Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things to be Thankful For

I will admit that lately, it's been hard not to be bitter. It sometimes feels easier to wallow in self-pity than to focus on the positive when you have to really work to find the positive things.
Every year, Thanksgiving is a reflective time for me, but this year I really had to struggle to identify things to be thankful for. When you're bracing yourself for what seems must be the inevitable, the next rain of frogs or plague of locusts, you're not as able to think about the good things. So I had to work hard to compile these things. To help me, I looked back at a few photos from recent months.
1. I'm thankful to live on Lake Erie, home of beautiful sunsets and other treasures.
2. I'm thankful that I can generally find interesting things to take pictures of, no matter where I go.

3. I'm thankful to live near Presque Isle State Park, where you can drive or hike or go to the beach.

4. I'm thankful for these two kiddos of mine, here in their Halloween gear. Like all kids, they're good at causing some stress on occasion, but I guess I've kept them this long so I can't let them go now. Kind of like stray dogs that you feed a couple of times, they seem to latch on. ;-) As a matter of fact, I'm thankful for my whole extended, imperfect, but supportive family.

5. And lastly (and I really had to ponder this one), I'm thankful that I'm still alive. No matter what happens, my kids need me, and they're great motivators. I may not enjoy what I'm going through right a matter of fact, I may even ponder late at night that nothingness might be better, but that thought is quickly banished. I need to get stronger for them and slowly but surely, I'm trying. And trying is all anyone can ask, isn't it?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Not a Flicker, A Glimmer.

My usual m.o. when I post a new entry is to go on about how sorry I am it's been so long since I updated. Not this time. People who know me and know what has happened will understand.
These are the first pictures I've taken since mid-October. I've been too deep in a dark hole to consider even trying. As a matter of fact, I couldn't even imagine picking up my camera.
But even when we're grieving, day-to-day life demands that we attend to certain things. And so it was last Tuesday that I found myself outside, raking and bagging leaves. I was feeling extraordinarily tired. Not just from the raking, from breathing. I'd been tired before I'd even come outside.
And then I happened to look up, and I saw this bird.
At first, I had my woodpeckers mixed up, and I thought this was a Flicker. And I thought that was really poetic, because seeing her (I think it's a girl due to the lack of red blaze on the nape) made me think about how life goes on and we get through even that which seems know, like a flicker of hope.

So I put down the rake and tried to go inside quietly to retreive my camera. I was able to capture quite a few shots as she made her way up and down the branches looking for food.

Later, I decided it would be a good idea to look the bird up online to make sure I had my facts straight. Turns out it wasn't a Flicker, it's a Downy Woodpecker. Now, the name Downy just doesn't seem to have the same significance as the name Flicker would have, but all the same: watching this bird made me want to capture some shots, and made me forget about my troubles for a couple of minutes. I actually felt a small glimmer of happiness and hope. And at this point, that means a lot.