, and that’s only because I have many years of “shoulds” to overcome. I remind myself that here on the island, the boat only comes once a week!