Checking my Fitbit, I circle the track near our elementary school a few more times; the Little League Fields are still, the concession stand boarded, the dugouts empty. One baseball-capped woman throws a Frisbee over and over to her golden lab, who races again and again, back and forth, back and forth. The playground is childless, swing set seats hang on idle chains, the wind rippling the soccer field.
My friend Leeanne and I walk down the center of Main Street; town is eerily quiet. In the silence we notice the paint peeling around a storefront window and a squirrel’s high wire act. We hear a woodpecker, his persistence admirable, drilling high in an oak.
I feel this emptiness, grieve the loss of the togetherness and community we have always enjoyed in my hometown. I am off-balance, out-of-sync, persistently fragile.
Then three weeks ago, my husband spotted a bald eagle soaring above the neighborhood and lake. High in the sky, the signature white head came into view each time he circled our direction.
What an inspiring, powerful symbol of resilience and survival–just what I need to think about during this time of isolation and struggle.
As we sat around our dinner table sharing lunch and dinner during the summer months of our childhood, my dad reported regularly about the wildlife he saw while planting corn, cultivating the fields, raking hay, or completing one of the many jobs he and my uncle were responsible for.
Dad loved the woods, the wildlife, the fawns he would gently move to the side of the fields he was working. He respected the barn snakes, teaching us to never hurt them, that they controlled the rodents and other pests. He cherished the rare sightings of the many birds we now regularly see: Sand Hill Cranes, Blue Herons, Canadian Geese all were unusual, and he made continual note of them. But he never spotted an eagle; how pleased and encouraged he would be by the solitary figure perched in the tree across the lake.
We too will survive this time of endangerment, and someday soon we will tell of the challenges and of our recovery.
And of our continued hope for the future.
It’s a Fine Life.
By Kathleen Oswalt-Forsythe © May 8, 2020
Some Stories of Survival and Overcoming Hardship
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The amazing story of the US Rowing Team and the 1936 Olympic Race. It is one of my son’s favorite books.
I just finished reading this fictional story of homesteading in Alaska during the 1970s. The main character’s resilience and survival of not only the wilderness but an abusive situation is inspiring.
Another amazing survival story. I respect the author’s passion for becoming educated against all kinds of odds.