one in the bush

I always become a little reflective around August 13th each year, the “anniversary” of my eye surgery. The year was 1976 and I have had a one eyed view of the world ever since. I think about the events that culminated on that Friday 13th, what was and what has been since. I have to be honest that few days go by when I don’t think damn it!

It is not so much the loss of eyesight, but the constant need to be alert, as an artificial eye can cause unsightly discharges at time. I know it is a very minor thing, but to always be concerned about a build-up and how it might appear to the general viewing public is tiresome. I don’t complain, well not aloud, but some days I wish… but then don’t so many of us do that?

Our weekly assembly takes place in an outdoor undercover area, and this chilly winter’s morning, I set my chair up to the side, at the rear of the assembly, in a sunny spot. One of the perks of being a teacher librarian is that I don’t have a home class, and so I don’t have to sit in any special area; I can choose sun, or shade according to season.

By the end of the thirty minute assembly, I was toasted very nicely with my top up of vitamin D, but going back to my chilly office was not that inviting at first. I felt like a big floppy house cat and just wanted to laze a little longer in the sun. A cup of tea would have been nice too.

I have just read Stephanie Nielson’s memoir. American readers would probably already know her from her blog and appearances on Oprah, but for those who don’t; Stephanie is a young mother who was brutally injured in a light plane crash, along with her husband. The memoir reflects on her life before the accident, and of course, her fight to recover from that accident. Stephanie found great comfort in her Mormonism, and her family.

Her life is a stark reminder that we all need to enjoy each moment, but we all know that in our hearts. It is one of the tenets of life we know, but all too frequently forget to follow until, we do indeed have one of those life changing moments.

I have had a couple life changing moments, big and small, and I have found that I still forget to enjoy my moments. I think this is especially true for many of us when we are young. We just kick over the traces and boldly go forth again. It is only now that I am more mature, that I am actually taking more time to enjoy the moments. I think that it is that I give myself permission to do so.

Yesterday, as I walked into the school, a couple of brightly coloured parrots flew into a shrub and started to dine on the honey nectar in the flowers. They were so bright, and the flowers on the shrub were a bright red too, it was really a photographic moment so I gave myself permission to stop on the path and just watch.

I never would have done that when I was younger. I would have felt silly – gosh, someone might see me stop in the middle of the concrete path and stare into a shrub! How embarrassing!

Now, I don’t give a damn. I know the prize that awaits me. Two days later and I still have very clear treasured memories of the moment.

There is some regret that I had to wait for midlife to appreciate this aspect of my life, but I think, better late than never is probably the maxim to go with, rather than tarnish my thoughts and experiences.

So, if there is one thing I would like to share with you today, it is that if life is nothing more than a series of moments, don’t wait until many more have escaped before you stop to appreciate them – they do come in limited supply,after all. It doesn’t matter how silly we look peering into shrubbery, we know that the moment is good.

[And let us admit it, you will always look sillier than me, for I am THE Flamingo Dancer, so I have nothing to worry about.]

14 thoughts on “one in the bush

  1. Yeah, middle age does this to people I guess. Yesterday, I stopped in the middle of the pavement to stare at a flame-of-the-forest tree in full bloom, in flaming red, and yellow butterflies hovering around them. I remember thinking to myself why I hadn’t noticed such spectacular beauty during the earlier seasons, and concluded that the fact that my mid-life birthday is a month away could be it.
    But of course. We can’t all be Flamingo Dancer, can we ?

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    • But then would we all want to be Flamingo Dancer? I think Mr FD would be the first to say there is barely room enough for one in the universe!
      I call those moments “life’s freebies” – they are ours for the noticing.

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  2. I have not read the book but I understand what you are referring to. I now notice things that have always been there around me but I SEE them now. Today it was watching a bird dance in the grass… and I remember it now, hours later. Middle age people call it? Or maybe just seeing that I am not the center of the universe?
    Don’t even get me on the changes in the garden and the seasons. I will be into flower arranging and embroidery before you bloody know it!

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    • I did embroidery in my teens so won’t be going back there, and my idea of flower arranging is shoving a bunch in a vase! I notice the Martha Stewart is pretty crap at flower arranging though she appears not to notice or care!
      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no matter what the age, which is a gift.

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  3. I think it is tough for most people to stop and enjoy the moment because they would need to turn off their auto-pilot. And let’s face it – the majority of us isn’t even aware that we are on it.

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  4. I didn’t know that about the discharges. What a drag. I’m sure most people would never notice it anyway. We all get weepy eyes occasionally. I suppose that’s why some people choose to wear a patch?

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    • It might be why some wear a patch, though I think more so because of the damage to their eye socket and not being able to “hold” the eye in place. I have become more honest about the whole thing the older I become – another benefit of maturity!

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  5. I remember writing once that I loved watching the moon so much that I was in danger of stopping in the middle of the street, just so I could get a better view of her pretty face.

    If I go a day without noticing something on the wayside – magenta roses growing by a Mustang dealership, or a scarlet leaf lying on the ground – I feel as if I’ve failed myself. Never be ashamed of your divine observances, FD!

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  6. You give us plenty to think about with this story FD. At this late stage in my life I’ve eventually got into the daily habit of taking time out to appreciate the blessings I have in this life and enjoying moments of doing nothing…..I’ve spent too much of my life following the Methodist ‘excessive work’ and ‘avoiding pleasures’ philosophies…..these days I have my own religion.

    Good luck with selling the house.

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  7. Whenever there’s a loss, it makes us appreciate so much more what we do have. It’s a delicate balance between being realistic about our own loss while appreciating all that is available to us…appreciating the gifts each day brings.

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