Life scares me at times. I feel the fullness of time bending my back and curving me to its will. My body won’t respond the way I want. I can’t exercise as much as I need. I’ve gained weight and the willpower barometer hovers on zero. Yet I tell myself that my problems pale in comparison with those of 10,000,000 Ukrainians and my three neighbors with cancer. These comparisons rein my self-pity short. I shake my head and pour a glass of water. I raise it to my shaky lips and tell myself, Tomorrow is another day. And I still have Tara. And as God is my witness. . .
I drive home after work, crossing the bridge at about the same time I remember that I said I would get a prescription for one of those sick neighbors. I ease through the intersection, signal left, and pull a wide turn back to the westbound lanes. The traffic yields and in just a few minutes, I find myself on the far side of the tall lift bridge, headed to the pharmacy. The detour adds eight minutes to my commute. I barely notice the lag.
With the small, white bag on the cluttered seat, I make my way east again. In just a few minutes, I turn onto the Loop, via Jackson Slough Road with its alternating stretches of new asphalt and vicious pot holes. Right before the decrepit tree, I realize that an egret has taken the lead, gliding low enough for me to discern the outlines of her feet. I slow my vehicle to keep pace with her. She flicks her wings, stabilizes, and rises to the blue. For a brief moment, I consider braking and fumbling for my phone. I stop, but not to photograph her. Instead I simply watch her ascent. Then she angles over to the newly-mown field and skims its prickly surface. I think, she’s looking for water, and then ease my foot to the gas pedal. I study the stacks of hay, or maybe it’s straw, standing along the edge of the road. I lose sight of the egret as she finds her way to a furrowed row where the day’s ration of irrigation spray has settled. In a few minutes, I turn against the rays of the setting sun, and make my way home.
It’s the thirteenth day of the one-hundred and third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.