Settle back with a cup of your favorite hot tea and let’s chat about the year ahead.
I certainly could have posted a more beautiful photo to wish you well for the new year. I’m just drifting a bit to the philosophical side of the path on this January One. Yes, there is a great deal of brown in the picture and the trees are bare. It’s not spectacular. But there is a bridge — and we’re crossing over into the unknown. And there is a curve on the path that leads to the unseen. That’s what I’m thinking about as I wish all the best for your 2012.
I walked this exact path today. It’s one of my favorites. Yes, there is brown stretching as far as the eye can see. But occasionally, there are great patches of blue. The water laps a soothing rhythm at the edge of the lake shore and soon — I am surrounded by beauty. That is what I hope for you — to be surrounded by moments of surprising splendor in the midst of the every day brown.
Oh, there have been days that I’ve walked this path and spied a rattlesnake sunning its coils about a foot from my ankle. Oh, yes. This is Oklahoma. I’ve walked it with my daughter and heard a grrrrrrrr in the bushes that most definitely sounded like a bear. Our pace to the car picked up considerably. (We later decided it had to have been a wild boar.) (Do they growl?) I don’t know — bear — wild boar — none too great to meet up with in the back woods.
I’ve walked this path with a friend and listened to her ghost story and nearly jumped out of my skin when an armadillo rustled in the leaves. I mock-punched her (my friend, not the armadillo) in the arm for scaring me out of my wits. Then, we laughed all the way back to the car.
Two of my daughters walked this path and watched a cougar pass in front of them — not twenty feet, they say. (Well, one says bobcat, one says cougar.) Once again — who cares which? It was a bit too close for comfort. But it was an amazing moment they will never forget.
So, why do we keep walking this path?
Well, it’s Oklahoma. And this is where we live. I can’t stay holed up forever. Sometimes it’s a little wild out there.
There was also the day when a hawk “accompanied” me the entire 3 1/2 miles around. It would fly and perch on a tree top. I would walk. It would fly and perch. I would walk. It would fly and perch. I can’t explain why. It really happened. It was just there and it was peaceful.
I’ve seen a blue heron, Canadian geese, wild ducks, woodpeckers, cardinals, blue birds — all on the same day. Chirping, warbling, whistling, honking songs created a bird symphony to accompany my steps, which lightened considerably. Those are the spectacular times.
The spring puts on a wildflower show that you wouldn’t believe. I’ve photographed pink wild roses, towering golden yucca, and masses of Indian Blankets and Indian Paintbrush.
I’ve learned to appreciate all of the seasons. Each one holds unexpected bounty. I’ve experienced the heady, summer fragrance of wild honeysuckle. I’ve trudged up an incline in the snow, determined to get some exercise and chase off a touch of cabin fever. I’ve even ran (okay half-jogged, walked, half-jogged some more, walked some more, crawled — just kidding) the entire route in the pouring rain.
Some days I’ve struggled to walk a mile, much less 3 1/2. But there have been a few that I’ve mustered up enough energy to circle it twice. Either one brews a certain sense of accomplishment.
The sunsets are amazing. The water reflects amethyst, sapphire, and diamond flames. Talk about rich — it’s like a private art-show in the sky. Except it’s not exclusive. All you have to do is look up.
So, there’s a trade-off. I walk. Nature puts on a show. Sometimes it may seem a bit perilous. Sometimes it’s breathtaking. Mostly, it’s soothing … and always — the sun comes back up the next day and sets again that evening. And I can participate in as many of those as I choose to.
That’s kind of how I see the new year. I know right off the bat that it’s not going to be all sunsets and roses. There may be some rattlesnake moments. Maybe not.
But I’ll keep walking.
That’s what I wish for you.
One foot in front of the other. I hope that this year soothes you, dazzles you, takes your breath away in beautiful moments and goes easy on you with the lions and rattlesnakes and bears. Oh my. And the wild boars. And the armadillos.
Happy New Year from Miss Cynthia in Oklahoma. I hope that you have many moments of TranquiliTEA to cherish.
(Take a moment to say, “Howdy,” and leave a comment below, okay? I’d love to have more conversations with you this year. Let me know you stopped in, won’t you, Friend?) The tea is always on.
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