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Day before yesterday I posted a poem about wanting to fly but being tethered to the ground. Seems that’s been a theme in my life for as long as I can remember. It’s pretty obvious to anyone who takes even a FEW minutes to get to know me. Twelve years ago my dearly loved friend Kim from Australia emailed me a cartoon by Aussie cartoonist Michael Leunig that perfectly depicts how I feel. It has set on my desk all these years (I wish I could find a real print of it to frame!) Don’t know if you can see it very well, but there is a bird singing in the tree, and one trapped inside the man. And that, in a nut shell, is me!

cartoon Leunig

I don’t know how I came to be that way, whether it was a matter of upbringing — my dad convinced us that we could be anything we wanted, go anywhere we wanted, etc. — thwarted by reality when we were older or how exactly it happened. It’s a puzzlement! But consequently, one of my favorite quotes (and I’ve no doubt used it on here many times) is about roots and wings:

“A wise woman once said to me: ‘There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.'” — Hodding Carter, Where Main Street Meets the River (Rinehart)

Now I’m a Gemini, so this quote makes perfect sense to me. I want those roots that make me feel connected to my past (that’s the tethered part, I guess), but I also have that spirit of adventure that wants to see the world (the wings). My folks did a good job of giving us both. So that’s the way I wanted to raise my kids. There is one big difference between what I did and what my parents did, however. I actually pushed my kids out of the nest and MADE them fly. My parents were rather complacent on that end of things.

I made sure there were band and choir trips for Bran, volleyball and basketball tournaments for Stef, youth mission trips through church, etc. Over several years, both of the kids spent time at an orphanage in Imuris, Mexico — Case de Elizabeth. They learned all kinds of skills there: plumbing, fixing air conditioning, painting, pouring cement (a basketball court!), digging tree trunks, putting up sheds, and on and on. And they found out the Spanish they learned in school was NOT the Spanish people speak in Mexico! 😀

So maybe, for me, it’s possible that my “growth” was just stunted? Who knows? All I can say is that the little bird in the cage in that picture is always sitting right there on my shoulder, hungry to fly, to see what the big wide world is about, even if it’s only a bird’s eye view. I guess that’s why I always feel like a watcher at the window of life. I can only imagine and dream about those far away places I would love to visit.

I have had a “domestic” taste of adventure at least. We’ve done three cruises, one to Alaska, one around Nova Scotia to Canada twice. There was so much to see on the shore excursions we HAD to do it twice. I’m the only “cruiser” I know who gets bored to death with the ship. I want to “Go! Learn things!” as Chief Dwayne Pride says on NCIS: New Orleans. (Yes, I’ve totally crushed on Scott Bakula since Quantum Leap! Talk about going and learning things! Whoa!)

To be honest, I’m still a little sad. I’ve scratched things off my bucket list because it’s become pretty obvious they will never come to pass. I have only one thing left, a trip to the UK. His lordship plans to retire in 2017 as does my partner in crime, Amy. The four of us are planning a cruise around the British Isles. I think that’s as close as I’m going to get to being a world traveler. But hopefully it will help set that little bird free…

Then again, free or not, it’s kind of like Maya Angelou says:

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.”