When you believe it, you’ll see it

“Watching for things” is one of my favorite leisure activities. When we’re driving through Florida, I watch the roadside ponds and ditches for signs of alligators. When I’m at the beach, I watch for dolphins. I excitedly point and take photos when the ‘gators and dolphins make their appearances. My family is rarely as excited as I am, but they humor me by participating in the excitement.

I’ll admit that I may, from time to time, watch for ‘gators and dolphins here in Ohio, even knowing that such creatures would not survive here in Ohio. My husband will see me, apparently deep in thought, looking out the window on a long drive. “What are you thinking?” he will ask. He just shakes his head when I reply, “I’m looking for alligators.”

I stop on my run to watch the waves on Lake Erie for signs of dolphins, too. I have yet to see one, nor a mermaid, but a girl can dream…

It wasn’t so many years ago that bald eagles were unheard of here in Northeast Ohio. I’ve lived here nearly my entire life. The first time that I saw a bald eagle in nature was in Alaska in 2007. It was a remarkable sight. I saw them again, a year later, on a trip to Florida (and I saw ‘gators, too!) Several years ago, I heard that several pairs (of eagles, not ‘gators) had established nests in Ohio. I began to watch the skies and the trees for eagles. I had a long wait.

One day, on a drive from Cleveland to Toledo, it happened. I saw two bald eagles perched side by side in a tall tree by the side of the highway. I could hardly wait to tell my husband that it had happened, at long last. Once I saw them that first time, I began watching in earnest. Now, several years later, their population has grown, and I see them at least weekly, and often more frequently, on my daily drive near the shores of Lake Erie.

Now, I watch the birds soaring overhead for white heads and tails. I can differentiate between a soaring hawk and a bald eagle by the shape of the head, or the angle of the wings when it is too high overhead to see the color of its feathers. Eagle spotting is one of my favorite ways to pass the time on my commute. I know I’m going to have a good day when I see an eagle on my way to work.

I recently told my husband that I see eagles often now, and it makes me happy every time that I spot one. I learned that he rarely sees eagles. I asked, “do you watch for them?” He told me that he doesn’t look for eagles, and I have decided that’s why he never sees eagles!

Last year we rented a pair of kayaks and took them out on a beautiful fall day on a nearby reservoir where there were dozens of other people in kayaks and small boats. As we paddled back to the kayak return, a young man in a boat with several other “youngsters” playfully asked, “did you see any alligators out there?” I quipped back, “Not yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there,” and gave him a knowing look.

Now that I’ve learned to like kayaking, I’m not sure that I want to see alligators in Ohio. As far as I know, there’s nothing local that will eat me, and I rather like it that way.

You do not succeed by picturing yourself failing. It’s been four years since I last attempted (and finished) a half marathon. On my first attempt, I started the race with a belief that I couldn’t do it, and I proved myself right. On my second attempt I took a different approach. I envisioned myself crossing the finish line every time I finished a training run. I saw myself (in my purple and black tutu), crossing the RunDisney finish line, and when the time came to run the race, I never believed that I could fail.

Diamond Dallas Page (DDP), started me on a voyage that gave me the strength and confidence that I needed to shed 130 pounds before crossing that finish line says, “whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you’re right.” With that in mind, I believe that I can cross the finish line in a full marathon. I will do it. Failure is not an option. That said, I’ve chosen one without a time limit.

Once upon a time, I never looked to the sky believing that I would see bald eagles, and alas, I didn’t see them, even when they were probably there. I will probably stop looking for alligators outside of Florida, because I really don’t think I want to encounter one at Old Woman’s Creek or Sheldon Marsh. I saw a mink running across a log on my last run, though, and I don’t believe that I’m likely to be eaten by a mink, so I will start watching for them, as well.

There could, one day, be fresh water dolphins, and as I’m not likely to be eaten by one, I believe that I’ll keep watching the waves near shore for them, whether I’m in Sarasota or Vermilion, watching the ocean or Lake Erie because I believe that when you believe it, you’ll see it.

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