It’s pretty hard to concentrate with water dripping from the end of your nose.
I discovered this on World Tai Chi Day when I joined other members of the Empty Step Tai Chi Association in front of the Museum of Glass in Tacoma for what we hoped would be a semi-dazzling demonstration of our tai chi skills.
It turned out to be a drizzling demonstration in the pouring rain.
It’s the only time I’ve ever seen the Tai Chi Sword Form performed with closed umbrellas for swords. Rain in the Pacific Northwest is never totally unexpected but it does take away from the overall effect.
One value of tai chi is that the learned relaxation and concentration skills are supposed to help you deal with unexpected difficulties such as this. Experts advise that it’s helpful to visualize a positive outcome when dealing with unexpected stress. The trouble is that in this age of convenience, unexpected difficulties seem to be getting harder to manage.
Take the matter of eating healthy foods. At my last exam, my doctor observed darkly that “Jesus is looking for you with a lasso.” I am not just sure what he meant, but it certainly didn’t sound good.
I decided to start a program of improvement. I thought it could be good to increase my healthy regimen and eat more green vegetables. Those bagged salads at the supermarket would make it easy, and a far cry from the days when my mom and I dug wild dandelions from the banks of the Kootenai River for our salad greens. The wide choice of prepared salads seem a convenient route to healthy eating.
It did seem that way until I learned that those chopped and bagged salads and other produce are now responsible for half of the cases of food poisoning reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Too much handling and processing as we consume more produce are the culprits. It looks like I’m going to have to go back to chopping salad with my own geriatric fingers, after careful washing, of course. It’s not easy to be convenient.
At least I don’t have to worry about monitoring my food supply, because whenever my kids visit, they throw everything out of the refrigerator.
As near as I can tell their life mission has become to correct the mistakes I’m making. They seem to find plenty to work with.
Number One Son visited recently and immediately began to throw out any food l couldn’t precisely identify. Heck, it’s just getting interesting at that point. Look at the interesting pink froth on that last dish. There are, he informed me, 2,000 types of bacteria that can cause home food poisoning.
Apparently he found an example of every one of them.
I comfort myself by remembering that unexpected difficulty has always been part of our journey toward progress, and trying something new often has unexpected results.
For instance, the members of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition were terribly sick after eating Camas bulbs, which were a staple food out here on the prairies.
On Sept. 20, 1805, after feasting on Camas when guests of the Nez Perce, William Clark wrote in his journal, “I am very sick to-day.” By Sept. 23, Clark wrote, “Several men so sick they were compelled to lie by the side of the road.” And, he added, “Capt. Lewis too sick to ride a Jentle horse.”
We don’t know if the Corps of Discovery visualized a positive outcome from the Camas catastrophe. We do know that, after experiencing three solid months of rain — or what we call normal Northwest weather — the journal contained the entry that the Pacific Northwest would never be fit for settlers to prosper.
It’s important to build a series of good workable skills to deal with unexpected change. It’s a work in progress.
Being a mom means dealing with change daily. I’ve been a dues-paying mom for more than 60 years now, and I know I’ll never again get a gift to surpass the eight-pound baby boy who was born on Mother’s Day a half century ago. A wonderful present but hard to wrap.
There will continue to be surprises. One missionary writing of the Lewis and Clark voyage observed that fermented Camas could be used to make beer, and that after consuming the brew, he observed “strong odors accompanied by loud noises.”
You could say that about the baby, too.
Dorothy Wilhelm is a professional humorist, columnist, author and broadcaster. Reach her at PO Box 881, DuPont, WA 998327. Phone 800-548-9264. Podcast, Swimming Upstream on website www.itsnevertoolate.com. Email Dorothy@itsnevertoolate.com.
Join Dorothy for lunch
Dorothy Wilhelm will give the keynote address, “Let The Sunshine In,” at Franke’s Follies, a benefit of Franke Tobey Jones Senior Community Living Center. She will speak at 11:30 a.m. May 17 at the Tacoma Yacht Club, 5401 Yacht Club Rd. Tickets are $45. RSVP with Terri Vickery at 253-756-6327.