What is Essential

… is invisible to the eye. Both scriptural and found in the eloquent pages written by Antoine de St. Exupery, these words resonate with me on this seeming ordinary April day.

As the world’s citizens gasped in horror while the spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral fell to the ravages of fire, I not only grieved the loss/damage to such an iconic structure, but I immediately connected with my own memory and what the sense of place meant to me and my own family. I can not possibly know all of what Notre-Dame has meant over history, nor can I know the myriad of treasured moments shared there by other people just like me, from all over the world.

Instead, I think of my own three children and my, at-the-time, soon-to-be son-in-law. I think of the utter joy at the early morning surprise of a plane ticket from London to Paris, a subway ride into the core from the airpoirt and the magical events that unfolded, all of them shared as family.

Over the past ten years, if one runs just a few searches on the internet, one will find out how many of civilization’s greatest monuments have fallen, destroyed in natural catastrophes or through the mindless and hateful ravages of war. The destruction of the most cherished landmarks in human history shatters us, somehow, to the core. These are places captured in the minds and imaginations of all of us, places written about and found in movies, settings that we assume will always remain stable and present in those same imaginations.

I think we need to think about the fragility/the ephemera of our lives and our planet. This morning, again, I reflect upon what is essential. I’m hoping that through the damage done to such a seemingly permanent icon as Notre-Dame Cathedral, our human family might combine their efforts in creating a better world. Let us take pause and go into this day, empowered to make a difference.

What’s Up at the River?

There has been so much ‘magic’ at the river this past week, and even lessons taught.  But of all of the moments, there is one that really needs to be recorded here.  As Max and I had turned around…having walked the full extent of the northerly pathway, we were moving closer and closer to the river’s edge.  The sun was going down…nothing was clearly defined and there were few people and their dogs out anymore. There was a real nip to the air.  I stood still for a minute, looking at the dark water to my left.

From the tall elm just at my side, a sudden burst of motion…and then a bird with a wingspan of at least seven feet swooshed down and across the water, alighting on the branch of a tree on the other side,  I stood there captivated…and the owl’s eyes stared out at me.  Max sat at my side and we, all three, remained motionless and amazed.

Just as suddenly, and with as much gracefulness and mystery, the owl then swooped back and into the tree directly beside us.  His head moved as only owl’s heads can do and the giant bird gave us quite a show. I felt  goose bumps travel up my arms as I felt this moment  to be a gift for only me…and finally, whispering ‘good night’, Max and I set out for home.