My husband suggested I give my bicycle to a neighbor who had no transportation. "Priscilla, you haven't ridden the bicycle for over a year. Our neighbor could really use it; I see him walking everywhere." I didn't have much of an argument. I kept thinking that I'd ride the bike someday. I would research the trails at a nearby park, and then I'd go on lots of adventures. I'd buy a helmet. I'd take the bike to the beach. Someday. I'd seen the neighbor too, carrying his back pack, every day walking up and down our street. And still the bike sat in the garage unused. I told my husband, "Give him the bicycle. I'm not going to use it." Every time I saw our neighbor on the bike, I felt good that he was getting some use out of it. But I had a feeling of regret that I'd never made a decision to go on those explorations I'd contemplated, that I'd never bought a helmet and set out to discover new trails.
I relegate ideas to the "someday" closet more often than I'd like to. Over these last months, managing medical treatments, I've been more prone to throwing things in that cupboard. The other night I sat on the couch watching television and eating crackers spread with Nutella. I looked out the window and observed that the blooms of our pink crepe myrtle tree were rinsed in afternoon light. I thought, "I used to take walks around this time of day, but I'm so weak, I probably can't make it very far. After these treatments, I'll start walking again." Then I thought, "But what if I didn't do that? What if I just walked a few yards. I don't really need to wait." I wiped the Nutella from my fingers and put on my walking shoes. Sprayed myself with insect repellent, donned my headphones. Even though the day was cooling off, it was still hot. I thought about turning back.
The seabreeze enticed me forward. I could feel the wind's freshness on my face long before I reached the edge of the tidal creek. I could hardly believe how much cooler it was down by the water, less than a mile away from my house. I noted how the wind gusts tousled the tidal waters as they flowed toward the ocean. I inhaled the tang of the muddy shoreline. Then I saw the bird's reflection hovering over the gray-green waters before I noticed him flying overhead. I'd come to refer to the pelican as my brother, I saw him so frequently at the creek hunting for fish. I raised my hand and called out softly, "Hello, brother pelican." My spirits lifted seeing him repeatedly dive for fish. I could tell he'd gotten a bite as I watched him gulp down his meal. Other birds fed at the tidal creek, the egrets and ibis ever hopeful of spearing a fish, the seagulls hovering and diving, discovering morsels to eat in the brackish waters.
As I stood watching the birds, I realized I'd almost missed coming this day--almost banished this walk into the closet of "someday," because I didn't move as fast as I usually did, because I was weaker than I'd ever been in my adult life. The birds were smarter than I. They came again and again, knowing they'd find nourishment and abundance at the creek's edge.
The sun glinted on the marsh grasses, like bright green arms reaching upward to show their gratitude of being in the afternoon beauty. I could feel stress leaking from my mind. I lifted my arms in gratitude as well, thankful for the cooling wind, for the sanctuary, for the revival that often comes from being in creation. A skein of peace now lay over my heart as I headed back home. Faster now.