2016 Year of Surprises

As I stood in the kitchen preparing some sustenance to fuel my body for an afternoon of endeavour I had that sense that something was unfolding near me that I was not tuned into.  Twice in seven days I had that feeling.  It occurred so strongly on both occasions that I was compelled to pause in the busyness of the day. Both times I was rewarded with surprises on the swake.  If you read last week's blog you will know that I had been processing life surprises for several weeks.  Apparently we were not finished exploring surprises yet because they kept showing up and the more I thought about surprises the more I recognized them.

The surprises showed up initially in the form of a feeling.  Have you ever had that feeling that someone else is in the room when no one is?  Well that's the feeling I had as I stood in the kitchen making lunch.  When I have experienced that feeling by the swake I have learned to look out the window, not because someone might be looking in but because it has always preceded something spectacular.  The swake has never let me down when I have been brave enough to look for the surprise.  I say brave enough because I used to be scared silly of that feeling that someone else was in the room and quite frankly if someone else appeared in the room I would have died of fright and there would have been no blog today!  But the swake has been gentle with my sensibilities and has taught me to be open to the surprises it reveals.

Dark lump with ears - by the swake January 2016
Surprise number one was a big dark lump, way out in the swake that seemed to move.  I flipped through my memory cards to try to figure out whether that lump had always been there or if it was new.  While I was doing the memory search the lump moved, just slightly.  It moved enough to make me grab the binoculars.  Closer inspection confirmed that the lump was alive and was in fact a moose.  By the time I was certain of the moose sighting Kanti had picked up on something too and was in full guard dog mode barking her head off. Hearing the commotion, the moose stood up from it's resting spot, peered at us peering at her, and set off for the safety of the willows.  Within a matter of minutes the first surprise had come and gone. Phone in hand I was able to capture what it looked like.  You too get to experience the still frames of that surprise although I have no way other than words to describe how the feeling set in so you will have to just imagine that part.

It stood up - by the swake January 2016

Yup it's a cow moose - by the swake January 2016
The second surprise was another swake animal sighting triggered again by that same prescience, the one I have come to call animal alert instead of someone else in the room.  Amazing how reframing your surprises makes you so much more open and less afraid of what they might be.  I received the animal alert and knew I needed to go to the windows to look out.  A deer was walking between the swake reeds towards the willows it was perfectly silhouetted against the open snow covered ground.  It happened so quickly there was no time to grab the camera or the phone.  You will just have to trust me when I tell you there was a deer.  There wasn't just one deer there were at least two.  A quick scan of the swake revealed another dark lump just above the thick reeds.  It was so exciting; I grabbed the phone and set it to video only to realize that my poor aging eyes weren't able to see the tiny dark lump on the even tinier screen.  Ever optimistic, I pointed the phone in the approximate direction of the deer and pushed the red video button.  I wanted so badly to record my second animal alert surprise as it made its way from the reeds to the edge of the swake and finally into the sanctuary of the bush.

By the time I pushed the stop video button, I had a thirty-one second video of the swake that was a complete failure in the category of video your surprise.  Although the video attempt was a bust the surprises weren't.  They were there, playing themselves out on the outskirts of my consciousness nudging me to be aware of surprises all around.  As I journaled one morning I listed three things that would have been a surprise to me on that same day one year ago.  I filtered through what I was going to be doing in the coming day and thought back to one year ago on that precise date to ask myself whether I would have anticipated today's surprises a year ago.  Surprisingly I was able to quickly come up with three things on that day that would have surprised me if someone had told me a year earlier that they would be part of my day this year.

So you see, the surprise thing won't leave me alone.  Kind of like the animal alert, it makes me feel like something I don't understand is going on around me.  All of it makes me wonder what will I be experiencing on January 9, 2017 that I didn't foresee on January 9, 2016.  More than anything I want to be fully aware and present in my life today so that I don't miss any of the fantastic surprises that the swake and life offer me. At the same time I want to develop my bravery muscle because I know that not all surprises are gentle and beautiful.  Some come crashing down on us with a force that shreds our spirits.  In order to develop that bravery muscle, the one that helps us to face the inevitable crashes, we have to feed and stoke our spirits.  My spirit becomes a little more resilient every time I listen to the other sense and lift my eyes to the surprises of the swake.

I hereby declare 2016 the Year of Surprise at Life by the Swake.  Come along with me on a journey through Surprise this year. Add your voice to the comments or the postings as we travel.  Share your surprises.  Encourage others as they struggle under crushing surprises.  Whatever day you read this blog, would you please let me know what surprise you experience today that you didn't foresee a year ago?  I want to learn as much as I can about surprises - good and bad - and how we handle them.