Sunday, July 25, 2010

Living on the Edge

A seagull ruffles its feathers and nestles on the grass, preparing to nap in the July sunshine. What strikes me is where the bird has chosen to hunker down – right next to a busy bike path. It’s a popular route that follows the twists and turns of the St. Lawrence River. On such a fine Sunday, it will be crowded with skaters and cyclists; there are always a few who veer off the pavement on occasion. That gull has put himself in a potentially dangerous situation.

I think of all the people who live on the edge. They may face financial crises, marital woes or even trouble with the law. No one likes to be in difficulty for too long – it’s stressful – but there’s no denying the aliveness we feel as we try to regain control over our lives. It has to do with using all our resources to survive. Do these situations happen to us or do we, like the seagull, put ourselves at risk by our choices?

Maybe we get involved with unstable partners or friends or must deal with the consequences of our own reckless acts. It’s exciting on the edge but it’s not sustainable. Eventually we want peace and calm in our lives.

The seagull can always move. We, too, can decide to seek safer ground.