Monday, July 22, 2013

A year ago today: vin-dit, wampeters and kingfishers

", a Bokononist word meaning a sudden, very personal shove in the direction of believing that God Almighty knew all about me, after all, that God Almighty had some pretty elaborate plans for me." KV from Cat's Cradle
A year ago today, I had a conversation that changed my life.

The place: Placid Lake (aptly named). The people: Aaron McPeck and Linds Sanders.

A year ago yesterday, I opted to sleep under the stars next to the glowing embers of a dimming campfire. This, over a cozy space in the tent with Aaron and Linds. The decision to sleep outside had everything to do with the yen for open air, a big sky and solitude. 

A year ago today, a calm, crisp dawn greeted us, setting the stage for a comfortable, relaxed morning. Eager to get a line in the water and pass the morning throwing some casts, I headed down to the beach area near our campsite to scope out the water. To my surprise, I was not the first to seek the serenity of the morn. Linds had set up shop on the beach with a journal and book. My initial reaction, as it is in all cases when you are seeking solitude of any kind, was something like discouragement: I was not alone.

As it happened - as it was supposed to happen, Bokonon would say - I noticed Linds scanning the edge of the water eagerly in the direction opposite of me. She was rapt. My curiosity was piqued. I dispensed with my fishing plans and walked over to where Linds was seated to see what there was to see. She greeted me with a smile that quickly affirmed my decision. We exchanged morning niceties and got down to business: what's out there? what was she watching so intently? 

A kingfisher, as it turns out. A kingfisher! She went on to tell me about their call, how they hunt and where they live. I heard the call first. We waited. Then, with the precision of a Blue Angel, the bird launched from its perch some 100-150 yards away and flew the tangent, diving, diving, diving. It penetrated the water as if there were nothing but a superficial border between two geo-political realms. Water and sky, where one begins and the other ends is of no matter to the kingfisher, on one side of the line lives prey and on the other no prey. There was a momentary pause, the ripples dissipating, before the country-less bird emerged victorious, fish in beak. It returned to its perch, quarry in possession, and resumed its call.

As captivating as the scene was, Linds and I were lost in conversation. Highlights, of course. Family. Friends. Hiking. Running. Kayaking. Religion. Bucket list birds: kingfisher and the pileated woodpecker. Health. Even the kingfisher couldn't put on a show spectacular enough to draw our attention away from each other. The conversation came easily and joyfully. It was life-giving. We heard each other say things that we felt, but had never expressed before. We laughed, we smiled, we sighed. 

A year ago today, Linds and I began a forever conversation.

Onward and upward,


P.S. In other news, 22 days into July, I am sitting at 26,500 vertical feet for the month and feeling like a million bucks! Last week, I got up Mount Helena 3 times and Mount Sentinel twice. I love Mount Helena. That is a nice mountain. 

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