Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Where Eagles Soar

I have reached the point in my life where I derive pleasure from few things as much as I do from a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  This past Sunday, after wrapping up some morning chores and doing the requisite prep work for dinner, I took full advantage of the weather.  I went for a run.  In the course of the eight-plus miles I covered I ran all over our little town.  Truth be told there are many things here 'NTSG that stir an emotion in my soul far south of joy.  

Ours is a little town dotted with far too many "For Rent" and "For Lease" signs on commercial properties and far too many "For Sale" signs on residential ones.   Lincoln Boulevard is pockmarked by vacant commercial space, some of which has been vacant for quite some time now.  I know because I have lost count as to exactly how many Sundays it has been since it has been anything other than vacant. 

This past Sunday though the route I chose to run (I remain of the opinion that the Garmin Forerunner 405 watch Margaret bought me for Christmas in 2011 is the single greatest gift I have ever received) took me down the road that separates Our Lady of Mount Virgin Roman Catholic Church from what formerly was the elementary school of the same name, which is the school Suzanne and Rob both attended through eighth grade.  As I started heading down the block, with the old school building on my left, my eye was drawn to the cutouts in the school's parking lot, which separate the multiple driveways in and out of the parking lot.  

It was in those three areas on a cold weekend in late-October 2003 that Rob and I completed his Eagle Scout Project.  My complete absence of mechanical ability is well-documented and cannot be overstated.  However, I am Irish.  And if there is one thing every Irishman knows how to do, it is how to dig.  Whether a hole, a ditch or a really, really long hole, give us a shovel and get out of the way.   We probably waited a week or two too long to start the Project, which ensured that the ground into which we dug was rock hard.  It mattered not.  While it took us back-to-back twelve hour days to get it finished, at nightfall on that Sunday it was finished.   Where less than forty-eight hours earlier there had been three empty spaces now stood three spaces full of plants and trees and mulch - and life.  It really was a hell of a thing he did.  I got a kick out of getting the chance to be a part of it.

I smiled in spite of myself running past our handiwork on Sunday afternoon.  After I got home and took a shower I drove back over to the old school to take photos of our beds, which I immediately sent to Rob.  His reaction to seeing the photos suggested that he was as pleasantly surprised as I had been to see that the fruits of our labor all those years ago were not only surviving but thriving....  

....much as we are ourselves.



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