Bundled against the Kansas gusts in my puffy pink coat, professional scarf, and clicking blue suede boots, I hurried through the wind tunnel towards my office. Though I’d dressed for warmth, tendrils of arctic freeze invaded my cocoon. I strategically assessed the fastest route towards warmth as I raced on.
Somehow I heard it.
Just to my right between Bushnell and Cardwell Halls.
I stopped to see what hydrant or water line had blown a leak.
It was a tree and not the ocean nor a hydrant. This makes sense as I was loping through Kansas State University and not L.A. The sound was not what my mind insisted it had to be, ocean and waves; it was wind rustling leaves of a winter-sleeping tree and it was beautiful.
I stood and listened for a few moments before relaunching towards the frozen Quad.
When what we experience is not what we expect
I’ve written for a season of unexpected joys becoming sorrow, candidly approached topics we’d rather not discuss, and wondering at the capriciousness of the universe.
Today, I celebrate the fickle fates because a bitter wind blew dead leaves of an old tree standing in prairie permafrost and transported me to a warm waving ocean.
That sound. Peaceful. Sunny. Inviting. Salty.
We want more days when the unexpected is sweet and the forces which cause us to insulate ourselves conspire to loosen our grip instead.
We can have more of these days.
They are out there waiting for us.
Or inward…waiting on us.
We are all acquainted with grief; the calls in the night.
None of us are immune to the bitter winds.
We live as people who fall down and get back up and fall down and get back up.
I’m discovering each of us has the capacity to pay attention
and find the red leaf on the sidewalk
the perfect snowball left as if only for us to throw
a glowing heart porch-side in a darkened world.
Wee bits to remind us of summer
This is a reason I love to hang out with kids and people with more wonder than stuff.
They see and hear and taste and feel what so many of us have quit seeing, hearing, tasting, and feeling. Kids don’t have to choose the derringdo of noticing, but we responsible adults often do.
This morning, someone put a chicken in my arms and instructed me to pet it. “She won’t poop on you.” Brave words when I’m wearing my spiffy back-to-school pink puff jacket. I petted the chicken. It was soft and downy. She did not poop.
I giggled. Giddy with the newness of it.
I clucked at the clutch of fluffed-up feathery ladies.
They clucked in return in what became a barnyard call-and-response. I have no idea what we were saying. I didn’t care. Nor did I care what the cable guy must have thought to hear such intense chickeny conversation.
For a moment it wasn’t Thursday. It was another day of discovery and soon…an oceanside walk to work.
If you see me stopped along the way with a far-off look, most likely I am okay. I may be listening to the swoosh of skis off a St. Moritz cliff, trickling water passing my kayak in Munker’s Creek, or the sound of the people I love caught upon the wind for me to hear and across so many miles.
Walk slowly, Friends. Our great projects can wait. Our living cannot.