Diamond-Cut Life

More Joy, Less Stuff

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Celebrity Sighting While Camping

July 8th, 2012 by Alison · 3 Comments · community, nature, Oregon

“Omigod, omigod, omigod!” I breathed to Colleen. She followed my gaze from the surface of the lake we were swimming in up into the turquoise sky. The snowy head, enormous dark wing-span and flashing white tail told us we were watching a bald eagle. We treaded water and gawked like groupies at the avian celebrity. bald eagle flying over lake

When it soared out of sight beyond the pine trees we started breathing again and high-fived each other, wet palms slapping loud enough to probably scare away any other nearby wildlife. But we couldn’t help ourselves. It’s a thrill, a visceral rush, to brush up against wild nature. Two years ago, I was watching the Willamette River near Ross Island with my friends Laura and Ewan when a bald eagle swooped from the sky, snatched a fish from the river, and flew on its way, the fish wriggling in its talons. My friends and I gasped, then cheered with abandon. It was an avian touchdown.

Colleen and I and our husbands were on a camping trip in the Mount Hood national forest here in Oregon. While camping is one of the things I am shamelessly greedy for in the summertime, we can also encounter wildlife right where we live, raccoons being one example. My core premise at Diamond-Cut Life is that nature, people and God can make us happier than buying lots of stuff. I have to admit, though, that due to my husband Thor’s arthritis, we just bought two cots to sleep on while camping, since getting up and down from the ground has become painful for him. Thor’s cot lets him keep on going camping. I’ve also got to admit I, myself, slept way better on the cot than I do on the ground, despite having no arthritis. And, um, we had to buy a new tent since the cots wouldn’t fit into the old tent.

I have two comments on those humbling facts: some stuff is really worth buying, despite it being more stuff. And, the more people we can share our stuff with, the better. For example, our new cots mean we, or our neighbors or friends who borrow them, can accomodate more house guests. That builds more community and more joy.

Now I’m just jonesing for our next camping trip and my next wildlife celebrity sighting.

photo courtesy of mizmak

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Colleen

    Bald eagles are so wonderful to see — and from inside the coolness of a mountain lake, even more wonderful. Glad to have shared the moment with you!
    As far as buying more stuff, as you say, I think it’s okay as long as it’s mindful and not excessive. Our stuff will change as we change — clothes change as our style and activities change, housewares change as we evolve, etc. Outdoor gear is no different. The key, when it’s time to buy something (either new or used), is to try and hand off your old stuff for someone else to enjoy, through consignment, direct sale, or a simple giveaway.

    • Alison

      Colleen, I agree. I like the idea that material belongings are things we steward. They should flow toward need like a river flows toward low ground. They shouldn’t get clogged up in a dam of excess.

  • samizdat

    I hate to brag, but…:)

    My wife and I (we live in St. Louis, Mo; in the actual City, btw) were in a State Natural area, hiking along, enjoying the deeply shaded hollow-or holler, if you prefer the colloquial-when we were very suddenly startled out of our conversation by two very large and very mature turkeys. Which were startled by us, of course. CRASH! RUSTLE! (Really, how does one describe the sound of a forested holler as two turkeys fly through it?). Anywho…So off they went, pushing through the trees, as my wife and I regained our exposure enough to realize how amazing it was that our reverie was perturbed by actual large fauna.

    But wait, there’s more…

    So, we continue to walk through the woods, and perhaps another hundred paces or so further on, the same damn thing happens…except this time the very same turkeys which we had disturbed from their roost not 90 seconds ago were joined in their flight by two very large hawks! So off they go, careering in and out of the branches in the densely forested canopy, and leaving my wife and I gobsmacked (man, I love that word!; thx, British people), laughing at the whole series of events and looking at one another as if we had just imagined the entire thing.

    Of course, I could also tell you about the two Great Blue Herons we saw take flight in a semi-rural suburban city park at dusk, eying them until they disappeared from sight. Oh, and the single Great Blue Heron we saw while walking along a riverside path in Castlewood State Park, as it walked in the shallows of the Meramec River, across from us on the opposite bank.

    But that would be rude…;)

    Great memories for us. I am glad to hear about the memory created for you by the serendipitous proximity of your friend, you and the hungry eagle.

    Peace. Mike

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