As I stare at the Bald Eagle through binoculars, far too cumbersome for my liking, taking breaks to sip vanilla coffee from my “I do what I want” sassy cat mug, I pause for a moment to wonder if this typically geriatric activity is something that is innately part of who I am or if living in a primarily older population has driven me to this.
The Bald Eagle appeared yesterday morning, perched on the roof of the dock, regally staring into oblivion. The other birds that typically roost in that location sat on lower perches, either brooding over the Eagle’s presence or grateful for the increased value that it would add to their housing market. My daughters love the birds as much as I do so as soon as Lotte woke up I told her about he Eagle. We took turns staring at the bird through the binoculars. It flew away late in the morning. We told Brandon and Sadie about the bird, in part hoping to share the excitement of the discovery but also partially to make them jealous. Both results were achieved.
This morning Brandon was up before me, getting ready for work when he spotted the Eagle, perched in the same location on the dock. I quickly made my coffee and grabbed the binoculars and headed out to the back porch where I proceeded to stare at the bird for a fair amount of time. It was beautiful. The location of our backyard on the marsh provides a perfect sanctuary for birds to nest, fish, or just sit in the sun. I have kayaked up and down the river that flows just past the marshy area and there is no other spot that houses as many birds as the little safe haven in our backyard.
A slow pace has always been an important of life to me. While others value constant movement and chasing things that appear to be accomplishments I have always found that a day that failed to include some moments of sitting and observing life around me, without my participation, was a day that felt deeply unsatisfying. I have battled for years with the pressure of society to “do” and “succeed” and “produce”-all worthy and necessary life goals, but within the balance of peace and soul. An overused song lyric by John Lennon so profoundly compacts the complicated thoughts on life and pace, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”
Life is now. My eagle may decide to find a different perch tomorrow morning so today I will pour a second cup of coffee and watch it sitting beautifully on the dock. Life is the small moments. My girls will not live in my home forever so today I will sit with them on the Adirondack chairs in the cool morning fog and soak in the nature of our backyard. Life is the details. The more that I observe nature, the more I am aware that a hurried life deprives people of the most beautiful moments. Nature maintains a slower pace-especially the coastal nature of this area. Birds relax on tall branches in the afternoon. Marsh grasses slowly sway with the tides. Fish graze the surface of the water hoping to catch a snack. A person cannot see these details without sitting for a while and just watching.
My house and this area are my sanctuary. This island has taught me to slow my pace to ride the ebb and flow of life. I am still a work in progress but would hope that I remain a work in progress until I move on from this life. I encourage you to take a few moments to indulge in the details of life. It may qualify as retirement home activity but there may be some real value in the ways of the older generations.