It happens every seventeen years, for a few short weeks. Even the rain, finally falling, can’t stop it. The birds, like this Redwing blackbird at Huntley Meadows, seem to have found a new source of protein.
Picky, picky, picky.
There is a message here, I think. You must try, even if you don’t succeed. You may even find out that what seems enticing really isn’t for you. Not every effort results in a desired outcome, but effort always imparts experience. Which, in the end, is the key to success. And finding out what you are about.
The osprey was cheerfully eating its meal when out of the blue (sky), a bald eagle tried to lay claim to the half eaten fish. Instead of working for its own food, the eagle would rather have a meal that someone else worked for. And so a duel begins – the larger eagle chasing the osprey as it moves to the sky.
The osprey dropped the morsel of fish and the eagle’s chase proved futile. All the energy the birds spent fighting over the half eaten fish went for naught. The eagle flew back to a tree still hungry; the osprey, spent, landed on a tree trunk exhausted, readying itself for the next catch.
For an osprey!
It’s been a while since my last post. Between work, training, and the busy hum of life in suburbia, I haven’t had much of a chance to post something. There’s also the problem with having a little bit of writers’ block. Weekends are filled with picture taking and cleaning up the house, a little bit. Why do I have all this stuff and what am I going to do with it? Over the years, you buy a small thing here, a small thing there. Cabinets, once empty, fill up. The floor in my study is not quite as open as it once was. A pile of papers here, a pile of papers there. No, I am not going to go through the process of holding each time and trying to find out if this thing or that things gives me joy. Truthfully, there’s just too many things to pick up that if you were to somehow divinate that this or that is giving me joy, I may end up with arms even more tired than they already are. So I’ll just throw some things out, donate some things, and assume that what’s left is giving me joy. Heck, how much joy can a guy take in one day?
Anyway, I took the day off to ruminate. I went for a short walk at the Mosaic District, one of the mixed use neighborhoods that are popping up in Northern Virginia. I love walking around here. There’s a movie theater, a couple of shops and eateries to go to, space for people to walk around and just enjoy the day. This morning, I stopped by the Praline Bakery, one of those nice places to grab a quick bite and just enjoy a few minutes of alone time (before the noon rush). A crisp apple confection (I forgot what they call it) that’s just sweet enough without being overwhelming, with that slightly tart flavor that makes you savor it even more. A nice cup of coffee, and no phone calls or web surfing. Just some downtime.
A place to relax, to think, to ruminate. I picked up the fork, took a small slice out of the confection in front of me, and this feeling of joy was amazing. The joy increased as the desert got ever smaller. I don’t think this is what Marie Kondo had in mind when she said pick things up and see if it brings you joy, but I’ll take it. And now that I know that picking up a fork, in a certain place, is sure to bring me joy, I believe a return trip in the very near future is a very real possibility. Return trips, if I have to be honest. In some things, a guy can’t have enough joy.
And what a colorful selection of deserts (macaroons!). I love the growing diversity in the population. You used to choose from pistachio, vanilla, orange, chocolate, almond. Now you can get mango flavored treats. And passion fruit. Joy, Joy, Joy!!!!
And, there’s this beautiful wall mural outside of this little corner of the world.
And a little dog park/patch right next to it (and I mean little, but it serves its function). Oh, the artist left his calling card.
Great comfort food, a nice day, beautiful wall art. A joyful morning indeed.
Almost every city has one. And in New York, blocks away from the financial district, blocks away from the Freedom Tower, people live lives in a world familiar to me. Vegetables and other produce neatly arranged in stalls, perused by eagle eyed shoppers; the aroma of freshly cooked food punctuating the cold autumn air. A trek through a neighborhood that while not quite the America of the town centers, is still unmistakably American. A reminder of the diversity, almost uniquely American, that makes this country a great nation.
Ethnic neighborhoods still dot the cities and towns we live in, but underneath it all is the common thread that binds us all. We are different and yet we are the same. It doesn’t mean that we need to sublimate cultures to create a homogeneous whole. Who wants to look at a grey wall? We do need to understand, however, that maintaining a separate identity, a separate belief system is not the best way for people to understand one another. If we are to be one, we need a common sense of purpose, a common goal, a common dream. To better one’s self but not at the expense of others. To work hard, to reap the benefits of hard work; not to expect things to be handed to you, but always willing to help others when help is needed. We may not all look alike, but we share the same mitochondrial DNA from some ancient Eve.
Share what you have. Share what you know. Do not be afraid to learn. Forget your preconceptions. When you understand others, you understand yourself.