Looking Up

I am not sure if taking pictures of a Great Horned Owl nesting in a large live oak over our coach made me think of this old FMCA blog entry or not, but if it did then that is okay. I wrote it not long after we lost our grandson.

 I re-read it myself this morning and I like it so maybe you will too. 

Looking Up

Entry posted by -Gramps- · November 8, 2011

Diane has spent the last week in Florida visiting our daughter, Jeri, and her family. The care of myself, Joel, the house and last but not least, Teddy Bear, has been left to me.

That means that I need to take a high-energy, long-legged Cocker Spaniel for a walk every day or he goes stir crazy. When that happens he rings the bell hanging by the back door every ten minutes so that someone, me, will let him out.

Getting up from the couch every ten minutes tends to spoil the continuity of the football game or whatever it is that I am watching at the time.

I have taken him for a walk every day, except one rainy day, since Diane left. We walk in our own neighborhood. The weather has been good. The skies have been blue and the leaves are starting to have their best color. Teddy walks with his nose to the ground. Scents are like candy to him. He reads the entire local doggy P-mail at each mailbox post. He sniffs the trash cans. I give him the leash every now and then just so he can follow a scent trail until he decides to resume his happy little trot down the street. It quickly becomes obvious that my dog enjoys living in the moment.

I have taken a cue from Teddy Bear. I don’t walk with my nose to the ground of course, but I still use my senses to enjoy the moment.

I see. Most people tend to watch their own feet when they walk. I look up. I watch the gentle swaying of the trees in the wind. I glance at the sun as it peeks between the branches of the tall pines. I take in the contrast of the red maples against a bright blue sky. I notice the clouds moving across the sky and just like when I was a kid they start to take on shapes. One might become a ship, another a flock of sheep, another the profile of a sleeping old man.

I listen. The wind in the trees reminds me of the ocean on a calm day with the waves gently crashing against the shore. Wind blowing through a grassy field sounds the same way. There is something about that sound, that continuity, that I find peaceful. It is a common thread that our Creator has woven though his creation.

I smell. Well, you know what I mean. I use my nose. I smell the leaves wet with dew. I smell the wood smoke coming from fireplace chimneys that we walk by. Smells provoke memories, more than sights or sounds. When I smell wood burning, I am carried back to the mountains, where I am sitting around a campfire with my family and my friends. I remember the nights spent in a tent, looking up at the stars through the screen window, listening to the wind in the trees. I think about how my life has changed from tent to coach both literally and figuratively.

This last Sunday Teddy Bear and I took our walk at the Portsmouth Seawall. We walked along the Elizabeth River while watching the ships in the yards across the river in Norfolk. I looked at the downtown Norfolk skyline while Teddy checked out all the smells. We listened to the water lapping against the seawall. We both watched other walkers, human and doggy. We talked to both.

There is a boat landing built into the seawall where the ferry to Norfolk docks. Mariners visiting Portsmouth can dock there as well. As we were walking buy I smelled charcoal smoke. It took me a minute to find the source. It was coming from a metal chimney on a ketch, a sailboat. The smell made me think of salmon steaks on the grill, corn on the cob and a cold one. I wondered whether the person in the boat was getting ready to cook steaks or shrimp or just taking the chill out of his floating home.

We spent quite a bit of time in the Portsmouth Marina, walking by the boats docked there. We gazed at a multi million dollar yacht. I looked with admiration at a wooden, teak to be exact, schooner that was built in 1938. It had either been restored or a lot of people have been giving it tender loving care for a long time. Either way it was a beautiful boat.

Where have these boats been, I asked myself. Have any been around the world? I imagined what it must be like to be at sea, no land in sight, sailing to some exotic location.

As I was looking at the boats, some big, some small, some huge I reminded myself that I own something like it only it is on wheels.

I read all the names. “Sail Away,” “Endeavor II,” “The Christine Marie,” to name a few. I found the last name to be interesting because that is my daughter’s name. One of my favorite names was “Better Times.” We can only hope that is the case for us all.

There will be better times, but right now isn’t so bad, either. Like Teddy Bear keeps telling me ... enjoy the moment.

Well, got to go. Diane will be at the Norfolk airport in an hour. Seeing her again is a moment I am going to enjoy, for sure.

Speaking of better times, Jeri is expecting a healthy baby boy sometime around April 7, 2012, on her son Dylan’s birthday.

Things are looking up.

Derrick

"Gramps"