21 April 2010

Lifeboats

It began to rain unexpectedly early yesterday, and while I worked out on the back patio, the water dripped and the wind whipped. I felt unreasonably sad.

I had so much to be happy about yesterday, and yet...such a sense of melancholy. So I closed my eyes, and breathed deep the rainwashed air.

This morning, still gusty, huge puffs sailed across the blue, threatening more rain, and the air was surprisingly cool for April.

"Isn't it great?" the son sighed happily as we set out for school.

I don't remember what it was he said to me last night that made me laugh with the pleasure one can only find in one's offspring. I insulted him affectionately for making me laugh, which pleased him immensely.

As we neared the bus stop, I stopped in my tracks.

"Look," I whispered, slowly raising my arm to point.

"What? What?" the boy asked frantically. "I don't see anything."

"There," I said softly. "Above the white van."

"Oh," he gulped, catching sight.

Standing on the top of a six-foot high block wall was a great blue heron. I see them frequently, flying overhead and in the channels and creeks, but never one sitting on a wall in our landlocked part of the county.

We crept slowly past it, eyes never leaving it, fascinated and amused. About then it caught sight of us, and hunkered down, watching us with suspicion. Almost as if it was mimicking us, it started to creep slowly in the opposite direction, and then it pulled itself to its full height, which is considerable.

"Someone is about to get a surprise with their morning coffee," I murmured to the son.

And sure enough, the heron, having had quite enough of us, spread its wings, and a little ungracefully, jumped off the wall and into the yard below.

It is small things--the rainy air, the silly joke made by a child, a few moments watching a wild bird in the most unexpected place--that put my life back into place, that allow me to embrace the greater happiness that is always there, but I too often neglect to see.

Go listen to some good music: "Lifeboats" from the album A Hundred Million Suns by Snow Patrol.

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