I took my grateful walk this morning; as usual, I stopped at the end of the driveway to contemplate my blessings. The breeze was blowing gently and the palms responded, swaying with gentle precision to the commands of the breeze. The shadows appeared and disappeared as expected. I was struck with the beauty of it all and the calm and natural way the things happened.
I looked through the gate at the mammoth blackberry bush just outside, sprawling and spreading itself at will. This volunteer blackberry plant, the gift of my bird family, apparently knows more about itself than I do. You see, I planted several blackberry vines in another “appropriate place” only to find them never quite happy there. But this vine, now eight or ten feet in diameter, has carved out its own destiny. The berries are almost ready.
I have told you about my red-tailed hawk that has made its home in the palm at the end of the driveway. It comes to visit occasionally. The most amazing visit was a few nights ago when I was sitting on my patio with a friend having a wonderful chat. All of a sudden we were both silent, staring at each other with a look that comes only with special wonderment about an event, sight, or sound.
A red-tailed hawk swooped down to the top of the umbrella pole at the table where we were sitting, picked up its prey and was gone with unimaginable swiftness. What poor rodent, at least my friend said it had a tail like a rat, made the mistake of hiding in the top of the umbrella, we’re not certain. But the stunning silence of the approach and the quickness of the snatch completely astonished us. It came and went with its prey clutched tightly and we never heard a sound. We both agreed we had never experienced such an amazingly successful hunting expedition. I am stunned daily as I watch them hunt, soar, and glide across my sky, But as I thought about it at the end of my driveway this morning, I was hoping the hawk would do a fly-over so I could thank it for the untold joy it brings. My friend and I will always be saying to each other, “Remember the evening that the hawk…”
About Moscow. While I was sitting at the end of the driveway, my mind wandered back to the discussion on the news about where Mr. Snowden, the young man who absconded with three computers filled with our top secret stuff, is. I smiled as I thought about the news I heard. “Mr. Snowden is in the transient lounge in Moscow; he’s not officially in Russia,” is the report from the authorities. I think he knows he’s in Russia. I can tell you I knew I was in the Soviet Union (when I visited many years ago) long before I was in the lounge. You know before you ever get off the plane. Mr. Snowden knows he is in Russia, believe me. I wonder how he is enjoying his travels.
Then I looked a little to the left at the home of my son and his family. I had dinner with them last night. We sat in the cool of the evening on their patio and talked of many things. The report cards of my two amazing granddaughters, Hailey and Cassidy, had just come in the mail. Totally amazing girls, these two. But the report was not news to them; they live in he digital age. They are very good friends with the computer and smart phones.
And then came the vote; who’s going to do the dishes? Bob lost. That meant Hailey would take me home. Seemed like an opportunity to spend a little time with this wonderful, busy young lady. A senior in high school next year, makes the choice of college a frequent topic of conversation in her world. She will have choice because she has worked hard to have choice. I think she understands that the best way to be free is to have the power to choose. We talked about several colleges; I shared some of the things that I learned over the many years I spent in universities as a student and as an employee. You would have enjoyed the conversation as much as I did, and I hope she did. This young woman is my granddaughter, but I wish you could know her as I do. Some university will be really lucky if she chooses it. Go Hailey!And there are so many more things at the end of my driveway besides the blackberry bush, the hawk, and Moscow. The most important things that are always in my gratitude walk are my family, especially my incredible four grandchildren, (Colin, Kera, Hailey, and Cassidy), my faith, my friends, and my love of my country that I fight every day to preserve for those I love.