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The sky is dense in periwinkle, as a handful of stars float in the early twilight. Objects appear sharp across the horizon as the earth falls to shadow and day’s light holds a bit longer to a vanishing mountain range.
I am alone.
There is a rhythm to these sojourns. A natural gate that draws the breath and heart rate down. I smell a mix of the swamp and fresh melted snow. The tall windows of a nearby house are completely awash in the night sky, giving the illusion that east is west. I see the ripple of ducks swimming silently in the dark.
I am not alone.
The earth is a conversation the Universe is having with me. It speaks of love and passion. Richness and possibility. Renewal and evolution. Its song seeps up from the soil through the soles of my feet. Every step a serenade. My breath a kiss with a wind that invigorates my life force, as only a lover can. The night has become a devotional played on cricket backs to me.
The light slips over mountain crests, as silent as a furry moth and rises again within my breast, lighting my vision for home.
There are few trees. Prairie mostly and stone. Coyote or fox scat litters the trail. Out here, probably coyote. Thank goodness rabbits are abundant as it is clear they are the main diet out here. As I move the occasional scurry in leaves is heard of a mole or vole. A titmouse follows me along the trail for some time before disappearing into the scrub.
Along the cliff faces I can see where swallows, falcons and kestrels are nesting. Bird droppings and mud houses aren’t hard to see from the trail. From a wildlife point of view this is like a high-rise in a busy urban area. They have the perfect vantage point of the prairie beyond. It’s surprisingly hot for a late winter’s day. I realize I should have left earlier. I rest upon a stone cluster for nuts and water.
Few travel the trails today, as it is midweek and I have taken the day off. This is how I like it best, but rarely find it on the weekends. Quiet, still, but for wildlife. The only discourse between the magpies and jays. The wind moves my hair as it moves the grasses. Seed pods land in my lap that have floated upon the air from a nearby stand of trees. I apologize for being such infertile soil and lay them upon the earth.
I try to remember things that have disturbed me of late, but out here in all of this expanse I struggle to pull anything to me. This is what draws me here again and again. The titmouse is back and I leave a few pumpkin seeds for her and head off down the trail. I become the wind as long as I keep walking.
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Aerodynamically speaking, the magpie is about as mis-designed a bird as they come. A beautiful bird with a ridiculously long tail. Watching them fly can often feel like watching Irishmen stumbling out of a pub. They sing their strange song, a cross between a blue jay and a crow, as if they were mockingbirds. Curiously, they don’t seem bothered one wit about their odd characteristics, nor do they merely make do. They make a rich life along lakes and streams where they build the most spectacular nests. Almost fully woven hanging baskets.
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As I hiked I watched a pair collecting sticks and chattering away with one another. They have such an unusual call it is a bit hard to tell if they are bickering or lovingly calling to one another. Same could be said for many couples I know. As I watch, the thicket flashes with their white and blue wing markings as they look for debris to build with. Often in the trees and shrub all you can see is this long black group of feathers bobbing up and down. They are a very curious bird, indeed.
I can’t completely explain it but whenever I watch them fly they give me hope. We can all do more than make do with what we were given. We can build nests of rich lives with what we already possess in this moment. Whatever perceived personal flaws we think we have, we likely don’t or it was even intended for our adventure. There really aren’t design flaws. Spiritually speaking, it’s impossible.
Sharon Tate was once quoted to say, “Everything that’s realistic has some sort of ugliness to it. Even a flower is ugly when it wilts, a bird when it seeks pray, and ocean when it becomes violent.” The trick is to penetrate deeply into what lies before you. To really look at a thing or a person or a situation with your inner vision, until the beauty of it becomes apparent. We aren’t changed or made better by witnessing beauty in these moments, but rather the effort causes us to see the beauty within ourselves reflected in what we see.
So here’s to the magpie. May they fly long and far.
I offer more than a glimpse
I am fuller than light across the sill
Let me take your breath away with my vastness
I do not fear you looking in
Seeing my bent tree and cracked stone
On balance I am the grand view not the lone pebble.
Re-posted from Collective Evolution Facebook page
Human seed exposed
Germinating in decay
Rotted trunk gardens
Brewing organisms in deathbeds
Steeped in sun and water
Most people who know me well know that I have a DJ playing music in my head all night. No matter the hour, if I get up to go the bathroom or arise in the morning there is music playing in my head. Much of it is predictable. Tunes I have been listening to or singing a great deal lately. But many nights it’s random stuff that is hard to explain, with this one exception. These outliers always make me laugh. I am convinced the DJ is this funky angel who used to be a beat singer in the sixties or a drummer in the Congo at the turn of the last century. Who ever it is they are immensely amusing. This was what I awoke to this morning. A merry Tuesday to you all.