As many of you know, Deer Park has become my heart and soul. Despite the endless amounts of work and maintenance, the return on that investment is just immeasurable. Last night I had a moment of complete and utter overwhelming appreciation of this place where I’m lucky enough to live and raise my children.
As I’m heading into the last few weeks of pregnancy, I’ve been struggling a bit to keep things “together.” The kidney stone situation is never far from my thoughts, and the worry of when this 1.4 cm stone that’s hanging out in my kidney is going to attempt to move on down my ureter isn’t exactly calming. Add to that some challenges and disappointments present in other areas (sorry, not getting into those…they’d need their own book to explain), then throw in my trying keeping up with a VERY active almost-five year old, a husband who is constantly working to grow his business and travels all the time, then top it all off with raging-bitch hormones and exhaustion. Put all those together, People, and you get one very cranky, run-down, no-patience, teary eyed mama.
After a weekend alone with Ellie, I had just about had it. Don’t get me wrong, that little girl was next to angelic: she was helpful, kind, sweet, loving, caring, and so incredibly well-behaved. Somehow she knew it was just what I needed, but even so, I just wanted to sleep. She and I worked on getting ready for her upcoming Magical Unicorn Birthday Party (VERY much pared down from our usual soiree), and we did a little feel-better shopping at Nordstrom (she’s got amazing……..expensive….taste, btw – especially in jewelry). There were multiple swimming sessions in the pool here, as it’s the one place where my body seems to almost be human and not a hippo; plus, she entertains herself as long as I’m in the water floating on my noodles. I love watching her in the water, almost as much she loves being there. The sense of pride that I have when I see her somehow get her little body down to the bottom of the deep end to retrieve her torpedos blows me away no matter how many times I’ve seen it (how’s that for an awkward sentence?).
We really did have a good weekend together, but even so, I just needed to close my eyes. So I did something that I rarely do. I asked for help (I know, right? WTF?). I sent a request to my brother Jake to see if he could come over and keep an eye on my munchkin so I could get an hour or so of shut eye. He, being the awesome big brother that he is, made it work, and headed over to spend some good ol’ Uncle Jake time with Ellie. The two of them are pretty darn cool together. Jake lived on the property for quite a while when Ellie was younger, and they have a bond that is really incredibly special. He and I kinda have the same thing. He was my “man-of-honor” in my wedding, as I couldn’t have imagined anyone else standing by me as I jumped into my next stage in life. I guess now that I think of it, his being here for me when Ellie was a baby kinda makes sense.
*brief interruption here….cue the music, as I’m going to get all sappy here…”Damn it, I love you, Jake!” See, I told you I’m crazy hormonal pregnant!
Anyway, as it turned out, Jake ended up taking Ellie over to my mom’s house to spend the night so that I could get a full night’s sleep (as much as a pregnant lady can), so I found myself alone with my two dogs. Remembering how much I loved to walk the property when I was this pregnant with Ellie Graye, I thought that would be a good thing to do before I crawled into bed for the night. As I huffed and puffed my way up one of the back hills (I am DEFINITELY not in as good of shape this pregnancy as I was with Ellie), movement in the trees caught my eye…a massive bird had been startled by the dogs, and flew deeper into the woods, landing on a tree farther from the trail. At first, I figured it was one of the many blue herons that nest in the area, but after stopping and looking at it, I realized there was no way that’s what it was. No, my friends, I had stumbled upon a great horned owl. Unlike a few years ago when I blogged nearly every day and constantly had my camera, I wasn’t toting anything other than my little iPhone. I tried, but failed to get a decent picture with it…yeah, you can’t see jack.
Even though I figured that he’d be gone by the time I returned with one of our fancy cameras and massive lenses, I gracefully ran back to the house with the dogs happily sprinting alongside me (do you like how I did that? I totally just lied, but you just envisioned a woman 8 months pregnant dancing her way through Sound of Music type fields with her dogs bounding beautifully through the grass with a soundtrack of birds singing serenely when really it was more like THUD-UMPH-OOOOOOH!- STOP AND BREATHE!-fart!-OhMYGod how did the house get so far away?!?!-Ugliness). I left the dogs at the house when I headed back to my owl with my favorite Nikon D7000 with a 70-200 mm lens.
Honestly, I was shocked when I discovered that Mr. Great Horned Owl was still sitting where I had left him, seemingly waiting for his upcoming photo shoot which commenced immediately, as the sun was dropping faster than the girls on the dance floor when Snoop Dog and Pharrell Williams start crooning. Now let’s get this straight. I’m a total normal person who likes to take photos to remember things……..who also happens to have a really nice camera and lenses. BUT I have NO idea what I’m doing, other than thinking, “I want the picture to look like Ansel Adams took it” (Hey, a girl can dream). I’ve learned a few tricks over the years, but for the most part it’s statistical photography….if you take a thousand photos….ONE is bound to turn out well. I got lucky, and that’s what happened……..but not until after finding the PERFECT angle – which, I discovered later, was in the middle of a mine field of coyote poop. Oh Joy.
So here’s my gift to you, a gift that Deer Park gave to me – that helped me to remember that it’s the moments in life like these, where you’re standing in the middle of true shit but still find something amazing, wonderful, and awe-inspiring that makes the uphill climb worth it…so, yeah, for me, I’m a-gonna keep on keeping on, and do it with an open heart, open mind, and a forgiving soul.
Thank you, Universe, for keeping me in check while still showing me how much good there is to be experienced as long as we are observant and willing to let go of our discomfort and self-indulgence!