Paradise is Sharing...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kindred Spirit...

With an empty styrofoam cup in my hand, I stared at the selection of coffee offerings.  Hazelnut. Blueberry. Pumpkin Spice. Breakfast blend. Dark Roast. Light Roast. French Roast.  Choices... too many choices.  The cafeteria canteens started to all blend together.  My head started to spin.... it's just all too much.

"I just want a cup of coffee." I moaned.

"Me too"

I looked over and saw a slender girl.. probably 10 or 15 (oh, who's kidding.... definitely 15) years my junior.  She wore cotton leggings, a long sweater, and a chic black hat pulled over her soft brown hair.   Her eyes were dark, tear rimmed, heavy.  Like mine.  She had the same dazed look on her face... the look that told me she too was wandering the halls of this hospital, taking each day one at a time, making serious choices for a loved one, deciding what course of action to take next, trying to hold it all together .... and we can't decide what coffee we wanted to drink.

We shared a nod, a smile, and a point in the right direction towards the creamer and sugar...  but we didn't share our stories with each other... we didn't have to - we already knew the story.  Her story was mine, and my story was hers. 

In the patient kitchen, we exchanged smiles and glances as we fetched more ice chips, water, or jello cups for our loved one.  Her brown eyes looked burdened.  She is much too young to look so sad.  I, on the other hand, am too old for back-to-back all-nighters.  Looking at her glossy brown hair made me wonder if mine silvered more overnight.  A joke or two about checking our excess luggage (while pointing to the bags under our eyes) inside joke... an understanding.  It's all too much.  Eyes would water, heads would bow down, and we would retreat to our opposite ends of the hall.  I wondered if she would be ok.  I wondered if I would be ok, then quickly reminded myself that yes, of course, everything will be ok.  It had to be.

For three more weeks I would see her - in the waiting room, in the elevator, at the vending machine. Floor six was our neighborhood.  We had a kinship.  She would catch my eye and smile.  We didn't feel the need to start a conversation.  We both knew we were too weary for that.  

Waiting outside his room... waiting for him to come up from PACU.... waiting for his bed to roll by, so I could grab his hand, see his face, breathe again... Kindred Spirit appeared.  For the first time in three weeks, her brown eyes sparkled, the burden was gone.  I felt a pang of jealousy that washed away quickly when I realized we were on the same road.   I saw what relief looked like - I wanted it too.  Just like how she wanted a cup off coffee that morning.  It's all too much.

"We are going home"  she shyly said.  "I wanted to say good-bye ..... "

She finally told me her story.  Her boyfriend fell while mountain climbing and shattered both his legs.  They had been here three weeks.  He had to have donor bones implanted.  He can walk. No nerve damage.  I shared with her mine.  Surgery was a success.... a few more days and we should be able to go home.   As we hugged, and said good bye, my love was wheeled past me in his bed and returned to his room.  I felt air return to my lungs.  She looked back as she walked down the hall to press the elevator button one last time..... And she knew - I'll be ok.

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now.... Paradise is a Kindred Spirit.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sail on Silver Girl....

Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Sunset
Pushing off with my paddle I almost immediately regretted my decision for a sunset kayak ride.  The lake was choppy - the waves cresting in white caps and my kayak bobbed up and down like a cork.  I am not equipped nor experienced for such rough water.

Such is life.  So often I find myself in rough water, and immediately feel unequipped, unprepared -I have no business being out here.  I have felt that way in business, health, relationships....  the water is rough.  I can't swim. What am I doing here? Surely, I'll drown.  

Sunset Paddle
As I settled in to paddling and getting a good rhythm going, I was caught in between mini-fits of panic and sheer delight. I dipped my paddle left, right, left right... pause.. roll over the wave, readjust... left, right, dip, paddle... wee!!!   Eeeek!  It seemed every seventh wave was stronger than the others and splashed over the top of my kayak, showering me with warm lake water.  The air was still warm and muggy, the night sky was a canvas of watercolors.... I was never more terrified and excited at the same time.  I AM alive!

Ah! Again! Such is LIFE!  Terrifying, rewarding, crazy, brilliant, beautiful!  Thrilling!

Hard to believe I am turning 39 the next day.  Thirty nine - didn't I just turn 29?  I guess if you want to describe the last decade of my life, this lake is a perfect analogy - choppy, rough, scary, crazy, thrilling, beautiful, fun.  I managed to paddle through the troubled waters of the last few years. 

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine 

Common Loon, Mooselookmeguntic Lake
The wind whipped down from the north creating what my Dad always called a "Salmon Ripple".... and the sun cascaded swirls of orange, pink and lavender into the waves.  A loon cried out a mournful howl.  She was missing her mate.  She let out another long cry.  I spotted her bobbing up and down on the same waves that were challenging me.  Her black feathers as dark as night, her white spots glowing in the dimming light - like diamonds.  From across the cove I heard her mate answer in short, reassuring cries - I'm here! I'm here! I'm here!  She immediately dove into the dark waves and was gone to join her partner.   I was left to drift on the waves alone.  But I'm not alone.  Just like that loon, I can reach out to my partner, and he would be there.  In fact, he will be up to camp around midnight tonight to celebrate my birthday with me.  I'm here! I'm here! I'm here!  I couldn't wait to see him and tell him about my adventure.

Calm Waters, Mooselookmeguntic Lake
I paddled to a cove, and even though I was still on the great big lake of Mooselookmeguntic that just a few feet away was churning up white caps that threatened to swamp my kayak, the cove was as smooth as glass.  From here, I was able to watch the sun dip down into the mountains.   I could see the loons, now reunited floating enjoying the calm refuge of the cove.  I wondered what made the loon leave her partner to venture out into the churning waves to begin with.  The clouds exploded with light, rays of sun bursting up into the sky  - turning the clouds into fluorescent shades of hot pink, blazing orange and magenta.  The moon that would be full in a few days - the Blue Moon, glowed behind me.  Although it was hard to take my eyes off the glorious fireball sunset, I decided I had better turn back to camp.  Now I was facing South East, to  Bald Mountain. Looking at the summit from the vantage point of the lake, I smiled at the thought that Destiny is up there, looking down at me.   I am glad I spread her ashes on top of a mountain.  She loved to watch the world go by.... and I was extremely comforted to know she was with me now.  I paddled on....

As if the sun pulled an off switch on a ceiling fan as it set, the wind subsided and the lake became calm.  I gently paddled back to camp, the only sounds were the splashing of the waves against the bow of my boat, and the splashing of my paddles.  Dip, splash... splash... dip...

I thought about the rough waters in my life, and realized I was well equipped to handle the waves.  I had a sturdy vessel, I have a partner in my life who loves and supports me, I have experience, wisdom, and knowledge.  I knew where to look for calm coves to get reprieve.  I have the Universe guiding me and creating beauty.  I can trust myself to navigate.   Sail on Silver Girl....

As the dock came into view, the moon that would be full in a couple days - marking the "Blue Moon"  glowed and the darkened lake glistened in greeting to the moon beams.  All my dreams are on their way... see how they shine....  Sail on Silver Girl...
Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now .... Paradise is paddling through rough water....