In a way, I’m talking back to me, about things that occur to me, and that cause me to wonder about things that I don’t fully understand.
I suspect those that read my little blog posts, they tend to have the same questions, and thoughts.
Today, I am privileged to age, to watch my once thick brown hair begin to feel thinner, and to look back at my reflection from my bathroom mirror as the strands slowly devolve into a grayish hue.
But I am quite aware I’m fortunate, I have a head full of hair.
And if my vanity gets the best of me, I can always alter that reality with a magic box made just for me from the grocery store, or spend a modest fortune at a hair salon.
I wrote, privileged, because I note each year I have fewer and fewer friends from my youth, and this past-week while our office had a birthday celebration, I realized my old business mentors have all gone into retirement, or they have past through that other, one-time-only experience.
For a variety of reasons, it was an odd sensation to have been happy and sad, at the same moment. I was happy to participate in the birthday celebration, but I was sad thinking I no longer had my friends nearby.
I think that’s the singular challenge in life – accept what happens – good or bad.
The same thought occurred to me today, as I was walking near the bay waters not far from downtown St. Petersburg, that my life has been, and all ways will be, a happiness and sadness emotional swirl.
I think it’s like a really good birthday cake, it has been both sweet and savory at the same time.
I am certain a much smarter, much quoted philosopher would have a better way to express the notion.
But the notion occurred inside my tiny brain as I was cooling off from running, I walked along the curvy concrete path near The Vinoy, as sailboats worked the wind, and small aircraft buzzed over me toward the executive airport.
It was a bit overcast, the breeze was up, the bay waters were restless, and gave off a pungent odor.
I know when a storm approaches because the birds go silent, they hide in the palm and oak trees, and the breeze cools.
But it was not raining, I was not far from home, so I had stopped to watch a group of dolphins as their triangular dorsal fins emerged above the dark waters and then casually they would disappear and reappear as they navigated toward the Gulf’s deep shipping channels.
I am happy that my once clouded mind has slowed to a pace that allows me to notice my life, and the lives that are happening nearby me.
So, I was minding my own business, when I noticed near a quiet grassy spot at a natural bend in the perimeter barrier that overlooked the bay and with the backdrop draped beyond with the blue horizon, but there stood a young man.
Maybe it was the way the young man was standing, maybe it was the fact he was standing in a way that he had decided to defy the approaching storm.
The other facts that quickly got my attention were that he stood under a square party tent. At each corner near the white metal poles someone had placed small bundles of red roses. They had adorned the tent with other frilly items that only my ex-wife could explain their purpose.
In his right hand fingers, he held a single red rose, and in his left palm, a small black box.
I think we all know what sales pitch was about to be proposed.
If you have ever been to Vinoy Park, or The Vinoy, you’ll appreciate the picture post card setting.
It’s a combination of the old hotels Mediterranean revival architecture, the salmon painted exterior, and the history from the golden-age that has past by its tall lookout tower.
Even so, there stood the average sized young man, with brown hair, he wore a clean white dress shirt.
As if on que, as I strolled past him, I watched a line of his co-conspirators encourage a young woman with long flowing brown hair, and unblemished skin, to move toward him.
Her eyes told me she was beginning to understand the unfolding mystery before her and she realized what was about to happen. She was advised by a short female friend, to, “try and calm down”. I glanced over at the young man’s object of affection, I searched her eyes, and I thought, “good luck with that”.
As a group, they all appeared intensely, all be it, nervously, happy.
It’s important to note, at that moment, I decided to keep moving, and not disturb the occasion.
Besides, what if she said, “no”?
And I didn’t have my wallet, so I couldn’t put my arm over his shoulder and guide him to the Vinoy’s bar that was conveniently within easy walking distance.
Even though it was a public park, I thought it would be in poor taste for the sweaty middle-aged dude, to accidentally end up in a photo from the beginning of their engagement.
But as I strolled away, I had smirked and shook my head. But, I looked down to my right, and at a ruffled old man sleeping on a dark metal park bench, mercifully shaded by a group of palm trees. He wore the dirty clothes of a homeless person.
I then gazed back over at the happy-couple, and then back down at the shriveled old man.
On one side of the path a happy, memorable moment was about to happen. On the other side of the path, I wondered where this sad human beings journey had ended up on a park bench within a pitching wedge to a fancy hotel.
I nodded as if I understood God’s wisdom. But I don’t.
I thought life happens – happy or sad – at the same time, every moment of every day.
And that I am thankful that Devine providence whispers to me from behind my eyeballs, that I try to listen, and I have the capacity to feel both emotions at the same time.
IF, I am blessed with another birthday cake, I promise I’ll have a large piece, close my eyes, and appreciate its both sweet and savory flavors.