As I sat on the deck of our new-to-us home on the Grand Canal in the quaint and a bit touristy town of Ocean Shores, a kingfisher decided to join in my morning reverie. In the distance we could hear the crashing of the waves and the accompaniment of of avian voices chittering, bickering, and announcing the day. The kingfisher and I watched as the swallows swooped and skimmed the surface of the mirror-like water that was broken occasionally by a small fish surfacing to create the most wonderful circular ripples. My companion eyed me warily as I continued to sit quietly enjoying her company and my tea. The smell of my childhood embraced us both - fresh, ocean air filled with salt from the churning water joined with the smell of the lush, green vegetation. It filled my lungs and forced me to remember a simpler, long-ago time.
Suddenly, my companion left her comfortable and familiar perch atop the naked flagpole and dove beak-first into the still water creating the most pleasant splash. She captured her prize and flew across the canal to another naked flagpole that was equally as familiar. I watched as she perched for a few moments, then was on her way to who-knows-where.
This isn't the first time that my friend, the kingfisher, has joined me for morning tea.
And I am glad of it. For who can have such a companion in this life, even for a short time?
I am grateful for all our wild companions here - the wide-eyed deer and the picturesque seagulls, the fish in the canal and the river otter that pokes his head up on his way back to his den under the overhanging branches on the water's edge. This is their home, and I am only a fortunate visitor, truly.
I am most grateful for where I find myself, which is rather unexpected, I might add.
I am grateful for the loving, guiding hand of HaShem for bountiful blessings of provision, comfort, and companionship.
I am grateful for unconditional love, friendship, and commitment.
I am grateful for the far-away sound of a buoy bell.
I am grateful for friendly, new neighbors in this sweet town that tourists will never know.
I am grateful for a place of peace and rest.
I am grateful for the fresh, salt air that fills my aging and asthmatic lungs.
I am grateful for the three swallow babies that sit on a branch close to our deck and wait for their parents to bring them sustenance.
I am grateful for, and apologetic to, the blue heron that likes to sit silent in the reeds closeby; unfortunately, he does not care for our company so always decides to relocate across the canal, scolding the whole way.
I am grateful. Beyond grateful.
I feel almost guilty.