Red Admiral Butterflies are Way Cool

I was sitting on my patio this morning in the warm sun and very cool 48 degree air, reading and writing and zoning out – when I was alighted upon by one of these awesome little creatures. Just as if I were a piece of the lawn furniture. Or a pretty flower. Or the window ledge like in this photo that I took later in the afternoon.

He lingered on my shoulder just long enough for me to note that his wings are silky smooth on the topside and super rough on the underside. Very cool.

I like that he chose me to land on. It made me feel special.

And so. I was sitting on the patio reading all day – because in my barefooted ways I landed super hard on a tiny little piece of pea gravel taking out the trash this morning at 7am – and had to take the rest of the day off my feet.

How lucky was that though? It allowed me to almost finish, The Buddha Walks into a Bar, by Lordro Rinzo. Which I hope to post about tomorrow or the next day.

And it brought me a world of new friends. Red Admiral Butterflies.

It’s Complicated

I love Lily Tomlin. Back in the day, when other kids were playing their Genesis and Journey albums, I was listening to Lily Tomlin’s comedy album over and over. What a strange young girl I was!

One of my favorite bits from the album went something like this,”Today I went to the hardware store to buy a wastepaper basket. I brought it to the checkout, paid for it, and the cashier put my wastepaper basket into a paper bag. When I got home, I took my wastepaper basket out of the paper bag, and put the bag into the wastepaper basket.”

Anyway, I got to thinking about this on my run today. It was 55 degrees here in Chicago, so I laced up my new pair of Barefoot Merrells  and ran down to the beach.

I found myself walking along the beach in barefoot shoes.

Shoes – by the way – that come with a set of instructions about how to run in them.

What the heck? How did we humans come to this? If I’m going to run barefoot, why do I need shoes? Why did Lily need a bag? Why must we complicate every thing?

We are all familiar with the magazine, Real Simple. I do enjoy it at the orthodontist. But how did we arrive at the point where we need a monthly magazine instructing us on how to pare down? When did “simple” become so complicated?

And, in pondering the above, I am somewhat hesitant to get into it all. Dare I say, it is a complex problem.

For heaven-sake, it took me the better part of a year to re-learn how to run in my “barefoot” shoes. I now land on my forefoot rather than my heel, such that I am smoothly rolling forward along, rather than constantly applying the brakes and starting over with every heel strike.

To run more simply, as nature intended, was a complicated process.

Somehow, in these modern times of ours, with so much innovation, and so many products and advertising, and stuff, and opportunities, we get lost among it all. And now, many of  us are looking for a way out. Looking to simplify, to be more mindful, more natural, to have more leisure time. To, simply put it, be more content.

I suppose we do need some instructions for that. We really have veered way off course.

So, where to start? Right here. Right now. Breath in. Breath out. Keep it simple for this moment. Breath in. Breath out.

Waves on a Great Lake

Everything (just about)  I love came together on my run today.

Thinking about how much I enjoy running, and being outside and the energy of the lake and the beauty of the birds, I guess that’s really not all that unusual. Coupled with a February 18th in Chicago that is a bright, crisp 36 degrees. It is an amazing day.

So I head down to Gillson Park to run along the beach and among the sand and ice formations, over all the mini-moguls created by the wind and the water.

The sun is bright and low, making it impossible to see anything to the west. I actually have to focus most of my attention on the sand to ensure a safe foot strike anyway, so I don’t mind the western blindness. I sneak a peek often to the east to watch the waves coming in to shore, the surf  crashing, and churning, and receding and crashing again. Maybe I hear it more as my witness. The constant whoosh, deafening all else. Perfect conditions, really to concentrate on the frozen, craggy beach of Lake Michigan below each step.

But first on my way down to the water, I follow some Juncos into a little thicket of trees along the harbor. I don’t know why.  Although, I’m learning to trust my instincts when I wander off the path. What makes me look up? Don’t know. But on a very low branch, maybe five feet above my head is beautifully regal red tail hawk. I move closer and closer until I am just beneath him. He looks at me, I look at him. And that’s what we do for a good five minutes until he lifts off and glides over the harbor.

As much as I love running alone – today I wish I had my family with me. To be part of this experience that I find so spellbinding. I think that would have made this run perfect.