Last week I was in Calgary for a couple of cardiac tests that my surgeon had ordered to be completed before our next meeting with him in a few weeks –
These tests were within a few days of each other,
and when I received short notice of the second test, we decided to go up a couple of nights early and enjoy some time as a family. Dan and I have been busy and preoccupied lately and have decided to make a concerted effort to play more.
So on Saturday afternoon we headed up to Calgary with the kids.
For the next day and a half we toured the mall, swam, read, had a few delicious meals, and spent an afternoon walking outside on that first glorious day that truly feels like Spring. It was a little retreat that felt healing and devoid of expectations,
a spontaneous escape.
On the morning of my test, though, we were packing up our hotel room, suddenly overwhelmed again by weekday realities.
We needed to figure out the easiest way to get to the hospital and where to park, Olivia was worried about the homework she needed to finish, and Dan was making calls for work. I was feeling tense and nervous and was barking at the kids about picking up their stuff, hurrying,
and on it went…
Suddenly, though, George started laughing, pointing, and calling us over to the window.
Olivia looked first, then Dan, and all three were laughing like crazy.
I could not imagine what could be outside of an 11th story window that could be so funny but Dan said, ‘Karen you have to see this’.
This is what they were all looking at,
She was just sitting on the ledge honking madly at us,
and she would not leave.
The kids were absolutely beside themselves. We all were. This goose was positively insistent that we notice her.
Here’s the thing.
There are moments in life,
wherein it feels pretty clear that we are being looked out for…. there is that sudden sense that we are definitely not alone, and that maybe the veil between worlds is a little thinner than we realize and there are infinite creative possibilities for communication and expressions of love.
I have had many such moments, and this was one of those times.
This message felt pretty clear
Everything is going to be ok.
This silly and deeply comforting bird, or our Mother Goose as George affectionately called her, didn’t fly off until we all had walked away first, back to our business….
We calmly carried on with our day and all, of course, was well.
During our lovely aforementioned Spring walk, we came upon the much discussed new Peace Bridge.
The Peace Bridge (great name!) is a pedestrian bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, that accommodates both pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Bow River in Calgary.
Of course, whenever we are with Dan we can’t miss the opportunity to check out new pieces of architecture,
but while he’s analyzing the form and details of the structure, the English major in me is often busy creating metaphors in my head.
Like my recurring geese,
bridges have been a frequent symbol in our lives as of late.
Olivia is in the midst of a big project whereby she has to carefully construct a bridge out of toothpicks for science, and she was also just telling us that in class the other day her teacher had created a whole playlist of songs that included the word bridge.
Of course Dan and I both raced to say,
Like ‘Bridge over Troubled Water?’,
This period of my life does feel like a period of bridging and as I think about those around me I see many friends and family members in similar positions,
walking and working towards new situations, uncomfortably wedged in the in-between part.
Perhaps, though, much of life simply is a bridge,
as change is ever-constant and life is always surely moving us to what’s next.
Maybe the point is to just stop every so often rather than fixate on what’s at the other side, because beauty is not just there, it’s here too,
over and beyond the rail and down in the waves of the Little Bow,
in the inspired and joyful architecture,
in the vibrant and playful red,
in the curves and the rounding structure, and the gorgeous blue sky framed through the arches,
and in the people moving by us on their Sunday strolls.
It’s all beautiful,
and we are supported.
I have just begun reading Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington.
So far, I am quite enjoying it. Much of it does not feel like new information, but the contexts and examples that Huffington offers are current, interesting, and important. The book is persuasive and highly readable,
and shows us how the business world in particular must move towards integrating wellness for all.
Also, just when I think I have read every great quote, Huffington found some new ones to thrill me,
And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” Iain Thomas