Getting Where?

I’m lying here with the heating pad, altering it’s position every so often to ease the pain that has set in since my trip back home. I can’t quite shake the lingering exhaustion.

Three things are running through my mind, disrupting sleep:

  • the book I’m working on (and have set aside for far too long)
  • our recent talk of finances – prompting me to ponder how I might earn more money, and
  • writing this and other blog posts.

It occurs to me that no matter what plans we carefully draw up for ourselves, the destination is seldom what we have anticipated. Life keeps shifting.

I have enjoyed the many responses to this week’s challenge, and it appears that as a community, we are growing. Our shared insights and images continue to inspire. Here is a poem created from the titles of work’s submitted:

Darkness to light
break on through,
finding meaning,
it’s the journey that matters,
road to happiness,
Are we there yet?
No decisions, no responsibilities,
no work-around-the-clock.
Quote of the day,
Love, I See

Journey of creative enlightenment

Proscenium

Willow Poetry

parallax

Stuff and what is…

Wind Rush

Sweet aroma

one letter UP

Sgeoil

MISTYROADS

See you tomorrow morning for a new challenge.

Indian Point Park

“I know you said you wanted to rest today, but do you think we could take a little drive?”

I’m back in Texas and the weather could not be better – 24 degrees celsius with clear blue skies. Tomorrow’s forecast is overcast and chillier. My trigger finger is anxious to get the camera going again. Ric agrees.

There is a spot, just off the highway between Aransas Pass and Corpus Christi, where we’ve seen lots of water birds and people fishing. Indian Point Park. We decide to make this our destination.

Pulling into the park, a car is stopped just ahead of us. We glance around to see that the bodies of water either side of the roadway are teeming with birds. Ric pulls over and I spring out.

Spoonbill Slumber Party

A pair of Curlews wade in the water to my right, while an Avocet balances on one leg. To the left, Roseate Spoonbills snooze in the warmth of the sun, while flocks of Black-necked Stilts and more Avocets gather. Other shore birds mingle.

As plain as they are, I love the sweet faces of these Willets.

“We’ll come back,” Ric suggests and we pull around to the parking lot, facing onto the North Bay. To the right is a boardwalk extending out over the marsh and thick brush. To the left is a long pier extending into the bay.

I take the boardwalk, stepping slowly and quietly, in an attempt not to disturb the wildlife. The water here is shallow and the surrounding bush thick with stalky plants and rich green foliage. A heron-like bird is nestled across the way and when I raise my camera I am thrilled to see a Black-Crowned Night-Heron, a bird I had not yet encountered.

Black-Crowned Night-Heron.

Other herons, including another Black-Crowned, either wade in the water or hunker in the green. We are mesmerized by the beauty of the place.

“Any Oystercatchers?” an approaching group asks.

“Haven’t seen any,” I offer.

“What’s that there?” one of the women points to the the thick underbrush.

I spot the tail end of a bird ducking into an opening. No idea.

The bird emerges farther along and our cameras snap. Not something I’ve encountered before, I am enamoured with its rich colouring. It decides to give us a show and bathes before us, splashing water and delighting us all.

“It’s a Virginia Rail,” someone proclaims. Another new bird to add to my list.

Virginia Rail grooming

We stop to chat awhile and these fellow enthusiasts recommend a few more places to visit, but I am still feeling the lag from travelling, so we decide to save further exploration for another day. We will definitely make a return visit here.

(Choosing a destination each day makes life in Texas so rich. Destination is the focus of my challenge this week. I’d love it if you’d join in.)

Landed

The travel angels saw me home safely, even ensuring I had a whole row of seats to myself on the flight – a gift to someone wary of germs and overpowering scents.

The excitement of being back on the canal and immersed in milder temperatures overrides this total exhaustion. I slept on and off for eight hours following yesterday’s journey – a feat that rarely happens for me.

The plan was to have a quiet day, enjoy the reunion with Ric, and wash my clothes. I did not intend to get dressed. But, like all good plans, there is always something that pops up.

Today it was this beautiful, calm white Pelican, who glided downstream and lingered outside my window. My camera demanded I quickly dress and pulled me outside.

So good to be back.

(My challenge this week is destination. So often, in my dreams, I am on my way home, as if home is place I’ve not yet secured. Today, settling back into life with my husband and the birds, I feel like I’m home.)


V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #31: Destination

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.” Martin Buber

I walk to the kitchen, planning to put the kettle on, but as I pass my purse, I remember that I meant to write myself a note, so phone in hand, I return to the couch and type up the memo. Satisfied with that task completed I pick up my laptop and resume writing, reaching for a sip of tea.

Tea! Darn! I’d forgotten to put on the kettle. I curse at myself as this has been happening regularly lately. I set out with one goal in mind and get waylaid.

How often is this a metaphor for life?

We set out this year with the full intention of wintering in Arizona. The only reason we stopped in Texas was to meet up with friends. Now, Texas has become our winter home.

This week, let’s ponder destination – the intended and unintentional, the possibilities, and the journeys along the way.

Look forward to your responses.

To Participate:

It’s as easy as creating a post, hitting publish, and linking back to this one, or leaving the address to your post in my comments. You can tag the post with VJWC, and don’t forget to enjoy the creativity of our community.

Removing the Blindfolds: Life’s Journey

Driving in a rally race with a blindfolded navigator is how I’ve often described my life – never really knowing where I’m going, pedal to the metal, and hoping for the best. Life, it is said, is a journey. Implicit in this metaphor is guidance, direction, and a destination.

quote-what-do-you-seeThe guidance I received in my formative years came from a father who spouted the words of Dale Carnegie, Vincent Norman Peale, and Kahlil Gibran – all good wisdom, but it was targeted towards us as criticism to point out our  failures, and mostly in direct contrast to how he lived.  Or, at least, that is how it felt.

It was only in later years that I began to question the validity of my upbringing, and look outside family for guidance, although the stain of abuse made it difficult to discern motivations, and, therefore, value.

Directions came from my same-sex parent, whose belief was that women should be beautiful, upbeat, and submissive.  She excelled at all three – an impossible standard for a geeky, temperamental, anything but submissive personality.  She reminded me frequently that not only did I not fit in, but that my oddness would likely leave me lonely and unloved.  Whatever direction I might have chosen for myself seemed hopeless.

Entering adulthood without a compass or a roadmap is not a plan for success – it is an itinerary destined to feature obstacles and dead ends.  Even when I did achieve, I never really knew if I was fulfilling my own dreams or just trying to win my mother’s approval.  Do we ever really  know?

Death, I knew from an early age, was the only given in terms of destinations.   Death visited our extended family far too frequently, picking off the young, and carving out an expectation of pain and suffering.

Who was I to complain about anything, given I was still alive?  I learned to hold my breath and wait.  Sometimes, I idealized death as a final solution to the interminable anguish.

With age, the sharp edges of youth’s blades soften.  Idealism, slain by cynicism, is replaced with practicality.  Rage either motivates or dissipates under wisdom’s tutelage.   Fear changes its focus.

I’m not driving in races these days, and the choices I am making involve eyes wide open.  That journey, I now appreciate, is inward, and I’m learning to seek guidance that enlightens, follow directions that lead to truths, and have faith that the stops along the way are only ever temporary destinations.

(V.J.’s challenge this week is questions.  The caption above came from Willow Poetry’s challenge: What do you see?, and Laura Bailey’s Manic Mondays 3 way prompt: journey.  Thank you to both for providing the fodder for continual pondering.  I don’t think I’ll ever stop asking questions.)