Those of you who know me know that I often take inspiration from nature. Today is no exception. While on that same walk two days ago that I wrote about on Day One of the SOL Challenge when I spotted so many jubilant, mating ducks, I also spotted something that made my heart skip a beat. There are several osprey platforms that have been mounted in the wetlands adjacent to my path. I have been observing them for years. A week ago, while walking with my daughter, we mused about when the ospreys would return. My response was “early Spring is the best I can tell you.”
A week later, walking the same path, closely eyeing one nest in particular that has sheltered many osprey families over the past decade, I thought I saw a movement in the nest. I took out my not-so-good binoculars and eureka! There was definitely a large bird in the nest whose head kept popping up. An osprey for sure…probably sitting on her eggs. I was so excited because for me this is a sure sign of spring and a reaffirmation of the power of nature. Because, you see, in the 1950s ospreys were highly endangered due to toxins they ingested from DDT spraying (for mosquitoes) for decades. They were laying eggs with shells that were too thin to sustain the life of the embryo. It was a sad state of affairs.
But due to a lot of diligence on the part of ornithologists, ecologists, scientists, bird lovers and the like, the osprey has made a strong comeback…hence my name for it: The Comeback Kid.
I like to compare myself with the osprey. I, too, became highly endangered due to toxicity from chemo treatments last year. But like the osprey, thanks to the care of many professionals, good friends and close family members, I have also made a miraculous comeback. To see them now back in their nests, year after year gives me strength and hope. They have become part of my “circle of life.” I have learned that it is the cycle of the seasons, the ups and downs of nature, the fascination of the migrations, the dependability of certain events like the return of the osprey that sustain me.
And now, I have something new to add to my “circle of life”: The return of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. It is only my second year of participation but it has already had such an impact on me that I know I will be here for at least several more cycles. I owe my enthusiasm to a great many people who work hard to keep the SOL challenge alive and growing each year. And this year I wanted to “give back” by volunteering to welcome newcomers. I admire the writers who’ve been participating in this challenge since its inception, yet still return with passion and devotion. I hope to become one of them.
Writing is a cyclical thing. Ask anyone who loves to write. There are dry seasons and fertile seasons. Sometimes the well runs dry and must be replenished. But every writer knows the only cure is to get back in the game and just give it the best you’ve got. Actually, we are all Comeback Kids at one time or another in our writing lives.