We came away with the expectation of adventure. We freed ourselves of material anchors and set sail into the unknown with openness, excitement, and a modicum of healthy trepidation. I knew we would encounter new landscapes, experience different foods and cultures, but I did not anticipate how travel would effect my experience of self.
It is difficult to put into words, but I feel as if I am unleashing parts of myself that have been buried for decades. I feel childlike, vibrant…happy.
Today, for example, I arose to a misty morning, sipped tea while listening to the birds, wrote a poem, and then later, got out the paints and dabbled.
Ric just laughed at me and shook his head:
“You’ve talked about painting for ever; I don’t know why you waited so long.”
“I didn’t think I could draw.”
Why do we tell ourselves these things? Is it perfectionism or just an excuse? Today, I was not willing to let either stand in my way: I just did it.
Then, this afternoon, we visited the World Birding Center nearby. They have a series of trails and a lovely deck overlooking a pond where many birds congregate. The Estero Llano Grande Park is a breathtakingly beautiful conservation area where, it seems, there is something new to see each time. Pushing my wheels under the canopy of trees, listening to the varied calls of birds, I felt rejuvenated, as if the earth herself was cradling me in her magnificence.
Armed with the camera Ric gave me, I did something else I never thought I could do: I took pictures. I am almost sixty-years-old and have been reluctant to use a camera forever because I never thought I possessed the skill. “I don’t need pictures,” I’d tell myself. “It’s all stored in here,” (tapping head). I’ve given up that nonsense now. I’m taking pictures. No wonder I feel childlike: it’s all about learning new things.
People love to help novices. A woman with intimidating camera equipment pointed out the different water fowl and helped me line up the best shots. Then she showed me where to find hummingbirds, and suggested other spots to check out on future visits.
A man indicated that a Wilson’s snipe was foraging close to the deck. He said it is rare to get this close up to these usually elusive birds. Intent in its search for food, the snipe hung around and let us get some great shots.
I wandered off by myself for a bit, and found a treasure trove of small birds, but they were shy and most escaped my camera. Eventually, after waiting patiently, one little bird did allow me to capture her image. I don’t know her formal identification yet, but she sure is sweet.
“How do you like Texas?” Ric asked me over dinner. As the light was fading, we decided to tour around and look for somewhere to eat. We settled on a Chili’s.
“I’m loving it! Would you come back?”
“Definitely!” he replied. “But we haven’t seen Arizona yet.”
My advice to anyone reading this and wondering about taking a risk: do it. Leap. There is so much more to discover, inside and out.