Are You Listening?

My priest told this joke during his sermon —
A man asked his wife what she’d like for her birthday. She told him she’d like to be six again. He thought it over and came up with a wonderful fun-filled day for a six-year-old. He brought his beloved to an amusement park where they went on the merry-go-round, Ferris Wheel and jumped in the Bouncy Castle. He bought his wife cotton candy. For supper, he took her to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. At the end of the day, he asked the love of his life, “Well, was your birthday everything you thought it would be?” She answered him, “You knucklehead! I didn’t want to be six years old! I wanted to be a size six again!”

The point was how we need to be better listeners. While the priest surely meant to listen to others, I took it differently one day in July.

I was headed out to the city pool for a work-out. I stepped outside and the sun shone brightly. The summer day invited me to enjoy it. I was torn between enjoying the sunshine versus working out in a crowded pool. Chillin’ or hard cardio? I listened to my inside voice, the one that says, “Do what makes you happiest!” I left my swim bag in the hallway and chose the sunshine. I can be like a six-year-old and want to play all day, haha! It’s good to listen to those inner voices.

I packed my rollerblades and a camera and drove to the Ganatchio Trail. Until recently, I’d skate three speedy laps around the big pond there and call it a satisfying work-out. However, the pavement is rather chewed up, so I now take a different trail. I also had a fall last summer from encountering a pothole so I’m more cautious. Mind you, stopping to take photos gets in the way of a heart-pounding session. But I did what makes me happy, so I skated, took photos and let the exercise nuts pass me by.

I spotted delicate flowers,

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a butterfly,

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I found a tiny bridge—

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—and snapped a pic of my shadow in the algae-encrusted water.

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However, I did not see what I usually encounter on this trail. A cardinal.

My friends tell me that seeing a cardinal is a sign of my Dad, looking down from Heaven. I know it’s not probably true, but it brings me peace all the same. I was a little disappointed not to cross paths with one this time.

I decided to go off the crowded path. Away from the dozens of children from a day camp who could cause a fall if they stepped out in front of me.

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When the day camp counselor shouted, “Adam, Adam, move to the right! Now! To the right!” I just chuckled. I knew that my own kids had been just as absent-minded, stopping to observe bunny rabbits or toads, and linger in the path of people like me, when they were young.

So, I ventured towards uneven concrete, past the sign that clearly stated, “Trail Detour” with an arrow pointed not where I was going. There was a little bridge nearby that I sought.

Then, I heard the distinctive chirping of a cardinal. I looked up and saw him, high in a tree. Of course, I would see a cardinal. I always do. I zoomed in with my camera and caught a quick pic.

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After skating to the bridge, I was rewarded with a brilliant water lily within view, here in the city!

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I’d been camping and wasn’t able to get this close for a decent photo at the river there. I admired the scenery from both sides of the bridge—

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—and skated back, carefully, over the broken pavement.

I thought of what my hubby, Guy suggested last week. We have a tree that just popped up in my flower garden a few years back. I potted it and it’s now five feet tall. A cross between a cedar and a fir tree.

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Guy asked where I figured I’d plant it as our yard was crammed full of plants already. When I didn’t have an answer, he suggested planting it along the Ganatchio Trail. I think we’ll do that, in memory of Dad. He told me he wanted to plant cosmos flowers alongside the trail. I tried one year but they failed miserably. Most died from lack of water. The survivors were mown down by an overzealous city worker.

I don’t know how we’ll get the heavy tree there, but we’ll find a way. To honour Dad is worth it. Who knows? Maybe cardinals will someday nest in its branches.

Listening. I’m glad I listened in church, to my inner voice and to my hubby. And to Dad telling me of his dream of planting along the Ganatchio Trail long ago. Listening is good! But, then again, so are amusement parks and cotton candy!

8 thoughts on “Are You Listening?

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