From West with the Night by Beryl Markham ....
"Africa is never the same to anyone who leaves it and returns again. It is not a land of change, but it is a land of mood and its moods are numberless. It is not fickle, but because it has mothered not only men, but races and cradled not only cities, but civilizations - and seem them die, and see new ones born again --- Africa can be dispassionate, indifferent, warm or cynical, replete with the weariness of too much wisdom.
Today Africa may seem to be that ever promised land, almost achieved, but tomorrow it may be a dark land again, drawn into itself, contemptuous, and impatient with the futility of eager men who have scrambled over it since the experiment of Eden. In the family of continents, Africa is the silent, the brooding sister, courted for centuries by knight-errant empires --- rejecting them one by one and severally, because she is too sage and a little bored with the importunity of it all."
I read Beryl Markham's memoir at the end of last year, it is a wonderful read ! If you are interested in the human spirit, courage, culture, adventure, and anything to do with flying, this is a wonderful story.
In addition the book is extremely well written, the language is beautiful, almost poetry, the breath of perspective and contemplation at key times in the author's life are universal and timeless. After reading the book, I did come across several articles that challenge who actually wrote this book; regardless if it was Markham or a ghost writer, whoever put pen to paper, their writing is wonderful. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read. The book was published in 1942, Markham was 40 years old at the time. She died in 1986.
I'm still on Africa time, not sure why it is taking so long for me to not be wide awake at 4am and tired and sleepy by 8pm. I'm sure in a few more days my wake/sleep will adjust to EST. I finally transitioned from 24 days of being on the road, on airplanes, in hotels, staying with friends, to being settled into my Florida routine.
Today I rode my bike 10 miles, it was a handsome day, the sky bright and blue and clear, just enough wind to cool the afternoon ride, I was in shorts and t-shirt, it was that nice. Yesterday I walked for an hour on the beach with Ana and Parker, I so enjoyed the proximity to the water, the waves, the sounds, the salty air ! Maddie and Morgan are coming back to JAX next weekend, it will be nice to have them back.
February and March are project months for me. I will have cataract surgery soon and will be close to home recovering from the right eye, and then the left eye is scheduled. Per the MD, I will not be restricted on any activities, movement, etc. I can't lift anything over 20 lbs and have to wear sunglasses and put drops in my eyes 4 times a day for I think seven days post the surgery. Dr. Schneider told me that the veil of wax paper that creates the blurred vision, will soon be lifted and I will see clearly soon ! I loved that analogy and I'm looking forward to that day.
I'm currently serving as "secretary" on the HOA Board of the community where I live in Jacksonville. The first board meeting for 2017 is this coming Monday. We have 400 units, so it is much more complex than serving on the board of the HOA where I lived in Atlanta, there we had 47 homes. I'm learning about many new things, contracts, vendors, collections, etc. And meeting wonderful people in the process.
I'm also working with a small group of people to help plan an informal reunion in September for employees of Cox Communications in San Juan Capistrano, CA. We had an amazing group of people there during the late 1990's when Cox first launched high speed data and telephone and we've all expressed an interest to get together, will see how this idea evolves.
My personal project that's been on tap for some time, family photos, archives, documents. I moved 11 boxes from Atlanta full of family memories. During February and March, I will be going through all that I have and will be making some sense of order, history, cataloging, digitizing and saving for my niece and nephew, JoAnn and Rogelio. I'm sure I will find treasures !
I signed up for two classes at the local college UNF, University of North Florida. Their continuing education program is amazing and the campus is about 5 minutes from where I live. I signed up for a class, HOW TO BE A PROLIFIC WRITER and also a Self-Defense class, where an ex swat officer will review all the legal weapons that can be purchased for self-defense, that are in addition to having a firearm. Since I walk Maddie and Morgan usually three times per day, I figured this type of class would be interesting and beneficial. I'm all for being informed.
There is an after-school program sponsored by the city of Jacksonville that supports children whose parents don't get home till 5pm. I met someone who volunteers at the center where the children go after their regular school day is over, she said it is a great program, lots of activities for the children, education, cultural, etc. I'm going to inquire about possible volunteer opportunities with this program.
I was supposed to start rowing again in March. Due to the weight lifting restriction I may have to postpone. Lifting the eight person shell or scull and getting it to and from the dock is not trivial. The shell I learned to row in weighs 222 lbs., that weight disbursed among the eight rowers, almost 30 lbs. person. And its a bit awkward when you lift overhead and then drop in the water, I would rather not push my limits when it comes to eye surgery recovery. The Saint John River I'm sure will still be there in April or May.
And on we go, February 2017 ! ! GO ATLANTA FALCONS ! !