Category Archives: women writing

Captured Moment on the Journey

IMG_6496.JPGWe were on the boardwalk, looking over the savannah.  We’d just spotted two birds in the tall Florida grasses, just beyond a tree trunk and a clump of bushes. We all paused, trying to identify these two brown, long-tailed birds.

I could not make them out. What were they? Curious, I followed them when they flew away, startled by our movement. The others continued down the boardwalk, but I went in the opposite direction, hoping to get a closer look.

I did!  There they were, one clinging to the grass, the other perched in a bush. I tried to find it in my binoculars, confused at first by the clumps of leaves on the bush, until it’s round breast came clearly into view, proudly flashing in the sun.

White throat.  Slightly flat brown head.  White beak…not real long.  It occurs to me, this might be a migratory bird, since I didn’t know it right away.  Maybe it was a shrike?  But no; too brown.  Maybe an oriole?  No, wrong color scheme.

I puzzled for awhile, and finally, worried the others might get too far ahead, I moved on.  The boardwalk stretched out ahead of me, empty, bare, warmed by the sun.  I quickened my step, wondering how far they had gotten, then calmed myself, hearing their voices.

I slowed down again (at least in my own mind), wanting to hold on to that moment: The open savannah, the warm sun, the light getting a bit stronger as it rose higher in the sky.  I was aware of that in-between state of the present, with the pair of birds  behind me and the small flock in front of me, clutching cameras, binoculars, jackets.  They were in the future, this moment was the present, the unknown birds already in the past.

Such are the combined pleasures—and insights—of hiking on a trail, looking for birds, and slowing my stride to capture a moment of time.

Here.
In the bird-watching garden.

P.S. Bird list from the day: White-eyed vireo, yellow-rumped warbler, two great blue herons , red-wing blackbirds, mud hens, tri-colored heron, kingfisher, flock of ibis, pine warbler, voice of the pileated woodpecker!

(P.P.S. see more pictures and watch a video on our WWf(a)c Facebook page.)IMG_6493.JPG

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Filed under birds, hiking, journaling, women writing, write + hike, writing

Down by the Riverside

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Written on August 9, 2015, from my new home in Riverside, which is also the new home of Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville.

When a robin came to visit me last January, warning me that change was coming, I could not have imagined how much, indeed, was coming my way.

Six months later, I’ve moved to a new house in Riverside, my last child has left for college out of state, and the garden I tended for 12 years has been turned over to someone else’s care.

I’ve also acquired a new life metaphor: The river. My new house is just steps from the riverbank, so every day Buster (my Yorkie) and I walk to the river, where I am reminded to flow WITH the river, not push against it. Getting to this place, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, has been quite a journey. I’ve chosen to work with the Universe, reading the signs, and taking right action from there.

So far, it’s been pure pleasure, but yesterday I woke up for the first time alone, with both my son and daughter gone to college, and I felt a deep ache inside me. Yes, the hardest job of a mother is to rear her children so they can one day go away from her.

It has been my privilege to do that.

But now, we’ve all transitioned to a new life stage, and we’ve got to do the next right thing. Fortunately, I’m reading Transitions, by William Bridges, and it’s helped a lot.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying my new neighborhood, running often along the river, walking to the Riverside Arts Market and Grassroots for my groceries, and dropping in to Five Points’ Sun Ray Cinema for their latest film. It feels good to leave behind my life on the road in the ‘burbs, where it seems I was accessible to everything and close to nothing.

With Fall coming, it’s time to call a new circle of women for the latest fall writing classes. We’ll be using Julia Cameron’s famous book, The Artist’s Way, to guide our writing, as I’d like to explore our artistic process as writers and “cultural creatives” here in Jacksonville (as Alex Coley of Unity Plaza would say).

At Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, I hope to provide a warm hearth, comfortable chairs, and a safe circle for women to explore their own creative flow, their own life transitions, and their own unique stories of growth, personal transformation, and right living.

I hope you’ll join me, so we can find The Way together.

Here.
In the Riverside Garden.

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