Day 81

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

Sometimes my heart’s so filled up I can’t even take it.

I think of the black vultures that sit on the church rooftop across the street from our house, about their quiet eyes and jet black feathers, about the way they raise their young with care and love, and mate for life.

I think of the gastric brooding frog, native to Australia, and how the female swallows her own fertilized eggs and carries them in her stomach for seven weeks until her babies hatch out and hop out of her own mouth. And how that sounds like a legend from a creation story, and how sad it is that their kind is now extinct.

I think about my Dad, who stayed awake with me on nights I couldn’t sleep as a little kid. How he must have been so tired  from a long day of work, and how he must have known that in a few hours he’d have to wake up and do it all again. How he patiently showed me old copies of National Geographic, read me the stories, explained the pictures. How he taught me about evolution in the middle of the night, with the diagram of monkeys slowly leading to modern man. How he lined his briefcase up just so on the kitchen table, pens and pencils stacked on top. And how his own Dad left him when he was just a boy himself, how hard that must have been, how sad that must have felt.

I think about the Mountain Lion we saw in Big Bend, how her large paws padded silently across the road, and how she turned her big head to look at us. How her muscles rippled in rolling undulations, how she disappeared into the treeline, swallowed up, gone. About how that was my first glimpse of something wild, something wise, and much more ancient than myself.

I think about the birth of my nephew, the first time I saw his face, his first small cries, his tiny hands. How he’s a big boy now, 2 and 1/2, and so funny, so sweet. He tells me stories and asks me questions, kisses me and quickly licks my cheek.

I think about all the creatures, and species, and trees, and plants, and animals. I think about the oceans, and the lakes, and the stars, and soil, and the sand. I think about the birds, and the babies, and the people, and the earth,

and my heart gets so full I can hardly take it,

and I wonder how I could be so lucky,

to live here, in this place, in this moment, on this planet,

on this small green and blue ball,

just swimming in space.


Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

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