To illustrate what a nature freak Carol is, here is the tale [about the picture on the right]. I see this bird and call her over to “look at this really neat bird”. She takes one glance and says, “Oh, that’s a painted bunting. I’ve never seen one of those before.”
Are you kidding me?!? Never seen one before but immediately knows what it is anyway?!?
That’s my mom. A common activity for our family is to take the boat out on the lake at night and fish. While we’re out there I’ll bore everybody with astronomical tedium, we’ll sing, and generally have an all-round blast. At night on the lake you get all the noises made by the local wildlife. It’s a tumultuous, discordant symphony of all the insects and animals on the shore. One of the most enjoyable parts of being out there is that you can pick out a single sound from amongst the din and my mother will be able to tell you what’s making it and a whole bunch of interesting facts about the insect/animal.
She is a very intelligent woman who always gives sound, caring advice. I am constantly asking her for advice, and she always seems to know the right thing to say. Yet she is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. It is not uncommon for her to sincerely say she doesn’t know much about a subject, and then for her to contribute a list of facts fifteen minutes later of which nobody in the conversation was aware.
She has always cared greatly for me and my brother and has supported us 100% in what we wished to do with our lives.
I am a cosmic lottery winner millions of times over. I was born as a human rather than an earthworm or one of the millions of other species on this planet. On top of that bit of monumental luck, I was born into a resource-rich nation, into a life of near-Utopian comfort compared to most of the other nations on this planet. The cosmos have truly smiled on me.
But chief amongst my good fortune has always been that I wound up with my mom. She is my role model and, frankly, one of my best friends. Nobody deserves this kind of serendipity, but I work every day to try (which seems kind of silly since my mother is already proud of me and has been for years).
I love you, mom.