Me, myself, and I...we are a very three dimensional personality. Most days find us working diligently at buying, selling, cleaning, packing, unpacking, and displaying the wares of our occupation. This is the side of me that most see and know. Most do not know me as a lover of nature, of birds and butterflies, of dragonflies and wildflowers, of bugs, of ocean, shells, and seabeans and the whole natural realm. Most do not see me as the soul searcher and restless spirit that I really am. While I do my job consciencentiously and with preciseness, I am often not totally on the clock.
I have often likened this dimension of myself as a shadow. My real loves, interests, and dreams lurking just beside me. Shadows can be big or small, but we all have one or more. Even when we cannot physically see them, they are there. We are never alone. I often find myself visiting with my shadows...my shadows of soaring with the pelicans, scouring the beach, of birding, of watching the barn swallows dip and dive, of listening to the katydids on waning summer nights. Yes, I have many shadows. Our shadows, to me, are our personal thoughts and dreams, our loves and our ambitions ~ other dimensions in our lives. Sometimes our shadows are seen only by ourselves with not many others really knowing the true me, myself, and I. Yes, sometimes it is lonely. At the same time it can lend to a mysteriousness of our lives...if we let them. Sometimes it is rewarding and comforting to hold our very own secrets to our own true selves. Our shadows can be looming, lurking, and large. They can haunt us in the most spiritual way and touch and enrich our lives...even if it is only me, myself, and I.
When I go to the beach I find myself amongst many shadows. Tall and short ones alike. I find that I am not the only lost, but found, soul there. We are just more visible in our own element. Some shadows have been lurking there for decades and some have left and returned to its nurturing. Our shadows remain faithful to us despite sometimes having to choose another path. They know we will return and when we do, the shadows are there. The heart and the soul of the matter are the same. Peace and harmony. Amongst ourselves...even if it is just me, myself, and I....
To be intensely knowledgeable about a sea pansy I am not. Knowledge or not though I am impressed with them. They are dainty, they are cute, they bring out the child-like giddiness in me. On occasion they can be spotted in numbers washing up on a beach. I excitedly rush to "pick" them as if picking pansies from a field. This just happens to be a field of a watery kind. They come across to me as sweet and innocent just as pansy flowers are. They are colorful and intricate in design. When coming right out of the water they shimmer and shine at their best. And with great reason--this is where they reside, where they love, where they belong. Take them away from the ocean and it is not long before they dry up, wither, lose their vibrancy, and become dull. Sometimes I feel like a sea pansy. While I am at the ocean I FEEL and SEE all of life...when I leave, only a part of me goes...and I am not whole.
They seem to me to have a sweet disposition. They remind me of a mini lily pad but instead of being an abode for a frog--as we often think of lily pads as--they are an abode for little polyps which have different forms and functions--All necessary for the life of this sea pansy. Its like a whole little world on a little bitty pad. They appear to have a little tail which is actually called a peduncle...It looks as cute as it sounds!
I find it amazing at how nature can give life a simple and beautiful look, but yet contain myriads of mystery in life. It is just but one facet that makes sea pansies endearing to me. A whole world in one small package. Just flowers of the sea ~ THAT is what they will always be to me. Just a bouquet of sea pansies....
Today I was holding a seashell in the palm of my hand. It was beautiful and I studied its intricate patterns and colors. I caressed the shell ~it felt good and comforting to the touch. A more simple thought ~ a memory ~ came to mind. Remember how as a kid you could hold a seashell up to your ear and hear the ocean? I held the shell up to my ear and for the moment I heard it! The magic was still there! I had not grown too old! And it sent me back to my childhood days and to the wonderful and innocent times of a little girl. The flood gates of my memory came tumbling down as the realization occurred to me that the little girl is still here...
This is the little girl that used to gently sneak up on lightning bugs and tenderly catch them and put them in a jar. That jar would go to bed with me and it comforted me to have my own little jar of stars twinkling right next to me. It always mystified me though as how by morning all my stars were gone.
That same little girl barely wore a shoe all summer long and swam just about every day. She counted honeybees on clover as she was searching for the lucky four leaf clovers. She enjoyed picking little bouquets of violets for her mother and liked to play in the rain.
This little girl had a pet chameleon, a rabbit, a turtle, goldfish, and hamsters. She liked to pick catalpha worms off of the trees. She would let ladybugs crawl up and around on her and loved to read.
There were the grand times that she would go fishing with her mom and dad and adored the sunfish that she caught. She liked pleasing her daddy by singing like a "red bird" and walking down the tracks with him to see what was out and about.
She enjoyed feeding ducks with her grandma and collected cicada shells. It was always a treat when dad cut open a big watermelon in the back yard and from the steps we would eat it! Building leaf houses was always a must. I still enjoy the smell of those fall leaves today. Rubbing the husks on a walnut brings about another pleasant smell. This is one little pleasure that was never given up or lost. The evening sun pink clouds made me crave for cotton candy. Hearing the ice cream truck was music to my ears. This same little girl danced with the evening church bells as they rang. She will never forget the first earthquake she felt. Her daddy ran behind her, supposedly holding her bike---she yelled the whole way "don't let go, don't let go", but he let go and she was on her own....In more ways than one....Every spring he would take her down to get license plates on her bike...she felt big and had her clout. You see, her daddy was a police officer.
Yes, the little girl is still here...Sometimes it just takes some coaxing to get her to come out and play.
4th of July ~ While most folks celebrated with picnics, games, and loud fireworks I celebrated in a more quiet and peaceful way. Oh, I had boom, bangs, and explosions of my own, but they came in a more quiet form of the "oohhs" and "aahhs".
While I was with family who were participating in all of the above I retreated to my own little part of the lake for awhile, with my chair, binoculars, net, and notebook and noted many wonders of a summer world around me. I witnessed the "declaration of independence" for many creatures in their own ways....including myself.
Summer time birds abounded up and over the lake. The purple martins--free of nesting responsibilities and rearing young--were sailing with a celebratory flight over the lake with the barn swallows. A red-tailed hawk soared lazily above with a turkey vulture while a common yellowthroat sang from across the way. A warbling vireo sang incessantly from high in a tree the whole day long. Two green herons stopped by along the side lines of the lake for a bit. A chimney swift, not quite free of its summer duties yet, made pop ins and outs of the club house chimney. Bobwhite quails seemed to sound patriotic in their singing off in a distance. The baltimore orioles were summer bright while the cedar waxwings sounded like high pitched piccolos.
While taking in all of the sky bound avifauna I had a front row seat to a whole different realm of winged beauty. Glimmering and shimmering in the sunlight was a whole BIG world on one small edge of the lake of dragonflies and damselflies. There were dozens and dozens and dozens of them! I sat in my chair entranced of the comings and goings of many! There were widow skimmers, black saddlebags, eastern amberwings, eastern pondhawks, halloween pennants, and blue fronted dancers. The damselflies were almost too delicate for my eyes to behold. They all paraded to and fro right in front of me bedazzling me with their tandem flights, their dips, and their grace. The sun shined and glimmered off their wings. Now and then my gaze was averted to a turtle watching me watching them. I wondered if he was as amazed at me as I was of them. A water strider strode by. Tiger swallowtails were puddling on the beach with a stray spicebush swallowtail with the group. Cicadas called....
Later in the evening I seen my type of fireworks...lightning bugs and showy stars...bats and luna moths....the katydids sounded off. And I celebrated...celebrated this life, its colors, its solitudes and I said to myself, "Happy 4th of July"....