Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Singing, Fishing, Hiking

A great way to start out the summer - singing, fishing, hiking - right after an idyllic morning of getting up, scampering down to the kitchen, putting on the kettle for my French press coffee, and opening up the back screen door to breathe in the summer morning.  Taking it right in to my deepest core, to my cells, to my atoms, to my sub-atomic parts.  I love summer.  My body and bones and joints love summer.  Now I am not saying I don’t love the other seasons, I do.  But summer is:  Pure delight.  Warmth.  Heat.  Sun.  Brightness.  Birds.  Flowers.  Gardening.  Abundance.  Backyard dinner parties.  Campfires.  S’mores.  

Today driving to work and listening to a Springsteen song, “Kingdom of Days,” I felt utter freedom.  The moment was perfect exactly as it was.  No thoughts or wishing for a different reality.  The moment cannot be rushed, try as we humans might.  The moment of now is eternal, constantly occurring; it is always fresh and new.  Like it or not, we live, each and every one of us, in the now, the present, and it is the act of paying attention that makes all the difference.  When we are in a rush, attempting to cram too much in, as we all do some of the time, we miss the wonderful gift of the present. What is really awesome is that once we notice our mind has drifted away from the present, we can come back.  See our mind travels as our body waits for its eventual return.

In the car with the boys this past week as we were driving home from Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora, a delicious cafĂ© and bakery, my boys burst into spontaneous song.  Aidan began and Kailen joined in. “Open up your mind and see like me.  Open up your plans and damn you’re free.  Look into your heart and you’ll find love, love, love.”  They began their serenade with this song, “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, and on perfect cue slid into “We Are Young” by Fun, purportedly the kids’ theme song from our April Caribbean cruise.  It was joyful, exuberant to hear them singing freely. They ended with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the full, uncut version.  I couldn’t help but join the choir after all it was a song from my era.  They had time traveled and taken hold of the words and emotion; I felt privileged to be in this car with them as they sang their hearts out.  Aidan just loves to open up and cut his vocal cords loose and it was nice to hear Kailen with his deep, resonant voice unhesitatingly harmonize along.  It was over before it began.  But I know I was fully there in that car with them; mind and body united. These songs mean a lot to them, they speak to them, to their generation, to their being in this world.

It was a lucky few days for me, a fantastically memorable way to begin summer 2012. Aidan decided he was up for fishing.  We acquired the basic angling gear and off to the Eighteen Mile Creek we trekked.  On our hike down the path we passed a celebration of tiger lilies with a splash of magenta below in the face of tiny fire-pink wildflowers.

Once in the riverbed, the boys took to setting up their fishing outpost with one chair in the middle of the creek, one fishing rod, one little brother fisherman and one big brother helper.  I laid there on the stones and gritty bank of the creek experiencing the timeless wonder and happiness of being in the moment, mind and body synced.  My gaze alternated between being filled with the view of my boys fishing and the beautiful sky above me.  The boys headed up stream and I stayed back to read my book, The Maytrees by Annie Dillard, a novel of love, heartbreak, forgiveness and redemption. 

The sun had gone below the tree line and I was getting chilled on the bank. Deciding to find my boys, I hiked traversing a rugged, worn embankment and found my children in a still sunny spot.  Aidan was on a search mission for crayfish bait having in his own words, “tired of not catching any fish,” and Kailen was casting the line.  I took up my seat perching on the shale, breathing in the moment once more, soaking up the sun, my children, the creek’s melody. 
 I was gently reminded of these words a friend recently spoke to me, “Don’t push the river.  It flows by itself.”   Exactly.

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