Almost titled: End of the Journey
I was working in my yard this morning; cutting grass, pruning small trees, etc., when I noticed a Monarch butterfly flitting about the Lantana that grows on the sunny side of my home. It’s once-beautiful red/orange and black markings were faded to near transparency, and it’s wings were ragged and in tatters. It could hardly fly more than a couple of feet before it had to land on the ground or sit on a bloom to feed. It was cool this morning, but warm on that side of the house. I sat down by the Lantana and watched as the Monarch struggled in what was obviously the near end of its life. I wondered where it had come from, how far it had travelled, and why it started it’s journey so late.
My ex-wife sent eight containers of “stuff” over to my house yesterday while I was at work. I was told it was “good china” she gave my daughter and some of my daughter’s stuff. I have room in my shed and was going to store the china for my daughter. I opened the containers and found the dishes, but in three of the containers were some of my daughter’s toys, books, and keepsakes from her childhood. Her favorite book we used to read before bedtime when she was a toddler was right on top, along with her Glow Worm Baby. I was immediately reduced to tears, closed the box up and will not reopen it. My daughter will have to deal with this “stuff” that is dear to me and my memories.
Another box contained awards, plaques, photos, and newspaper articles from my career in telecommunications. Old friends and old adversaries suddenly appeared and memories again came flooding back. That “stuff” I dealt with immediately. It went into the garbage can. Why? Because I have no place to store it, and to keep my children from having to toss it one day.
I couldn’t help but compare my life to that of the Monarch. I saw the evidence of where I have been and some of the accomplishments of which I am so proud. I saw pictures of a much younger self; stronger, with more hair, and ready for any challenge the world could throw at me. I’m now sixty years old, my hair is white, I have arthritis in both shoulders, and I know better than to try to manhandle a 20-year-old, 200 pound inmate. I watched my mother pass away at 51 years of age, and my dad passed away 3 years ago at 82 years. I wonder how much longer I can continue to work 12 hour shifts at a job better suited for a much younger man.
I’m proud of my life and my accomplishments. I served with honor in my country’s Navy. I’ve worked hard all my life and have excelled in almost every job I’ve held. I earned my Bachelor degree at the age of 56 graduating in the top 2% of my class and earning a couple of awards. I’ve raised three children who have good jobs and a good solid foundation. They are all doing well. I’m proud of my kids and my country. I say openly with pride, I am an American.
Like the Monarch butterfly this morning, I wonder how much farther I have to go. I wonder what the future holds for me. I also wonder what’s in store for my country and how this election is going to affect the nation I’m so proud to be a citizen of, and how much life is left in the U.S. of A. Has its beautiful colors faded, and it’s wings become ragged? Will my children and grandchildren have a great country to be a part of?
Just a melancholy Monday.