I have seen a skulk of foxes running toward my car as I drove down Ashemont Road. Have seen racoons playing on an embankment, have watched a deer hunker down and make her escape while a group of hunters with their backs turned plotted their hunting strategy. I never said a word, just admired her and snickered a little at the hunters. Have seen two deer swim in the pond where we were fishing, and have watched one eat crabapples at the fence. I have escaped injury when the neighbors' horses broke through their fence and thundered through my yard, shaking the ground, running for all their worth.
I have had the love of many good dogs throughout my life -- two of them protected me from what they perceived as threats, and very well could have been.
I have felt the sun warm my skin, and water cool the burn in the summer. I have heard the sound of snow against snow, have marvelled at the renewal of life in the spring. I have watched the sky, heard the birds singing as though they were rejoicing at the break of day. I have watched the mist rise from mountain tops, and have been lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean as it found its way to shore.
I have confronted an undercover drug enforcement agent when he asked me where he could score some good stuff (a serious case of mistaken identity) and lectured him on the dangers of drugs, and how the people behind my place of employment were being strong-armed out of their social security checks.
I have fled with my mother to safety after finding her, bloodied, trapped in my drunk father's arms, have later poured his stash down the drain in front of him. At a later time, I had the good sense to scream for help when, stone cold sober, he tried to choke me. He let me go. And once, when I was fifteen, I stopped him from leaving the house with a loaded gun, bent on revenge, and was able to talk him down.
I have made mistakes, poor choices, but managed to work through them and come out a little worse for the wear, but a little wiser.
I have carried life twice, and may not have been the perfect parent, but I learned what it feels like to love a child and have been awed at how powerful and enduring that love can be.
I have walked down the halls with a concentrated population of rapists, murders, and other offenders and have been protected and safe. I have read sex offenders their duty to report and have had them tell me unbelievable bits of information I never asked for and didn't want to know, and have wondered about why and what the purpose of hearing and seeing all of this has been. I have entered an intensive control block and have been treated respectfully. There IS a power in the universe that watches over all of us. Of that, I am certain.
I have lost my brother, parents, and best friend in a short period of time and let the pain and grief take me under and stayed there until, one day, I found myself surface and carry on. All of us...all of us...have more strength than we ever knew, and can survive that which we thought would surely kill us.
I have battled cancer, am still battling cancer, and am not sure which of us will win the fight, but I don't have time to be afraid, until the wee hours of the morning when all is quiet and there's too much time to think and regret all that I have not done or seen. I worry my life has been too dull, I haven't done enough for other people or myself and every time I ask myself what I should do, the response is immediate - Fight! And that's what I will do.
I'm just not finished being amazed by life, just yet.