Driving along Jackson Slough this morning, I watched the long line of geese who leave the security of the flooded field for the skies. They will spend their day touring the loop, showing their fine form to the humans gawking from below the tender grey of the winter sky. They seem oblivious to our stares, wafting on the air, gliding along the fog which rolls beneath them. Their mates linger among the reeds, content to scrounge for food below the surface of the water.
Time and time again life teaches me through the patience of these wondrous creatures. They take their nourishment from the offerings around them. They lean into the cold clear flow of the river. Then they soar high, on the softness of the rain. They will land near sunset, back to the spot that I see as I drive to and from work each day. They know their place; they do not lose their path.
The lesson of my own day ripples across my shoulders, whispering, you cannot trust the winning smile and the glittering eye. The one who claims to meet the needs of those in pain usually preys on the most vulnerable. I place my confidence in anyone who pretends to sympathize. When I discover their mediocrity or, worse, their treachery, another knife sticks in my gut. Over and over, I stagger away with a sunken heart.
Tonight I drove home as the sun set and paused to watch egrets along the shore. I yearned for their steadfast confidence. They know that the San Joaquin will not betray them.
Then my neighbor sent an invitation to dinner. We shared a glass of wine over the flickering light of a remembrance candle. We drank to her brother who has just passed. We talked of healing light and positive energy. We acknowledged the shared communal spirit which we have found here. I released the pain of disappointment in yet another person whom I trusted to help me, and who bristled when I questioned actions which seemed inconsistent with my trust.
Walking home, I reminded myself that the universe rewards kindness. I remembered the advantages of staying true to my values. I closed my eyes and luxuriated in the sweetness of the night. I gave my worries to the wind.
It’s the eighth day of the sixty-first month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.