I am not sure how many there were sitting on the ice at the lake, but certainly fifteen or more.  It is a huge lake, so I could barely see some of them.  There were adults and juveniles in many stages of development.  They sat on the lake waiting for frozen fish to work their way close enough to the surface of the ice that they could get to them.

Many of them flew from one place to another.  At one point a beautiful black and white adult American Eagle flew right overhead, low enough so that I could practically count the feathers without using the binoculars.  Later a juvenile did the same thing.  The mottled brown and cream were bright and beautiful in the sunshine.

The Eagles interacted with one another.  They would land near each other.  At one point there were a cluster of four, two adults and two juveniles hopping toward each other, then flying a few feet away.  A while later there were two standing on the ice so close to one another that they were touching.  One was a juvenile and one an adult.  It looked like a parent and child (same size as parent) leaning on one another, both looking straight ahead in the same direction.  I suppose it could have been a May-December thing.  I don’t know enough about eagles’ behavior to be able to make an intelligent guess.

The most spectacular sight was of two eagles flying into each other, almost grasping talons in mid-air.  At one point one of them did a complete sideways somersault, a roll. “Contrary to traditional belief, eagles don’t copulate in the air but rather on a branch near their nest or on the ground.”  That is a quotation from a website named Birdhouses101.

It took a while for me to settle after the excitement of what I was seeing.  Once settled, I spent some time reading an article from Weavings, the Spirituality Journal that I read.  It was the second reading of the same article.  Many of the articles in the journal are a little like fruit juice concentrate.  They need some time thinking, some contemplation, to get the best and most satisfying flavor from them.

The third week in the online Ignatian Retreat I have been doing has provided Scripture passages and articles on a theme that has been reinforced by the online Prayers and exercises provided by Fr. Ed Hayes (through the National Catholic Reporter website).  The theme is appreciating God’s imprint on and activity in all dimensions of life, especially the natural environment, a little like the movie Avatar, but without crossing into Pantheism.  I haven’t yet seen the movie, but would like to see it on the big screen rather than waiting for the DVD to come out.

The time at the lake provided the perfect setting for contemplation of God’s presence.  It is a theme that provides respite and strength for the day to day demands.

Mary Ann had a reasonably good day.  Elaine spent time this morning with her while I headed to the lake.  Elaine always reads more pages in the book they have been working on for months.  When Elaine reads, she immerses herself completely in the story and the characters come to life.

Lunch was a grilled sandwich, none too exciting, but then the football playoffs were on television today. Mary Ann enjoys watching professional football.  When we went to our first Chief’s game in Kansas City, she wondered what the ten yard business was about.  Not too many years later she reached the point that she knew the names of most of the quarterbacks on the various teams.  She would yell out loud when the games were on.  She has become much more subdued, but sitll enjoys watching the games.

There have been some mild hallucinations today.  She only had a short nap on the couch today.  I prefer that she nap in her bed, since it is outfitted to deal with disposables leaking.  I put a chux on the couch for her to lie on just in case.

She is in bed now, but I don’t know how the night will go — whether or not it will be filled with raccoons and people and any other unwanted guests remains to be seen. Actually, I went in to see what her movements were about.  There were children again.  Then she looked over my shoulder as I was helping her to the commode and said, “What am I going to do with all those sponges?”  That is a new one.  I checked again and she was checking the children who she said had found their spots.  She asked for some tapioca.  As i was feeding the last of it to her, she jumped because the raccoon was nibbling her foot.  Then the bedding was moving.  I saw no movement.  I am anxious for the new order of Seroquel to come so that I can titrate from 100mg to 150mg per day.  Then we will see if there is any reduction in the hallucinations.

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The power of music to calm, to stir, to break through defenses is a wonder to behold.  An hour each of the last two evenings sitting in front of the audio system listening to music after Mary Ann has gone to bed has been time very well spent. 

For me, almost immediately when the music begins, it is as if all the frustrations and harsh realities of the day no longer exist.  Mind you, it has to be what is in my estimation, good music.  If it is trite, or shallow, or poorly performed, I simply have to turn it off and put in another CD.  Of course music is a matter of taste.  What grabs one person might repel another. 

I generally cannot use music as a background to doing other things.  Maybe it is the structure of my brain in particular, but I pretty much need to do one thing at a time.  I either read or listen to music, very seldom do I try to do both at the same time.  When I used to walk neighborhood streets for exercise, I could listen to a CD as I walked.  If I am out in the woods walking, I listen to what is around me.  I am not interested in blocking that out with music. 

Since we are homebound so much of the time and the television is going almost constantly, having an hour just for music is a luxury.   While I usually become engaged in what is going on in the music and immerse myself in it, there is often a journey on which it takes me.  That journey takes me through my defenses, on past the frustrations of the day, into layers of being that are closer to the core of who I am.  Not always, but often, I begin reflecting on very basic issues. 

The place to which the music often takes me is a place where I can wander around in my mind and heart, looking pretty directly into my failures and weaknesses, feeling the pain.  It is not scary or depressing, just real.  There in that core of who I am lives the Grace of God.  It is surrounded in that Grace that I am able to peal away the layers behind which I hide, even from myself.  When finally the journey has taken me through the last layer, there I find a sense of security and safety. 

Don’t misunderstand.  This is not always pleasant.  The place to which I go is not always a happy place.   Often the worst of what lives in me is exposed.  I certainly don’t always like what I see.  It is just that whatever it is does not have the last word on who and what I am.  The spark of life given to me with every breath comes from a Someone who wants me to be — whoever or whatever I am.   I have to say that more often than not, no matter what I have seen on the journey, I find it exhilirating and refreshing.  Maybe in a sense it is a way to reboot my mind and heart. 

All of us are coded differently and find renewal in different ways.  Our life preservers vary.  What is common to all who are full time Caregivers is the need for life preservers to hang on to regularly so that we don’t drown in our challenges and frustrations. 

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.