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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