Fledgling

Since my last update, life has been flowing along like a swiftly moving river. It may not always be the smoothest journey, but it’s always moving forward.

A few weeks ago, Paul and I witnessed a very cool thing.

Our house is nearly 100 years old and boasts a creaky front porch and lots of eaves and overhangs under the roof for a variety of wildlife, most of which is welcome (let’s not talk about our first year in the house and the squirrels who managed to find their way into our attic). Each spring, we watch the birds build new nests and monitor us carefully as we come and go.

This year, an American Robin made her nest under the overhang of our roof and settled in to commence brooding her eggs. As is typical for us, we had to come up with a nickname, and so we promptly named this bird Kevin, after the chocolate-loving bird in Up.

Kevin peered out at us skeptically each time we pulled into the driveway, but she hovered around the yard and enjoyed the free bird seed buffet we provided. Not long after, I noticed a few tiny beaks pop up – three tiny Kevin babies had hatched. I knew it wouldn’t be long until they climbed awkwardly from the nest and started testing out their wings, but I had never actually witnessed a bird learning to fly.

One Saturday, Paul and I were sitting on the couch watching a movie when Buster, our tuxedo cat (really, the Barney Stinson of cats), suddenly became quite interested in trying to poke his head through the window blinds. I opened the blinds and was surprised to see a mini Kevin perched atop one of our porch chairs. He was preening himself, tufts of tiny gray feathers sitting atop his head, as if he were a little old man. At times, he would raise one of his wings, as if he was unsure of how he got there and had no clue how to extricate himself from the situation.

A few minutes later, Kevin flew down and alighted on the chair. She had a worm in her beak and seemed to be encouraging her offspring to make a move. Baby Kevin hobbled around awkwardly and eventually Kevin came over and gave him the worm, then took off for what I assumed to be more worm hunting.

In the meantime, Baby Kevin stayed put, looking quite confused. Kevin returned and looked at her baby, then proceeded to flap her wings. Baby Kevin began to imitate her. This went on for a while, with the baby attempting to copy Kevin, and with her returning every few minutes to encourage him with more flapping.

At this point, Paul and I weren’t certain how long this was going to continue, but we were way too invested in watching this baby fly to care. After a few more minutes, Baby Kevin suddenly took off.

Okay, so he flew a bit like a drunk toddler, but we didn’t care. Baby Kevin made it from the porch chair to my dad’s Japanese Maple tree in the front yard, and it was one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed. I kid you not.

I spend a lot of time at the computer for work, and I’m frequently on the phone both during and after work, either leading meetings or just zoning out on Facebook or looking at various random websites. Sometimes, I think about unplugging and trying to do a better job of just being present and enjoying life as it’s happening, not as I’m reading it happening.

For the few minutes that I watched this baby bird test out his wings, I was truly present and tuned into life as it happened. It may sound silly, but for me, it was a really eye opening experience and one that I will treasure thinking about. I am guilty of spending a lot of time thinking about the future and planning, which can be a good thing but can also cause me to feel like I’m not totally appreciating the moment as I’m in it.

As I approach the two year anniversary of my accident, I want to do a better job of appreciating the moment. The one benefit right after my accident was that I didn’t have anything else to focus on at the hospital other than putting one foot in front of the other. As I recovered and life returned to (mostly) normal, the daily distractions of our fast paced, plugged-in lives slowly crept back in. In a sense, it’s good to be back to my life as I knew it, but I also never meant to start taking it for granted again.

I am grateful for these little moments to bring me back again and remind me to stay present.

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