I See him There, in the Birds…

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So I see my dad in the birds, especially in the hawks…for whatever reason I believe they are part of our collective story.  From the time they swam in my pool right before he died…and looking at the pictures was one of the last things we did together…to the ones soaring intermittently overhead…to the occasional times when one has swooped toward the windshield, gliding up and over, as if it dropped in to say hi.

That’s how I take it, and that’s all that matters.  He was all about nature, and I indulged him his bird talk, maybe because I actually enjoyed it.  It’s different now that he’s gone (what isn’t?), but I find comfort in the birds…as if he’s someone still managing to be here, with me.

This weekend we did our almost-annual trip to Ogunquit, our first without dad…in our favorite little shop I saw this small stone bird, which I bought as a reminder of him and all of our good times and if all that he was and is to me.

Before our walk along the Marginal Way to Perkins Cove, we put all our food in the car lest the seagulls be tempted…and returned to our beach site a few hours later to find that the seagulls had gotten into our garbage, and our other bags…so those of us who had undergarments in their beach bags (not me) were greeted by bras on beach chairs.  When we were driving home and a hawk swooped the windshield, we were sure that my dad had ordered the seagull attack, and that he was close by, laughing.

Service. Selflessness. Sacrifice.

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I’ve been AWOL.  I know.  After I went to San Francisco (great trip, if you ever go, try the happy hour at the The Tipsy Pig), I went back to the West Coast, to Palo Alto…then to Tampa…where I managed to find time to squeeze in a training plan-mandated 10-mile run…home for 36 hours which gave me enough time to do laundry and visit my nephew in the hospital (blood infection of unknown origin that thank God wasn’t MRSA; he’s ok now) before hoping a flight to Indianapolis.  Since I’ve been back I’ve been catching up on work and life and while I was away I was just keeping my head above water.  Oh, and I ran my fifth half marathon, setting a personal worst, but at a time that was in my “acceptable” range.  2:09:50; anything 2:20 or up woukd have been considered a failure.

Sounds like a bunch of b.s. excuses to me.  Maybe, maybe not.  Who cares?  So this post is long overdue and probably will be pretty random.  I don’t know.  I’m in bed drinking coffee…listening to the rain…happy for the day off…wondering whether my sister will respond to my “Go out for breakfast?  My treat?” text…I don’t know what I’ll say, exactly…

You probably know I try to be mindful, but yesterday I started a special program at the office, Mindfulness at Work.  So in addition to logging a redemptive quality to each and every day, I’ll now be practicing mindfulness actively, per the office program.   So anyway, despite the awareness of the importance of mindfulness, there are a lot of scattered thoughts I need to lasso in here.  Apropos of something (because is anything ever apropos of nothing?):

  • I’m afraid that–if the Today Show teasers are any indication–this upcoming reunion of the cast of Willy Wonka will give me more nightmares than seeing the Oompah Loompahs did was I was a kid. 
  • Life is too short, bad things happen to good people, and deep faith goes a long way.  So do compassion and empathy.
  • It’s possible to find a job that you love.  Don’t settle.  Every day I work with committed, dedicated, passionate, caring people.  In seven months my life has been wildly enriched by the people I’ve met in my new job.  Even when I don’t know what time zone I’m in, I know I’m surrounded by good.
  • There’s a Mexican proverb that goes like this: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”  Remember that when things get cold and dark and you’re feeling tamped down.
  • Mainstream media is a perfect reflection of all that is wrong with society.  We seem to have lost a sense of focus and commitment and value.  The Starbucks Cup contrv easy kind of sums it all up.
  • The presidential race is a disaster.  It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on, the house is burning and you’re desperate to get out safely.

And on this Veterans Day I’ll end by givng a personal thank you to all Veterans–for the service, selflessness, and sacrifice that supports my freedom, the freedom to be and do the things that allow me to be mindful and centered and happy.  Mindfully exercise the freedoms they give you today and every day.  Don’t take this or any of the gifts you’re given for granted; I suspect you’ll find that it makes you a little happier.