Saturday, August 16, 2008

You Snooze, You Lose

Welcome to Story Time. Yes, there is a most pertinent point to the following story and I'm sure you'll catch it before you're at the end.

For six long years she traveled this highway. She knew it like the back of her hand. Every hill, every intersection, every little bridge that crossed every little stream. Along this highway were three seperate ponds that her eyes quickly scanned every time she would approach them. The first pond was easy to see, as it sat nestled among trees on the far side and was wide open viewing from the highway. The next two ponds sat back a little from the highway and were directly across from each other, one on the east side of the highway, the other on the west. It was the pond on the west that captured her attention every time.

An avid birdwatcher for many years, she knew quite well that there would always be a various assortment of birds in the west pond. Geese, ducks, Kingfishers, and more. Her favorite bird of all time, the Great Blue Heron, was almost always a regular visitor to this particular pond. At some time in the long, distant past, someone had built a small pier that jutted out from the shore and went almost halfway to the center of the pond. She'd never seen a human being on the pier but she imagined at one time someone's daddy had taken his little boy out there to teach him how to fish. Maybe a teenager had taken a radio out there and relaxed in the summer sun. While most certainly it was once strong and sturdy, time had not been kind to the pier, and it no longer looked stable enough to hold a human being. It was plenty stable however, to bear the weight of the majestic Great Blue Heron, which often stood on the peir railing, peering into the water for his next meal of fish, frogs or maybe even a turtle.

While the pond itself sat back from the highway and was not entirely visible, the pier stood tall and the railing where the Heron stood was easily viewable to any passing motorist. At key times of the day, the way the sun's rays danced around the area, if the Heron was standing at his usual post, the sunlight would light up his colors with an almost surreal glow and he often looked like a fairy tale creature in a classic childrens story book with hues of glowing ambers, fiery blues, and polished steel grays.

Week after week, month after month, season after season, she traveled this highway and always looked for her favorite bird at this pond. Almost always she was pleasantly delighted to see him standing there, and almost always she thought to herself "one of these days, I should stop and take pictures of this gorgeous creature". Her busy life being what it was, nearly every trip down that highway was on her way to someplace important, and extra time never seemed to be on her side. "One of these days", she told herself, year after year.

That day had finally arrived. As she traveled one more time down the south highway, she saw him once again. She determined right then that on her trip back she would stop and finally capture this beautiful bird forever, on digital memory. After she had finished with her business in town she headed back out onto the highway and as she approached the pond she slowed the vehicle preparing to stop. Finally, after all these years she was going to do what she'd meant to do so long ago. She felt good about the decision.

She pulled her vehicle over to the side of the road and scanned the many trees and bushes to finally get a good view of the pond with the pier, and when the vehicle came to a full stop she sat there horrified at what she saw. "Oh NO!" she cried outloud to no one in particular, and heard her own words echo in her ears. During the time she had been taking care of her business in town, someone had come along and demolished the pier where the Great Blue Heron had once stood. She could see the pile of old, rotting wood that was once a pier, laying on the shore not too far from where it once stood in the water. The pier gone, the Heron no longer had a perch to stand on, and she knew she would never have the opportunity again to see him standing there the way he once did. One of these days, she thought to herself, and felt her heart sink as the irony of the scene settled into her thoughts. The very day she finally stopped, was the very day that one hour too late, she would miss her chance forever to enjoy this scene.

She slowly eased her vehicle back onto the highway feeling a sadness and a great disappointment in herself, for putting off so many times, what she had so often meant to do.

The End

In case you hadn't already figured it out, the person in the story is me, and the story is actually true and happened this week. While the idea of getting an award winning shot of a Heron is quite trivial (although I'm telling you, it would have been THE coolest bird picture, ever!) in the grand scheme of things, the moral of the story is simply this: Carpe Diem - seize the day.

Do not put off until "some day" the things you mean to do. Say what you need to say, do what you need to do and don't find yourself living in regret that you procrastinated one minute or one day too long. Make that call, send that letter, hug that kid, say you're sorry... whatever it is that you need to do today, DO IT, and don't delay. You'll be really glad you did.


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