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Monday, January 4, 2010

Random Thoughts

I awoke this morning to the sound of seagulls. I lay in bed remembering little incidents throughout my life. Funny how those thoughts created a pattern.

One of my earliest memories is of catching fireflies - my brothers and I called them lightning bugs - and putting them in a jar. We poked little bitty holes in the lid so they wouldn't die. Then we carried our "lanterns" around and proudly displayed them to each other and any adult who would listen to us. I loved them but always felt sad if we left them in the jar too long and they died.

Visiting Uncle Joe on his farm always created a sense of adventure. He had cows and had to go out to the pasture every evening, bring them in and milk them - by hand. I loved going with him - his dog seemed to know more than people did about where the cows were and how to get them back. Once we made it back to the barn, cats and kittens came running. My favorite time was when Uncle Joe fed them milk - direct from the cow. Streams of milk soaked the faces of kittens who gobbled it up almost in the blink of an eye.

I learned to shoot a gun but was an abject failure at hunting. I couldn't see the rabbits at a distance. Besides that I certainly didn't want to kill the cute little creatures.

We moved to Colorado when I was 13. My mom's one requirement in a home was a picture window that looked out on Pikes Peak. She taught me to love the mountains. She loved natural beauty and nurtured that love in her home and paintings. We lived near the Garden of the Gods and I fell in love with the red sandstone formations.

Colorado gave me my first eagle sighting. I still remember that magnificent creature swooping down through the mountains. I discovered mountain streams, trout, and critters I'd never seen.

I was a teenager before I found the sea and it captured me completely. The timelessness, the continuity and the sheer beauty - the view, smell and sounds - have called to me ever since.

On the Texas Gulf Coast I found dolphins, pelicans, shore birds, migratory birds and seashells. My brother Gary took the photo of the birds.

 Last summer we watched sea turtle hatchlings make their way home to the Gulf waters. Although their odds of reaching adulthood are slim, all of us onlookers cheered the little ones on in their scramble to the water.

On our back porch, we marvel at the stillness - and the speed of movement - of a little iguana that makes his home with us. We watch the seagulls and the other birds who come for the winter.

Last year I fished for salmon in Lake Michigan, toured lighthouses, got up close and personal with elk in an elk preserve, and walked through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park.

The photo on the right is Grand Haven Lighthouse on the coast of Lake Michigan.

Life is good and it is the little things that give pleasure if we take the time to enjoy. From fireflies to sand dunes, it's all a part of God's earth. Just the thought of the diversity of life and our planet makes me realize that I am just a tiny piece of the whole - and that when I stress over little day-to-day issues, I need to stop and understand that in the big picture, the great majority of them are insignificant.

The earth in all its natural forms and beauty will still go on. I want to enjoy it, explore it, and let its beauty consume me.

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