Wild Thoughts

Yesterday I had plans to go to an Owl Prowl event at Holliday Park. It promised meeting an owl up close and personal with park handlers, dissecting owl pellets, learning the call of the Eastern Screech Owl, and a night hike.

Owl seeking. I’ve done this before, and it is transporting. Like there’s some wisdom transfer. I have seen you, and I now know things.

My first Barred Owl sighting, at Eagle Creek.
My first Barred Owl sighting, at Eagle Creek.

The unexpected death of a friend of our family brought my parents in town for a funeral, so I canceled my Owl Prowl plans. This morning over coffee, my mom and I watched woodpeckers go after the suet I had just filled in our backyard feeder. We talked about my great aunt, who has just been diagnosed with stage IV cancer. A mash up of birds, loss, and legacy.

My parent’s friend was the principal who has been all over the news, the one who was killed by a bus. Thousands of guests at her visitation and funeral were a testament to her impact. A life dedicated to educating and inspiring others.

I wondered, if I were to go today, what would my legacy be? Even having been the architect of my own path, it’s hard to see clear lines. I haven’t gone all in on much. I’ve dabbled lightly, drinking life up. Trying this and trying that.

It occurred to me that if I had any capital built up in a legacy, it has been purely accidental. A rush of questions caused some panic. Shouldn’t legacy be more intentional? But what should I strive to be known for? What am I waiting for? Do I really need a legacy?

Maybe I should be one of those who makes a quiet impact on just a few, and that is enough. I started this blog post, then decided to wait and think about legacy during a five-mile run.

I procrastinated. Instead of heading straight out for my run, I opened the window and sat back down in my kitchen to read. It felt freeing to have the window flung open in January, the sun beaming in and the chatter of the chickadees calling back and forth. Chick-a-dee-dee-dee.

I stumbled onto an article about a teenage eagle huntress in Mongolia. This is not a thing I knew existed. She is the first female to train for this type of hunting, bucking 2,000 years of tradition.

A still image from the documentary The Eagle Huntress.
A still image from the documentary The Eagle Huntress. Asher Svidensky/Kissaki Films

I took this story with me to the trail for my first run since a chest cold side-lined me Tuesday night. My probing and anxious questions fell away. I just ran with visions of Mongolia and soaring eagles.

My thoughts turned wild. Like this was some sign. To be more brave. To take some grand adventure. Just keep living and trying and giving and being. It will be enough. I never landed on a legacy.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox

Prompt: “Legacy. What do you want to be known for? Maybe you want to change the world. Maybe you just want to make the best cupcakes known to man. Go all in and give us the deep life-long goal, or share a smaller mission.”