There’s a wonderful, paved rail trail that stretches across our county, over the river and into the next. It’s the perfect place to embark on the chosen exercise of the day, or even just to sit on a bench and breathe. It’s level ground with only a few slight hills, offering perfect stretches to let your mind wander while getting in those steps. I’ve taken up walking here, early mornings. A little solitude and time to myself, it’s my new creative space to conjure up design plans and even best efforts for daily routines.
I’ve seen lots of animals on my walks; squirrels, chipmunks with their tales straight up while they run across the trail; I’ve seen a skunk that forced me to go ahead, turn around and forfeit the walk for the day. I’ve seen several fox, too, and with each one of these living beings that I’ve come across, they were fleeting. Other than the skunk, they ran across and into the woods, not the least bit interested in me.
Today was different.
As I walked, my emotions were tumbled. I had a heart so full of pride and a mind full of caution.
Our Sweet Boy left today for college orientation.
It’s a new chapter for our family and today, Sean and Mac headed down to Coastal Carolina University for Freshman orientation. It’s a day that seemed so far away.
On my walk this morning, I came across a deer. She was pretty and her fur/hair was healthy. She nonchalantly walked in front of me, then stopped. She was graceful in her movement, but not the least bit disturbed that I was approaching. Rather, as I was only a couple feet away, she turned and looked at me, and almost relaxed a little.
“Helloooooo,” I said.
She stood there, still.
She blinked, but her eyes only closed halfway. And at that moment, I burst into tears because it was silent communication. It’s a mother’s intuition, in that no matter the species, all are intertwined. She never moved, but motioned me to keep going. So I did. I walked another mile, turned around, headed back, and there she was again, this time in the center of the trail. She wasn’t moving, her eyes focused on mine.
“He’s got this. Let him fly.”
In just a few short weeks, our sweet boy will be fledging off to college; new territory for us. The reality of it is ever-present now, softly here, sharply there. It’s bitter and sweet, this sending off, this shifting, this new-to-all-of-us next phase of life.
Mac is the star in this chapter, and the three of us, Sean, Caroline and me, are in the front row, cheering him on. And for that deer I crossed paths with this morning? Well, I owe her a world of gratitude. She brought me calm and reassurance. Goes to show that a mother’s intuition, across all boards, is so very strong.
We each have tumbled emotions along with zings of excitement, all wrapped into one. For a day that seemed so far away, it’s here now. And though my deep breaths are more frequent, my heart is so very proud.
Time is a virtue and yet one of the most valuable things we have. We’re holding on to each day with even more gratitude and more attention. Mac is heading off to college.
Here we go!