Another day of plenty begins to draw to a close, but there is still an abundance of light left. I sit outside on the stoop once again(which is becoming quite the familiar spot nowadays), with my cup of coffee and my profound thoughts. I’m told that I’m too deep and that I should stop every once in a while just to have fun. I’ve actually begun to do that. It was quite a while that I did, and now I find that the necessity has risen its head and gotten me to try, try, again. Maybe this time it will be right. Give me a couple of years and we’ll see what happens.
Enter reflection. As occurs with me, I must go back and observe first hand what I have seen and done. There’s been quite a bit. The most important thing that I have noticed is that growth enters the picture and lets me know that I have reached a crossroads. This time, I believe that I might have picked the more suitable path, not that the other was any better or any worse. At this stage in my life, it appears that this is the path that I am directed to traverse at this leg of my journey and it is at the correct time.
Luckily, I am truly at peace. My riches are twofold: my health and the determination to do anything that I choose. Never let it be said that I don’t have the nerve to try anything at least once. My good fortunes are many, the most notable one is that I have skydived. I’ve felt that adrenaline rush when one jumps, pulls the cord, and is violently taken up into the air, before the gentle downward motion. I cannot describe the exhilaration that I felt when my back cracked for that brief uplifting moment. One must be there to experience it.
I’ve also been lucky enough to work with wild birds and enjoyed time with them to understand what it is that they feel at certain stages of their lives. Their bright eyes hold so much within and I learned as much from them as they did from me. I took the time to make the attempt to understand from their viewpoint, and the most important gift that they gave me was to listen in the right way to understand how another life form experiences the same things that I can.
My knowledge with the elderly increased when I began volunteer work with “Canine Partners for Life,” a program for the elderly in nursing homes that have given up hope. I was there in the early stages, where dogs were trained diligently to respond to people’s needs for assistance, be it for arthritics for a hand here-and-there, or for those with serious epileptic seizures where the dog can sense an oncoming seizure and take the appropriate course of action before it occurs. “Canine Partners for Life” was created out of this initial program to combat regressive tendencies while forced to live and be cared for at another’s discretion. While dogs were introduced to the depressed individual that was shut down emotionally, it created a reason to carry on in a fruitful way. Once that man or woman pet the dog and looked in its eyes, it was all over, as that dog was a true entity of unconditional love. That emotion was passed on and recharged all that came in contact with it as a new lease on life, though it took time and many visits. A few people actually left the nursing home to carry on as individuals once again, and kept a dog to get them through the day. Loneliness can be a terrible, debilitating thing, but it never has to be an end result.
If you could go back in time and change your life, would you?
I have also met many people that enriched my life, just by getting to know them and learn from their experiences. In San Francisco, I met a down-and-out former college professor who gave up on life after his wife divorced him for his alcohol use. The man was utterly brilliant, but allowed his life to succumb to a vice. I spoke to him for over an hour, and when we parted, I gave him my address and a hug. Two years later, he was living as full a life as he had left, but without the monkey on his back. That is just one person that immediately came to mind.
Then there was the elderly woman at the dealership in Kennett Square, PA. She was sitting a few seats from me, next to the service advisor, who was telling her that she needed to have something done to her car, some sort of safety issue. The lady couldn’t afford the $50 charge. I left the sitting area and walked to the bathroom and let the tears stream down my face, because that poor lady couldn’t afford something to keep her safe in her own car. After almost ten minutes, I walked over to the service advisor and told her that I would pay for whatever the lady needed, but to promise not to tell her that it was from me, as I didn’t wish to embarrass her.
Have I seen disappointment? Sure, same as anyone else, but I never let it get to me for very long, as it would consume me like it does with many others. My choice was to carry on and take every slap in the face as it came, even if I walked from one directly to another. But I learned from my mistakes and hope to do it right, eventually.
The sun is making that downward motion to the west now. The ravens are calling each other in their territory as they get nearer to me. A red squirrel is trying to get an intruder to leave his little piece of paradise. Cars are also passing my slice of the pie. So, here I sit, drinking my cold coffee, thankful for that and smiling, for I know that there are many more cups of cold coffee in that bright, and beautiful future of mine. Seven ravens pass overhead and I call to them in recognition. They answer as they flew directly overhead and turned to continue their original path.
I saw a pair of eyes a short time ago and they looked almost like mine, but they had a lot of amber in them. That was the only difference. A week later, when I was at my parents’ gravesite, my mother came to me with a little advice. She sat next to me and put her hand on my shoulder and told me that I was finally going to do it this time, and I believe her.