If I had a boat

It is a delicately warm June morning. The cool sheets are soft and silky against my skin. I nuzzle my head into the pillow pretending for a moment that I might fall back asleep. I laugh into the morning sunlight knowing that, with daylight breaking, I will be still for only a few seconds. The birds sing to me through the open window, a thousand different notes fill the air in nature?s enchanting aria. As a gentle breeze floats in I stretch, pushing back the sheets to feel the air?s soothing touch. I swing my feet toward the floor. I am ready to shower, rouse Pup, and join the waking morning.

The blue sky peers at me from above the treetops as Pup and I walk up the hill. The birds, momentarily quiet, seem to watch us from the safety of their lofty perches among the pines and oaks. Soft, dappled sunlight dances upon my bare shoulders, and Pup?s coppery coat glistens in the early light. Pup pulls me to a halt. Curious hound that he is, every new scent must be smelled and sorted. I love Pup. He is wise and willful. He is alert and spirited. He has a heart of gold. Pup is ready to move on, and, for the moment, I lead again. As we turn the bend, three wild turkeys stare us down. The largest of the trio unfurls his feathers into a grand, intimidating fan. Pup and I stare back curiously. The turkeys strut off into the brush leaving a singular throaty gobble reverberating in the air. Pup looks up at me with puzzled eyes. I smile, bending to kiss his soft forehead, and we move on. A tender breeze caresses my shoulders, and I treasure this moment, this peace.

My life is filled with beauty. At every turn, I encounter abundance and blessings. My heart warms throughout my days as I share love-filled smiles, words, and thoughts. My spirit fills with love and gratitude as I go about my days, for I know I am privileged to be living a life of my own creation. Even as I cherish the sweetness of my life, I am keenly aware that my spirit is also challenged by the tears, sorrows, and fears that are an integral part of life. When I am weary, I remind myself that these challenges are the key to my ongoing growth, the very transformation that is my reason for being. I strive to walk through my personal challenges?the hurdles that life presents to me?with awareness and wisdom. When helping and supporting others?be they loved ones, friends, or clients?I strive to do the same. I have come to believe that no person?s life is truly easy; we all share similar burdens and woes. It is how we face them?how we accept them and use them to grow?that shapes us into who we are. I count myself fortunate that I embrace this truth; it gives me a sense of lightness.

Yet, despite my eternally optimistic outlook, there are times when life feels weighty?too weighty?and I dream of quiet respite. On this blissful morning, I am aware that I?ve not had time off in ages. I know that a bit of rest would do me good, that it would rejuvenate and enliven me. As these thoughts drift through my mind, a treasured song comes to me. Though I hear it rarely, it is a cherished tune, for it gives rise to my ready laughter and daydreams. I hear the lyrics as if Lyle Lovett were singing next to me in the morning sun. I hear him croon, ?If I had a boat, I?d go out on the ocean. And if I had a pony, I?d ride him on my boat. And we could all together, go out on the ocean. Me upon my pony on my boat.? I treasure this song, for it tells me a story of hope, of adventure, and of comical escape.

When life?s challenges become a bit daunting, I often conjure up the image of me, my pony, my boat, and the calm seas that surround us on our freedom-filled journey. I can readily picture myself on the boat I do not have. I see myself astride the tawny pony my imagination has painted. I envision the deep blue expanse of ocean that surrounds us as we voyage off to nowhere. In simple, imaginative spaces like this, it becomes easy to see and feel that life is not as heavy as it sometimes seems. In the blink of an eye, with the whisper of a song, I can create a world where I am restored and refreshed.

And so, I continue on my walk, singing aloud to Pup about the pony, the boat, and all the delights of escaping to a magical life on the ocean. Pup doesn?t mind. He pads at my side, seemingly oblivious to my cheery tune. I realize, quite suddenly, that Pup is like the pony in the song. The boat is my life. And the sea is my world. I smile at the strange thought, and I return to singing my song.

Pup picks up his pace, and I see that he has spied a beautiful, white-tailed deer ahead. The deer cautiously eyes us, and I gently pull Pup to a halt. Pup scents the air. The doe peers at me, her huge, luminous eyes reflecting the sun?s rays. She leaps away into the haven of greenery as I watch, stunned by her beauty. Pup tugs at his lead; he is ready to trot on. As we continue on our way, I resume my silly, happy song. It might be some time before I take that vacation I dream about, but in the meanwhile, I hold within me that image of me, upon my pony, on my boat. And that is good. And that is plenty.