Spring 2016

It’s been a weird winter here in Denver this year. After a couple of monster snows early on, the last few weeks have been unseasonably warm with all of the snow dumping up in the mountains, much to the skiers delight. For the past couple of weeks we have been seeing a bald eagle sitting atop a tree in the nearby park. Every time we drive by he’s up there, perched on that squiggly branch that juts out over the lake. He’s a neat bird and today was sunny and seventy degrees.

I went to go find him.

A while ago my husband bought me an electric bike from a resale store. I love that it takes me around the park on my good days. I often get odd glances, riding at a fast clip with almost no visible effort. I turn the pedals a bit and the engine does the rest. It’s a great bike.

The kids were off at a camp day and there wasn’t much to do around the house and it was, after all, a gorgeous day.

I set out like I always do but this time I was riding alone. I’m well enough to trust venturing out along. I like that.

The park was packed with so many people I just know some of them had to be playing hooky. The businessman with his sleeves rolled up, tie stuffed in his breast pocket and coffee in a go-cup smiled as I rode by. So did the park worker as I passed his work truck. There were moms and babies everywhere – strolling, picnicking and napping on blankets spread out under the trees half in the sun and half in the shade. There was a group of college kids from the nearby school setting up hammocks and horseshoes and an impromptu spring party. There were dogs and ducks and squirrels and gulls.
But no eagle.

I passed a woman who, while getting a picnic out of her trunk, turned to smile at me. She looked right at me and beamed a beautiful smile, a half smile. Sometime in her life she lost the use of the left side of her face. One half of her is now a ghost and the other a bright, engaging, and happy person. I know a little something about that. She smiled, not seeming to notice her disability. I smiled back, knowing she couldn’t see mine.

And tomorrow’s appointment with the surgeon seemed a little less terrible.
It has to come out – that remaining hardware. Part of it has now protruded from the bone and is a major problem. Surgery number eight is right around the corner. Looks like seven wasn’t actually my lucky number after all.

I went around the park twice today, just soaking in the sun and the people and the promise of spring. The hardware was screaming at me by the time the second lap started but I just ignored it and rode around for a second time in the gorgeous afternoon. Surgery is coming and that will make everything terrible for a while again so what does pushing too far today matter? I guess the groundhog not seeing his shadow was telling this year and I’m glad for it.

I never did find the eagle. I’ll have to go look for him another day. But today? Maybe today I was meant to find something else.

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