Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | August 7, 2013


So this happened. First draft.

Awoke this morning feeling headachy and out of sorts, strangely weepy for no apparent reason (besides the usual & obvious, and no I am not over it yet. Although I have been out of vitamins for a while so maybe it’s just a lack of B-Complex. Ha.) Instead of powering through with the plan for the day as I would’ve in The Before, I bought a coffee and headed to convenient East End Beach to bask in hot sun for a half hour in hopes of ditching the headache and pulling myself together. I have a lot of work which must get done today. But if nothing else, I am lately learning that my body speaks and I am meant to listen. No one else will do it for me. And I ignore it at my peril. Why I had to become middle-aged before learning this simple fact that every baby knows, I have not yet discerned. (Working on it daily: when to push harder and when to let go. Let God? As they say. Tao, the universe, and whatever. ANYway.)

The beach parking lot is closed today because of a small boat sailing regatta 300 kids strong. My beachy plan thwarted, at loose ends I drove til I found a parking spot by the lovely gazebo overlooking harbor traffic. (Did I ever mention I love my town?) Walked down the path looking for a space to call my name. Found secluded picnic table and sat with my paper cup of coffee.

First thing I noticed was the stealth crop of elderberries growing from within a white beach rose nearby. Next, a proud, brightly polished male cardinal came and perched on the end of my picnic table. Male cardinals are a totem bird for me, have been since I started walking alone after losing Jeff. They appear and bound along beside me, trilling their cheerful varied songs. O bright red bird who starts calling well before sky lightens for dawn, I can’t stay mad at you!

Then, I heard chirping and rustling from inside the dense rose bush. Spotted a nest high and deep inside the thorny bramble of dead sticks. Crept closer to investigate. A small female cardinal sat on the edge of the nest, four fuzzy babies openmouthed, expectant, beneath her in the carefully constructed soft featherbed they call home. Mama’s soft graygreen body delightfully set off her bright beak: the same vivid peachy orange as the young rose hips hanging all around her bower. This young family is smaller and shyer than my yard’s assertive, noisy male and darting, nervous female. Though clearly alarmed, the parents protect their babies, as they must. I watched them for a while, til the coffee grew cold. Thanked them for letting me peer through the leaves at their protected little home, allowing me to see this little slice of avian domesticity. I thanked myself for noticing.

I guess this was my little gift for taking the time I needed today. Feeling no less weepy but somehow settled and ready to work, back to the car I walk in beauty, go in peace.


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