Friday, September 28, 2012

Birds, bikes and starfish

     You can’t see them in this photo. 
     As I ran past a small pond this morning, a large white egret flew in, without even a single flap of her snowy wings.  At almost the same moment, a great blue heron took off across the pond with a couple of strong, slow flaps, looking like a small airplane, almost skimming the top of the water.  Two large birds in full flight, crossing paths, reflected in the water below.
     I stopped running to watch.  I didn't have a camera or even my cell phone so the photograph exists only in my mind.  I've written and deleted several drafts thinking about the metaphor or the message - but realized all I need to say is that it was beautiful.  It was a magnificent moment and thankfully, I had enough sense to stop running and pay attention. I pulled out my earbuds, silenced Lady Gaga, and listened to the sounds of the pond.
        The egret sailed across the street to another pond.  The heron landed on the far side and carefully folded his wings.  I watched for another moment, put my earbuds back in and started running again. But I remembered the silent, tranquil flight of those birds all day. 


     I bought a new bike a few weeks ago, and suddenly I feel like I'm part of a different world. There is a new language (cadence, century, peloton), a new wardrobe (which must include padded bike shorts), and most of all new community. People I had never met approach me to compliment my bike, share favorite places to ride, ask about car racks and accessories. And others who were already friends are now my peloton on Saturday mornings, offering advice, encouragement, and fellowship to this new rider. I thought I was just buying a bike, but I got so much more.


What remains unseen

     I watched a charming movie last night with my oldest son, both of us staying up too late, but enjoying the time together. We watched “The Magic of Belle Isle” with Morgan Freeman, a re-coming of age story about a writer finding his voice again. He mentors a child writer in the film telling her ‘always look for what you cannot see.’ He teaches her the power of imagination and more importantly the power of hope and love. 
     Recently on a long beach walk with my two younger sons, we ran across hordes of starfish and sand dollars. We literally had to skirt the starfish to keep from stepping on them and gathered sand dollars as if we were on an egg hunt. I taught them how to spot them past a covering of sand. It was a magical day, despite our sunburns, a sandy bouquet. As a parent I do try to teach them to find what they cannot see. Sometimes, especially if life events are dragging us down, it takes a bit of imagination.


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