Friday, June 04, 2010

Done with Wings

I think, and sometimes fear,
I may be done with wings.

For I have found myself walking
Among those confined
To beds, and wheeled chairs,
Who lie or sit at length and must be helped
To simply rise and turn.
It hurts when I stand over them,
So, bending my own legs,
I sit so our eyes can meet.
Some talk, and smile, and joke
As freely as the wind.
Some mumble a greeting,
Squeeze out a “yes” or “no,”
Eyes fixed over my shoulder,
Over yonder.
Some with shallow, leaking breaths
See no more, at least of me
Or this world.

I walk into their rooms.
I walk into their homes.
I walk beside their families.
I walk into their lives.
I walk into their deaths.
And now I find my feet
Have no desire to lift up off this earth.
My wings hang shrunken and limp
From disuse.
My thoughts rise only to the ceiling
Where they circulate
And fall like rain upon me again and again
Adding ballast that keeps me grounded.
So, feet firm, I stand
And then keep walking
And again and again and again,
Strength is renewed.

Once an eagle,
Eyes on distant hills,
All the world spread out below,
All the sky my playground.
No more.
I walk…
And this is enough,
And this is good,
And this is peace.
I once feared this.
Afraid to miss the view.
Afraid to think I might not feel
The rushing, bracing wind,
The spectacular sight
Of soaring high
And looking down on sunsets.

No longer.
For now I see unexplored vistas
In old wrinkled faces,
Experience lost worlds
Through scratched sepia.
“We’ve had a good life,”
I hear her say.
We embrace and part…
Walk on.
Feet on the ground.
Done with wings.
And this is enough,
And this is good,
And this is peace.

Chaplain Mike on Internet Monk (used with permission)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Have wings, will fly...

Red Spotted Purple Butterfly

I visited family in Mexico four years ago this month, travelling with one of our daughters who had just finished university. She decided to return later that summer to improve her fluency in Spanish and to teach English as a second language. I started this blog at that time as a way to keep in touch with distant family members and to provide an outlet for ideas and memories as our children were leaving home. As it turned out, our daughters initially thought the blog was a bad idea and they wanted nothing to do with family stories and pictures being shared on the internet. But I liked blogging, so my focus changed and my posts covered a variety of topics. I met interesting people and broadened my knowledge greatly in many areas.

Four years later I am preparing to travel to Mexico again to visit family. As before, it is FIFA World Cup time and the weather will be very hot in June. I will be with my parents as my mother recovers from surgery and faces decisions about future treatments, and then visit my daughter and her husband who now live in Mexico if all goes according to plan. Internet time will be limited so blogging will be on hold until I return. Facebook has become the platform for keeping in touch with most of my family and Skype gives easy and free phone access over the computer. (I have not succumbed to Twitter). Blogging takes more time and thought but is still my favourite way to communicate online.

por lo pronto, adiĆ³s...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Lady's Slippers

Ontario is home to many species of wild orchids, but they are not widespread nor easy to find in our region. The Bruce Peninsula is known for its diversity of orchids and last weekend an orchid festival was held near Tobermory at Bruce Peninsula National Park. I have been trying to find at least one wild orchid on our area and asked a local naturalist for some tips on where they might be growing.

My directions were to park on a dirt road, walk on a certain trail past the first intersection and to veer right into a forest. Just past a creek I was to go off the trail and look around the swamp where large skunk cabbage plants are plentiful. The woods were beautiful with many types of wild ferns and wildflowers. I have seldom seen a place where native plant species predominate so completely.

Poison ivy was growing in large and small patches and I did my best to keep away from it. After an hour of searching, I found what I was looking for. There were only two flowers but they were perfect. I have heard there are large yellow lady's slippers and pink lady's slippers growing in local ditches and marshes but they are hard to find too. Like all treasure hunts, the search is as much of an adventure as the discovery.