Ospreys and Eagles and Owls! Oh My!

There were many unexpected blessings during my recent trip to Florida, but one truly stands out. This was my first time visiting my dear friend Carrie Stiers at her home in Tampa, and my first time meeting her parents who live about 45 minutes away on an island called Honeymoon Island. I had heard a lot about Carrie’s mother and Zoomed with her once, so I felt like we were already friends. However, I hadn’t heard as much about her father, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I met him. I soon discovered her dad is an open-hearted, peace-loving man with whom I share many common interests, including a love of nature and wildlife.

Not long after I arrived, Carrie and I drove over the causeway to meet her parents and walk on the beach before going to dinner. (Don’t worry. We were vaccinated and took precautions.) During that walk, her dad and I talked about many things: his time in Africa in the Peace Corps, animals, spirituality, and family. I loved hearing about the herd of elephants that lived near their village in Africa and he was happy to learn about the magnificent Disneynature film released last year simply titled Elephant. We’d known each other less than an hour, but it struck me how quickly I felt comfortable and completely accepted by this man. Later, Carrie’s husband joined us for dinner and the five of us had a wonderful time. The joy of watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico was a close second to the joy of laughing and sharing a meal with this loving family.

Having discovered our shared love of nature, Carrie’s father suggested the five of us take a walk later in the week along a birdwatching trail he frequented in Honeymoon Island State Park. He recommended we go right before dark when there’s a good chance to see owls! That sounded too cool to miss so we made plans to have an early dinner at their home followed by a twilight nature walk. At dinner, Carrie’s mom shared a hilarious story involving a homemade apple pie, so she offered to bake one for the occasion. I looked forward to that walk and that pie all week.

Well, both the pie and the walk surpassed my expectations. After just a few minutes on the trail, we spotted an owl sitting high in a tree. We took turns getting a closer look with a pair of binoculars before continuing our journey. Along the way we saw several osprey and osprey nests, a gopher tortoise munching on grass, a woodpecker banging on a palm tree, and an armadillo searching for food in the brush. The grand finale happened when a bald eagle flew directly over us, eventually landing in the tree at the end of the trail. She was protecting her young from a flock of vultures flying suspiciously close to the tree where her nest was built. It was a breathtaking moment.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, while making our way back to the parking lot, we spotted another owl sitting on a branch just a few yards away. This owl was such a showoff! For several minutes she demonstrated her uncanny ability to rotate her head over 180 degrees in each direction as she searched for dinner. She must have spotted something because suddenly she spread her wings and flew off silently into the woods. 

Mother Nature put on quite a show for us that night. Carrie’s dad commented that he normally sees some of those animals and birds, but never all of them on the same walk. The wildlife sightings set against the kaleidoscope of changing colors and clouds at sunset made for an absolutely magical evening. What made it even more magical was seeing how much Carrie’s dad enjoyed sharing the experience with people who appreciate Mother Nature’s wonder as much as he does. The delicious post-walk apple pie that Carrie’s mother baked made the evening even sweeter. 

We only saw Carrie’s parents on those two occasions, but once or twice during our visits, her dad briefly put his hand on my shoulder as a proud father might do with a grown son. Having lost my dad at age 7, I never had the experience of physical support and acceptance from a father as an adult. It caught me by surprise how deeply healing it was to have this connection with Carrie’s father. It went beyond words. It was a visceral sensation like some forgotten part of me was awakened and supported. 

I truly believe if my father had lived longer, we would have developed a mutual respect and admiration for each other like the connection I had with Carrie’s dad. In fact, even though my father is no longer in physical form, I believe we do have that connection. Perhaps he communicated this truth through Carrie’s dad. It was an unexpected gift I will always treasure. Thank you, Chuck Stiers, for all the kindness you shared and for giving me permission to share this story. I look forward to more time with this remarkable man in the future.

If you’ve been missing a connection with one or both of your biological parents for whatever reason, here’s something I recommend to my Family Constellations clients. If it feels right for you, think of them before you go to bed at night. Perhaps look at a photograph if you have one. Then speak the words below to the highest version of them whether they are still here in physical form or have made their transition to the non-physical:

“Dear mom or dad. Please come to me when I’m sleeping when I’m easier to reach and give me the love you would have if you could have when I was young.” 

Try it for a week or a month and see how you feel.  If I can assist you with a private Family Constellations session or a series of Life Coaching sessions, please reply to this email or look around my website for more information. I would be honored to help you reconnect with that forgotten part of you that longs to be seen and supported. You might also be interested in the special Family Constellations online workshops coming up in May and June exploring the Role of Mom and the Role of Dad. Visit the Upcoming Workshops page on my newly refurbished website for details and to purchase your ticket!

Until next time, may you experience unexpected blessings wherever you travel. 

As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realize that there is no journey, but only an awakening.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-13.1.7.1

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