The Adventure Continues…
On The Fence Post
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” -Anthony Bourdain
Just when I feel I’ve adjusted to life without Jeremiah in physical form, I get the surprise that sets me back a year or two. Incapacitated.
Last Wednesday’s late afternoon walk started out like any other trek through a state park. Willie James was on “short leash” (six foot retractable leash shortened to keep him along side me). We turned right heading out of the loop we resided, took another right to exit the camping area and set a good stride along the state park road. On the main road is the standing remains of the Horse Trainer’s Cabin. I love history and exploring places like these.
Earlier in the day, Willie James and I watched four deer meander across main campground road close to where we were standing. The large number of deer in the park had me leery if there were coyotes or other predator animals sitting-in-wait. Willie James is small and, as I’ve heard too many times, snack size. Just like any momma, I watched for cars, other people enjoying a walk, the wooded area for predators all while thanking Willie James for being so good on the short leash as we continued on our journey to our destination.
Approaching the historical site, I look up in front of us and was greeted with the most amazing site I could have asked for – a mature red shouldered hawk perched on a fence post. His back was to us. I immediately stopped as did Willie James.
The Universe pressed the pause button for what felt like an hour. Everything stopped. I stood frozen captivated by this majestic creature’s presence fifteen to twenty feet away. Willie James didn’t move, bark or move one iota. We, the three of us, peacefully soaked up the moment.
The feathers of the hawk were rich brown with a hue of golden red accented with white and almost black tail feathers. I remember thinking, you’re much taller than I remember, to which I internally snickered. Jeremiah was always one of the shortest boys in his class until his sophomore year when he caught up with his peers. In so many ways, this bird reminded me of my sons. Both have strong backs and carry the weight of the world upon them, possess a dominate presence, a sense of knowingness and wisdom beyond their years, and as protectors.
The divine messages I received in those moments were overwhelming. Since Jeremiah’s death, hawks have symbolized that he was watching over me, guiding my travels and letting me know I was on the right path with a decision.
Then, my humanness took over and I broke the spell I was under. I reached for my cellphone to capture the moment with a photograph. As I placed my thumb on the round icon to snap the picture, he spread his wings, took flight and landed on a large tree branch fifty or so yards away.
Oh shit. I have a snack sized chiweenie. Willie James’ leash got a bit shorter and he had no choice other than to walk next to my left foot. We walked up to the description sign of the Horse Trainer’s Cabin and I snapped a picture of it with the rock ruins in the background.
I watched as the hawk swooped down and return to his perch with an animal the size of field mouse.
That night I found it difficult to sleep. I missed the good ol’ days with sons. A familiar darkness filled my camper and relentless thoughts of how I could have been a better mother filled the silence of the campground.
The shoulda, coulda, woulda’s are more debilitating than the loneliness of missing a child that will never be within physical reach.
A week has since passed and other birds and animals have provided me other messages; such as the pure white egret that flew across the dark gray skies background. This adventure south for the winter is much different than last year’s. I am stronger (emotionally), more confident in my travels in new locations and I am enjoying this time of hanging out with me, myself and I in a more relaxed – healthy – state of being. I feel more alive, and not frozen in the overwhelming trauma drama grieving momma puddle of tears.
There are blessings all around us, even in our darkest moments. Life is an amazing adventure.
Captured moments along the way…
Explore the adventures that got me here…
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Thank God Willie James is safe, Cindy. It reminded of the time Miss Coco was a 2 month puppy and we were enjoying ourselves in the back lawn of our complex when a band of Monkeys came in! An unusual event and I think the heat had driven them from their natural habitat to seek food and water. One of those monkeys took a shine to my puppy and a lot of screaming had the guard come running to rescue my little one and me.
Oh my goodness! Vatsala, how scary! I’m glad the guard was there to assist you and Miss Coco. The only monkeys I’ve seen in person are the tame ones at zoos; I cannot imagine how frightening that event must have been for you.
I don’t think Willie James was in too much danger since I had him so close to me. Now, had it been a bald eagle… Willie James would have been in my arm and probably under my shirt!
Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It gives me something to think about if I visit that area. Blessings to you and Miss Coco.
Beautiful!! I so relate!!
I know you can, Ruthie. Thank you for your loving words (in our private conversation). Having supportive friends makes all the difference in the world. Many blessings to you…
You are absolutely right — the journey is different this year and you ARE stronger. The changes come through loud and clear in your writing. And I love messages from animal guardians — hawks were very active in calling me to our new home on the island. And I, too, frequently screw things up by trying to take a picture. Much love to you and Willie James.
How wonderful that the hawks guided you to your home on the island. The wildlife does have so much to show us. I appreciate the acknowledgement of my strength and the transformation in my writing. Thank you for your kindness, Andrea.
You are teaching people through your writings and it is amazing. Think about where it comes from. You have a mother’s heart and you are never out of touch with children. I’ve always saw that in you and I should have told you. You are not only a beautiful messenger you have a beautiful heart.
Your words have me in tears, Heather. Thank you for pointing out something that I didn’t see in myself. This is truly a gift I shall remember and hold dear to my heart. Blessings to you, Heather.
Thank you, Heather. Many blessings to you.