Two days before, on Saturday, same lovely weather, again thinking happy thoughts with a cup of coffee in my hand, when a big spotted Cooper's hawk landed on the post on my small deck not 3 feet away from me. I was so startled and excited that I called to my granddaughter, Rebecca, "Come look. A hawk! My yelling upset the big bird, who took off in flight before Rebecca could see it. Still, how fun is that?
You can see where I'm going with this. Both great metaphors for how life can treat you: one minute unexpected beauty, the next, bird poop all over you.
After the hawk left, Rebecca and I packed up to go swimming at our local high school. We left the house with matching Trader Joe's bags for bathing suits, goggles, and towels. I try to swim everyday and on Saturdays, Rebecca is my swimming buddy. A little reluctant to take her into the deep pool they've moved the lap swimmers into, I just decided to take her, but I'd stay right next to her to grab her if need be. We paddled around for 30 minutes, lost 2 kick boards over the edge of the pool, had races, laughed and enjoyed ourselves.
While in the pool, I took a close look at Rebecca. At 5 1/2, she has lost her front two top and bottom baby teeth. On the top, one top big tooth is almost all the way down and straight, big and white. Her looks have changed from baby to toddler to little girl. Her hair, cut to her shoulders for kindergarten, is very blond in front from the sun and swimming, her eyelashes are long and have darkened along with her eyebrows. For a flash of a second, I could see what the grown up girl will look like. With the sun on her face, she looked so happy, so radiant.
Even though life can throw anything at you, including a shower of purple bird poop, it's those moments of time slowing down, noticing unexpected beauty, that I notice more and more with my grandchildren.