Walking with the Skyview

What price do you pay for a memorable walk? Most times, when I walk, my eyes are aimed safely downward. But I pay a price for that view. My cost is in losing that fabulous, here-in-this-moment-lost-in-the-next chance to view the spectacular. My reward is that my feet don’t trip up quite so often. With eyes aimed downward, I am safe. I maintain balance. I see most of those stubby clefts that might cause a fall. And I fall often in life.

On my usual safe walks, looking down past my toes, I see the shore birds. They stroll along our plentiful tide line, arguing over food, but without a heartfelt clamor. The wind ruffs their feathers, but their manners remain mostly in place as they pursue their natural tendencies. They may squabble, but in the end, they share the bounty.

I also see the glorious transition of rock to pebble to sand. On packed wetness near the rolling waves, with my eyes aimed downward, I take a geological journey through time – sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic laying themselves at my feet. It is nature’s best classroom as I walk along this learning curve of salty water licking the roughness from stone.

Strolling with my safe step, I see what I’ve seen before. Maybe the walk has become habit, but it still contains some little magic. Mist lifts from the incoming tides and floats past my feet. I step around the shore birds’ droppings, having been warned by past experience and present sight. Tangled ropes of Giant Kelp, Dead Man’s Bootlaces, Bull Whip Kelp, and Turkish Towel wrap themselves around the tide, which comes and goes everyday, just like me.

Because I walk this shore daily, a routine litany of views repeat themselves along my path. Stones, sand, seaweed, shore birds. As my eyes aim downward, keeping me safe, I see usual life-assuring sights.

Then the unusual call of a sea hawk interrupts me. I haven’t heard it before, and the sound itself pulls my eyes to the sky. There it is: a seasonal newcomer to the neighborhood.

I stop and watch as the young Osprey dives toward the water, at the same time flapping wings and stretching claws. This new king of the tide comes away with a shining, struggling fish, then flies away to the tall eucalyptus. As I continue to lift my eyes, I see the fish tail protest its tragedy, and the Osprey settle onto the tallest limb of the tree.

I change my trail and follow. ‘Lift up,’ I tell my feet, unused to this path. Since my sight is engaged in the sky escapade, I can’t guarantee my own safety. Am I willing to pay this price?

When I get nearer the eucalyptus, I see that the Osprey has begun its meal. Its head bends for a bite, pulls away with a satisfied tug. I see the fish’s silver flash and its tail still protesting. Then, against the skyview, I see another signal that our seasons are beginning to change.

Stepping into the cluster of trees, I am greeted by the first sighting of Monarch Butterflies. Into the tall branches they flit, in and out of the sunlight, delightful and light-hearted against the feast that is occurring three floors up in this small forest. I count 25 butterflies, and know this is just the beginning.

I have been aiming my sight skyward for quite awhile now, and haven’t yet fallen. At times, I feel dizzy from looking up and wonder if my neck will feel the strain. But nature’s action is happening against the sky today, so that is where I must look, regardless the price.

So often in life, the spectacular is mine for the moment, and gone too quickly. I may not experience it if I always choose the safe route, eyes aimed cautiously downward, saving myself from the harm I think is there, but forever closing my view to happenings I may not even imagine. Fabulous happenings like Ospreys and Monarch Butterflies.

 

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22 thoughts on “Walking with the Skyview

  1. Wow! Ospreys and Monarchs… lucky you! It can be hard to choose whether to look up or down – I’ve certainly taken a few spills when I wasn’t watching where my feet were stepping. But, the payoff can be worth the risk… like Ospreys and Monarchs. Of course, that fish probably regretted not looking up just before it became lunch.

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  2. Oh, we so understand the need to look down and to keep telling ourselves, “pick your feet up.” How often these past years we have stumbled! But, like you, somehow we manage to see more than ever on the ground and in the sky. How does that happen?

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    1. ‘How does that happen’ – I really don’t know, especially with my diminishing eyesight! I hear you and Joe met up with Anita and Richard in Lagos, and am so happy to hear it. Dashing over to read your adventures right now πŸ˜‰

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  3. Looking up, down and all around – it’s obvious that you try not to miss any of nature’s beauty and the life and death dramas that occur on your daily walk. I loved both your photos and your beautiful narrative that show how very much you love where you live. P.S. Thank you for facilitating an ‘introduction’ to Beth and Joe of “Simple Travel Our Way”. We had such a great time during their visit to Lagos. I hope that our paths will cross one of these days and we can show you our coastline, Susan. Anita

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    1. Ohhh, Anita. I have just started reading posts again after a bit of break, and I noticed two of my favorites were both in Lagos, and I hoped you’d gotten together. So glad to know your adventures linked up. Hurray. We’ll make it there, one day!

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    1. I knew you would like that photo, and I hoped you’d be able to tell me male/female. We continue to follow his movements every day, and he has found his perch, where he returns after each fishing trip. Absolutely glorious creature. I heard him calling to what I think was another Osprey yesterday – beautiful voice. Thanks for stopping by:)

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