Osprey on the Rail Bridge

A little summer lesson: I do not know why the U.S. Treasury bond is riding high when investors are supposedly afraid that the US government is about to collapse under the weight of our debt. I don't know why gold, mostly an inflation hedge, is soaring as prices fall or are stagnant for most items worldwide. I don't know how we will ever keep Iran from having a nuclear bomb.

I do know that on the south end of the railroad bridge across the mighty Pendoreille River here in North Idaho, a family of osprey have built a magnificent, sturdy nest and sit unmoved as freight trains a mile long go by, shaking the whole town. I know they are fearless, majestic, a glory to see. They fly next to my little boat and dive on trout and bring them back to their nest, and I could watch them all day.

I cannot figure out this wicked, cunning world of men.

I can appreciate the clouds scudding over the lake and the stupendous sunrises every single morning. I can get chills from the sights and sounds of boats at moorage in the marina at Luby Bay on Priest Lake at dusk. I can understand the wind whipping along the river and slapping me in the face and saying, "Wake up. You only live a short time. Appreciate what nature has given you here. Stop trying to figure out what's unfathomable and take joy in what is around you."

Or, as my prize student, Ferris Bueller, said years ago: "Life goes by pretty quick. If you don't slow down, you might miss it."

If you slow down just for a little minute, and focus on what is beautiful in Idaho, or in Ithaca or Indiana, it can be a glorious rest before you have to go back to security lines and traffic jams and stock markets, and fear.

The osprey on the railroad bridge, impervious to the noise and vibration, high above it all, are teaching us a lesson about paying attention to what's important. Maybe this summer, we can learn. Or, maybe not.