Friday, August 29, 2008

Long-Legged Cranes and Turning Seasons

I spotted it, all the way across the yard, standing guard, looking out toward the deeper water. It was a good two feet tall, with grey on its upper body, and legs that reminded me of myself when I was about 10 years old. How did they support the bird's upper body? It stood there with its back to me, tolerating my presence as long as I didn't come too close.

I wanted to see more, so I crept closer, eventually invading the waterbird's personal space. It lifted off the deck of the boathouse, spread out its wings and flew off, perching on another dock, two spaces down the lake. There it took up its position at the edge, again looking out over the water. I was not of interest. Lunch was.

I watched it awhile, struck by the solitariness of its life. How beautiful it looked with the open, grey water as a backdrop. Only its head moved, side to side, as it stood guard. Living in Pennsylvania, where water abounds, we've been blessed to see waterbirds fly over our home, or cross over the highway we're traveling. That odd little crook in the wings confirms it's indeed one of those ancient looking members of the waterbird group. There's something so magnificent about them, in spite of the fact that, really, they're sort of funny looking. We spot them high overhead, but rarely up close.

I gazed at it for awhile, then I hurried off to tell DH, excitedly, that we'll have cranes right in our back yard, if you can call a lake a yard. It struck me that there will be many new wonders where we're moving to, new experiences, exciting and scary and wonderful and funny. I turned around one last time to look at the tall, beautiful, skinny-legged bird, and felt God telling me very distinctly - 'Bev, you get to have these in your backyard, but you're going to have to open up your hand and let go of what's already there now'.

'There now' is our daughter and her family which happens to include a fat-cheeked little two year old. 'There now' is familiarity, a church we've attended for over twelve years, a solid group of friends who call me and invite me to join them, 'there now' is going to the grocery store and almost always running into someone I know by name. A part of me wanted to cry out, "God, I can't choose this over that. Over her, my daughter and her family. I don't want the new that badly." I realized, standing there watching the bird, it's not one over the other, but rather recognizing that our lives are made up of seasons, seasons that come and go. I can't enjoy the beauty of turning leaves each fall if I won't let go of summer's juicy watermelon...

Most older people eventually have arthritis in their hands, making it difficult to clinch a fist. The older we get, the more we're nudged to open our hands and let go, whether it's letting that child climb on the school bus, or move into their college dorm, or walk down that church aisle, or go off to war, or maybe it's letting go of living independently, or the dignity afforded us by taking care of our personal needs. I love how tightly a newborn baby will grab my finger when I place it in the middle of their little fist. They hold on for dear life. Apparently it's going to take me a lifetime to learn to open my hands, turn loose of what's already there, then hold them open, waiting for the next gift He hands me, even when it's a tall, funny-looking, bird with skinny legs.


Paulette said...

Beautiful bev, It has got to be so hard to leave so much behind. It is a huge adjustment. I just know you will find so much peace in this new place God has for you. The cranes are amazing and also you will have pelicans who fly in an migrate in this area. We dump our left over food in the lake off the dock and it makes for wonderful bass fishing as well.
Also do not be surprised if your area is wooded to see many deer wandering down by the lake as well.
I know you well enough to know, that you will indeed bloom where you are planted in your new home and it will be an amazing new change!
I will pray that the adjustment is peaceful for you Bev.

Betty said...

Very beautifully written and very very true!

secondofwett said...

Well said.

Barb said...

As happy as you obviously are to be moving back to your roots in SE Texas, I know it's going to be really hard to leave PA and especially your kids behind.

We both know how hard it was to move our first child away to college and we also both know that with time, it becomes easier to accept.

On the one hand, I'm very excited about your move. On the other hand, my heart hurts for you and Leslie.

It's funny how life cycles repeat themselves. You and me and our brothers all scattered to the wind when we grew up. Now our own immediate families, our children, are scattering.

I know it's the cycle of life, but it still hurts. I can imagine how mixed your emotions are right now.


PS - cranes in your backyard - that's amazing. Now you're going to have to find some crane feeders to go with all your other bird feeders. :-)

Gretchen said...

I have no words...beautiful.

Judith said...

There is no easy way. The depth of your anguish shows how deep your love is. But unlimited phone calls, and e-mails, and trips both ways may help a little. I will be praying God puts some grace on this.

Renna said...

Your very moving post really spoke to me, where I am today. I'm on that cusp of needing to embrace a new season of our life (mine and dh's), and having such a difficult time opening my hand to release what's 'there now'. Thanks to your post, I can see it in a whole new light.

Karen said...

Bev, I'm S.O. behind on blogging, but I had to sit down and at least get caught up with you! I love your new blog and I love even more that you are moving to Texas! We'll be in the same state!!

I am in the middle of one of those changing of seasons, too--Benjamin started preschool a couple of weeks ago. He only goes from 8am until 1pm, but oh my. The tears did flow that first day of preschool--and none of them were from him! It's hard to let go, but I know God always has blessings untold in the new chapters of life.

Love and blessings to you,

Indigo Robe said...

ok, I just personally emailed you a question and you pretty much answered it here in this post that I should have read before I emailed.

But it's still not in my head that we could even fathom doing this. I'm really glad you decided to keep blogging so I can read along on this great adventure.

dianne - bunny trails said...

Lovely post, Bev. I know how hard that can be. Years ago, when hubs & I moved to California, it was very difficult. I, too, knew people everywhere I went, having lived in Colorado since I was 3. Everything was familiar. There wasn't an area of town that I didn't get to at one time or another.

However, I didn't have children, grandchildren (still don't have those), and since it was in my BC life, I had no church family. I'm sure yours will be even more difficult. Yet I know that the Lord will bless your obedience, and it's so true - there are many seasons in our lives. Some are easy to transition from; others, not so much. But He's still God, He's still holding you in the palm of His hand, and still loves you immensely.

Jeremiah 33:3 has been on my heart through much of our house-hunting and moving adventure: "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."

I suspect He has great & mighty things for you! I look forward to reading about them. :D