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Of Herons… And of Life

[1]
North Alabama, NY— My wife likes Herons and waterfowl. Blue Herons, particulalry.
And, after her mother passing on a couple weeks ago, now, my wife needed a break, rather badly. Those are the two great truths that bring us here this weekend.

It’s Sunday night, about 18:00hrs as this is written, and we’re sitting in a parking area on the western fringes of Cayuga Marsh, out along SR77, north and somewhat west of Batavia, at the very edge of the huge Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge [2].

Springtime, you see, has never been her favorite time of year, at least since I met her. She lost her father, before I met her… and it was around this time of year, and now her mother, as well…. within a few weeks of each other, in the measure of the rolling year. So it is that while I’ve always regarded spring as my reminder that the world is refreshed, and a return for me to sanity, after the long, harsh winters this place can dish out, she tends to regard spring as a time to be reminded of a sad event… Well, now it’s TWO sad events… in her life.

I’ve never said much to her about this, but I do understand it.

[3]For years, now, whenever we get the chance, we’ve been going to places out along the Lake Ontario Parkway, and to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge [4], and various wetlands around our area…. being on the south shore of Lake Ontario does have it’s advantages. We’ve even gone to other places, like for example our trip to Bombay hook down along the Deleware shoreline last October. We did a run to the Bay of Fundy a few years ago, too. (We’re already making plans to go back Bombay Hook, even if, due to the price of fuel, it ends up being the only place we go over the summer.)

Frankly, I’d have much preferred spending the day running to Montezuma, or even to the Delaware Shore. But we can’t. Money and time, those two elements that will be the death of us all, eventually, intrude once again and prevent us from going. Because I’m “On Call” this weekend, we can’t even get much more than an hour out of the city, so even Montezuma, being about an hour and a half out, is out of the question for today.

The time since the end of January, when my mother in law started suffering with health concerns, has been hard on my wife, and it’s been going on pretty much without relief. There’s a sad sinking feeling you get when someone you love is going though such problems; You’d like to help, but it’s out of your hands.

Today, however, everything lined up. The weather’s wonderful, the birds are in plenty, and the cellphone is mercifully silent.

So….for this day, then, we’ll be content and indeed well served, to simply sit here on the hard wood benches and watch the continuous parade of Blue Herons flying overhead, the Coots and the Seagulls the ducks the geese and all the other birds, that give a concert every night about this time. It’s cool enough that there’s no bugs to speak of, with a refreshing breeze coming up off the water. It’s warm enough, though, to remind one of the coming summer which isn’t all that far off.

In the midst of all of this, I can feel the tension slipping away from my wife. And, in the doing, myself, as well. You see….until I sat here, I hadn’t realized how her suffering with all this, had affected ME.

After a couple of hours, we get back into BitsBox, and head south to the CSX Buffalo Mainline, so the kids can see a train or two before we head home. It’s not been easy on them, either. But as we drive there, I see something… and it gives me pause to be reminded how little I’ve seen of it of late… and how much I’ve missed and needed it…. A smile on the face of the beautiful woman in the passenger’s seat.

Yes, the life we’re going back to, is hard, at least in the emotional sense… and it will be for a while for us, yet. There’s some fairly large wounds to heal, and that takes time.  But there is an end in sight… fuzzy, but there.

And, maybe, just maybe, the trick to this is reminding ourselves of the things like renewal, and life goes on, and beauty remains, by getting her… getting US…. close to where it’s happening.