The bird in the airport.

The bird in the airport.

You know the one I mean.

The little bird you see hopping around near the unused gate. Out of place, confused, yet hopeful. Surely there’s a way out of this giant place, but none of the doors or windows ever seem to open.

file0002082373718How did he get there? What does he eat? Where does he sleep?

I find myself worrying about this little guy, even while dragging myself through terminals with too much hanging from my shoulders and more often than not, too much time on my hands due to canceled or delayed flights.

He seems to make the best of his situation. Scampering about looking for crumbs. Staying out of the way of heavy suitcases and beeping trams. At least he’s sheltered from the outside, no worries of a sudden storm or fierce wind blowing it from a tree limb.

But does he ever feel the sun on his feathers?

 Does he miss flying close to the sky? Has he ever done so?

 Does he sense that there’s something he’s missing, that’s just a few feet away, waiting for him?

Do you ever feel like that? Trapped in the same routine, the same life plan, walking the same path day after day, not even noticing anymore that there is something else out there?

It’s so much easier to just stay where you are. On the couch. At the kitchen table. Sitting by the phone. Places that don’t really connect to your soul; yet have become comfortable and familiar.

Because getting out there…finding a way out to the great beyond…is difficult. And scary. And unpredictable.

165HAnd there’s nothing wrong with sitting still, staying where you are, and finding peace in the familiar. As long as it is what you truly want. And if you’ve had a lifetime of taking risks and putting yourself out there, you’ve more than earned some sit-still time.

But if you start to feel confined…if you can’t remember how you got where you are…if you’ve stopped listening to what heart and soul is saying….that’s another story.

It’s hard enough to negotiate the airport, much less free your spirit to take wing.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

 

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

 

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

  

Emily Dickinson, “Hope is the thing with feathers”

 

 

It’s a good idea to remember that those around us might be just as unsure of where they want to be.  Their days might not be filled with the people or the activities they’d like.  They might be dreaming of taking flight, yet they are realizing those days might have past.  So when our paths intersect, maybe we can cut the other person a little more slack.

Because even when we’re not “going somewhere”,  we are still on a journey.  And kindness from strangers is always welcome—as well as from those we know very well.

Maybe next time you’re in the airport, leave a few extra crumbs on your chair. It might mean the world.

 

“You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.”

        Amelia Earhart

 

Losing a diamond in the rough.

I lost a good friend recently.  He was a true good, gentle spirit.  A gentleman to a fault.  In a profession of egos and insanity, he maintained an even, quiet demeanor that was consistent, no matter what kind of day he was having.

He did not enter a room and strategize how he could assume control.  He did not carry an impressive day planner or leather portfolio.  I never, in working with him for 30+ years, saw him wear a suit.  He simply carried himself with a confident dignity that spoke much louder than wearing a watch that can control the refrigerator.  His mode of transportation was anything but the coolest model off the showroom floor.  In fact, his beat-up car/truck/suv/crossover would have come in handy on Let’s Make a Deal, because everything he needed was inside.

I don’t remember ever having a disagreement with him.  True, his alma mater was not my favorite, but I could forgive, as he had played football for his school and was very proud of his accomplishments.  No matter how tough the assignments we faced as colleagues, or how hot the day, he’d always say, “This ain’t nothing.  Try two-a-days” in a reference to two practice workouts in one day in sweltering temps prior to the football season.

His point:  I’ve seen worse.  We’ll get through this.

And we always did, even when the demands of our clients were unorganized, unfair, and often ridiculous.  He would do what it required, whether it was a weekend, nighttime or holiday.  He was driven by a commitment to show up, do a good job, and be a grownup.

I can’t say how much I miss him.

As a friend, it hurts because he always made me laugh.  He loved music, he loved sports, and he loved his family.  He was a pleasure to be around.  As a colleague, I know I may never find anyone quite like him again.  Granted, I still work on projects with talented, mature, reasonable people.  But this particular person was from an era that we won’t see again, at least not for a long while.

Maybe one day again, people will truly respect each other for their experience and their talent, and not dismiss them if they don’t  know the latest share-file software.

Maybe one day again, every person involved in a project will take a personal interest in seeing that it is done correctly, on time, and in budget.

Maybe one day again, appearances, hairstyles and clothing won’t matter as much as wisdom, accuracy and reliability.

I hope so.  Because I can assure those under 40 that when you work in this manner, you feel better, smile more and sleep much more soundly.

He’s in a better place, at least I believe so.  He’s strumming his guitar and relaxing knowing he made a difference here.  I hope I can do the same.  We all must.

 

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

 

Stand up.  Dismiss.  Be Patient.

The world seems to have gone mad.  Anger is everywhere.  Reason has taken a vacation.  Neighbors scowl at one another, family members glare over the dinner table, friends disappear as events of the day spiral even further out of control.  What can we do?  We boomers who have lived lives of hard work, worry, duty and responsibility?  How can we keep peace around us, and somehow, peace within our hearts when we see so many things we fought for falling by the side of the road?

There’s so much that can be said.  Yet it feels like too much has been said already.  Maybe it’s time to be still enough to hear the peace that can be found if we search hard enough.  And if peace really does begin with each of us, take a new look at Walt Whitman and his words.  Soothing.  Encouraging.  And forceful.

Hear what he has to say:

“This is what you shall do:

Love the earth and the sun and the animals

despise riches, give alms to every one that asks

stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others

hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people

take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men

go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families

read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,

re-examine all that you have been told at school or church or in any book

dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes

and in every motion and joint of your body.”

 

Dismiss what insults you. Hold fast to your heart.  Reach out to those with less.

Walt had the idea.

Like Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump, we can hold tight to the mast…the winds can only blow so long. Meanness, evil and lack of justice will, like any noxious weed, eventually wither and disappear.

And in their place, new life can grow.

 

“The world will not be destroyed by evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

      Albert Einstein

 

Welcoming Fall

146

Fall

Early morning cool

Leaves starting their journey

Soft jackets with stubborn zippers

Announcers in filled football stadiums

Squirrels getting busier

Chili peppers teasing your nose

Bright lights of a county fair

New pencils and sharp crayons

Meeting new characters on television

Early blanket of darkness

Elk are bugling

Socks and sweatshirts

Warm cider and hot tea

A different light in the afternoon

Airing out the quilt

Reading the Farmer’s Almanac

Stocking up on essentials

Summer’s last gasp Laughing by the fire pit

Relaxing in the season

What is Fall for you? A time of exciting new beginnings? Or painful memories from years gone by? Does the cool air energize and inspire you, or do you wish summer’s warmth would linger?  Of course you may live somewhere that offers high temperatures year-round. If so, what does the change of season mean to you?

I’ve always viewed the fall with mixed emotions. As a child, it was the whole back-to-school thing. Then it was the back-to-campus thing during college. Then you “become an adult” and school calendars no longer rule your life (though I swear universally work stops for everyone the first week of school, and the last week of school, because no one knows where their kids, car keys, or brain are).

But then I grew older and things changed.

IMG_6287I became relieved by the cooler temperatures. It felt like a time to go inward and be still.  I loved the changing leaves and gorgeous sunsets.

Now as I am much older, Fall is also symbolic of how quickly things change. How life passes before we’re ready.

How we need to take the trip today, tell someone we love him or her today, have dessert first today.

How we should not “postpone our joy”.

Fall is a new season. But I think inside, it’s also our cue to pull the blanket around us and warm up to our lives.

Luckily, as boomers, we have a lot of kindling.

“There is a pearl in every season. Find it. Then give all you have to claim it.”

       Joan Sauro

 

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