We hit a lot of the northeast's population hubs in the last few days - Boston, New Haven, New York (from the GW bridge), Philadelphia, the New Jersey Turnpike, Hartford, Worcester. It was a terrific trip, rich in friends and family and great fun. Nevertheless, I heaved my usual sigh of relief as we crossed the Piscataqua Bridge into Maine.
We had traveled over acres and acres of pavement, packed with cars, stop and go, crowding each other. Too many people down there, all moving so fast. I am turning into a curmudgeonly old woman, perhaps, but I like to get home to my quiet expanse of yard.
Just before I shot this photo, a great blue heron flew past on the other side of the trees. That bird has grown to be one of my favorite non-human creatures. For me, there is no greater symbol of the beauty, grace, solitude, power, and timeless constancy of the natural world. Seeing it fly by was a punctuation mark on my homecoming cheer.
I am suspended in a lengthy state of bliss, these last few days. Sometimes you look at your life and think, everything is perfect. Good health, strong body, thriving children out in the world, fine loving parents in good spirits, incredible privileges of living - easy travel, welcoming hugs wherever we go, beautiful home, financial stability, meaningful occupation.
Then you want to knock on wood, or cross your fingers, or rub a rabbit's foot. It can't last! you fear.
No, it can't last. Life will never remain static, not in a perfect state nor in a disastrous one. But you have to hold on to the perfect times in your head, no matter what. THAT can last.
I had a very brief conversation with a friend on Saturday night. I have known her for almost 30 years. Her three children are close to the same age as mine and doing beautifully - happy, healthy, whole, bright, confident. Her family, too, is in a state of grace at the moment.
"I have a friend who just had complications in labor and delivery," she told me. The complications resulted in permanent brain damage for the baby. "Sometimes I just stop and think how incredibly lucky we've been."
"No matter what," I answered.
She looked at me with profound understanding for a moment. "Yes. No matter what happens now. We have been incredibly lucky."