What’s Your Spirit Bird?

 

I sit at the kitchen table preparing to read the NY Times. I separate the front section from the rest of the paper, and then pause.

I get up, go to the fridge and grab the remains of yesterday’s leftovers.

I turn to the Opinion Pages, my first stop, and scan the titles. My eyes spot an essay by Margaret Renkl.  I’m a fan-boy of Margarets. I see that her piece is titled “Spring is Coming“…well that’s a bit aggressive on January 5th, no Margaret? 

I read on.

“There’s a New Year’s tradition among bird-watchers: The first bird you see on New Year’s Day is your theme bird for the year. Your spirit bird, the bird that sets the tone for your encounters with the world and with others, the bird that guides your heart and your imagination in the coming year. It’s hardly a serious ornithological exploration, but there are plenty of birders who will wake before dawn anyway, no matter how late they stayed up on New Year’s Eve. They will drive off to some wild place teeming with avian life, all to increase the sunrise odds of seeing a truly amazing first bird. Who wouldn’t love to be matched for a year to the spirit of the snowy owl? What a gift to be guided for 12 months by the soul of a Bohemian waxwing!”

I pause.

Yea, OK, it’s January 5th, it’s well beyond New Year’s Day but there’s no reason I can’t find my bird now. I need my spirit bird Now.

I stop nibbling on my sandwich. Get up. Step out the back door, watch, and listen.

Silence.

I wait a few moments longer, in my short sleeve t-shirt, in 38° F temperatures.

Nothing. 

Perhaps some encouragement. Come on Red! Where’s that Red Cardinal? There are four bird feeders in the backyard. All hang on their poles silently. No breeze. They don’t swing. They are Still.

Nothing.

I step back into the house, pull the sliding door closed, and finish up Margaret’s essay.

No Bird. Wonder what that means.

I reach for the remaining quarter of my sandwich, and look down…

Chicken Sandwich…

What a gift to be guided for 12 months by the soul of a Bohemian waxwing!


Photo: Ostdrossel

Faith…is tensile, and cool, and has no need of words

boyana-petkova-art

In the winter I am writing about, there was much darkness. Darkness of nature, darkness of event, darkness of the spirit. The sprawling darkness of not knowing. We speak of the light of reason. I would speak here of the darkness of the world, and the light of _______. But I don’t know what to call it. Maybe hope. Maybe faith, but not a shaped faith— only, say, a gesture, or a continuum of gestures. But probably it is closer to hope, that is more active, and far messier than faith must be. Faith, as I imagine it, is tensile, and cool, and has no need of words. Hope, I know, is a fighter and a screamer.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Winter Hours” in Upstream: Selected Essays

 


Watercolor: Boyana Petkova (Bulgaria)

Sunday Morning

 

philippe-conquet

Today, at the sacred site of your soul, make peace with your present reflection as you go in search of the body and face you were born with and excavate the many extraordinary faces that have evolved during your many lives…

Embrace the lines that stare back, the parts that sag in the middle or stick out where you think they shouldn’t, the hair that never keeps a curl or never loses it. Invoke the Tibetan poet Saraha’s psalm of praise:

“Here in this body are the sacred rivers; here are the sun and moon as all the pilgrimage places. …I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach, from “Our Pilgrimage Places” in Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self

 


Notes: Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on all Channels. Photo: Philippe Conquet

Walking Cross-Town. With Spirits.

feather-light-weightless

The subway rumbles underground, the earth trembles under my feet. Out of the corner of my eye, a flourish and a rustle. I turn.

Blue waste paper twirls in a whirlwind. It spins upward in the current before landing gently on the concrete in front of the hulking sky scraper.

Odd.

It’s 6 am. A still, windless morning in Midtown. A single piece of wastepaper lifts the Blues, lightness fills the cavity.

I turn my head back to see it stir.

Zeke?

Is that you?

 


Notes:

 

Oh, yes. I feel that.

legs-light-sun-toes-feet

He had said,
‘Sometimes I feel quite distinctly
that what is inside me is not all of me.
There’s something else, sublime, quite indestructible,
some tiny fragment of the universal spirit.
Don’t you feel that?’

~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Cancer Ward


Credits: Quote Source: Memory’s Landscape. Photo:  Miradas (via Mennyfox55)

Sunday Morning: Nothing more than a face in a raindrop.

black and white, raining, rain,

At this moment, there must be more raindrops falling on the surface of the island than there are humans on earth, perhaps more than all the humans who ever lived. I’ve thought of raindrops as tiny and insignificant things, but against the scale of earth itself, they’re scarcely smaller than I am. On what basis, then, can I consider myself more important? Koyukon elders say that each kind of weather, including rain, has its own spirit and consciousness. If this is true, there must be a spirit within every raindrop, as in all else that inhabits the earth. In this sense, we are two equal forms of being who stand in mutual regard. I bend down to look at a crystal droplet hanging from a hemlock needle and know my own image is trapped inside. It’s humbling to think of myself this way. In the broader perspective of earth, I am nothing more than a face in a raindrop.

~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within


Image: freefoto.com

Sunday Morning. Human Spirit. Gratitude.

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You wake up this morning. You may be a bit stiff from your work-out yesterday. Or still recovering from your long work week. But you can and do get up and get on with your morning.

The first thing you have to get used to is total helplessness. You’re dependent on somebody else for everything. If you want your ear scratched, you have to ask. You soon learn that you can’t ask every time the problem arises, or you’d be asking the whole day. And you remember all too vividly the itch that assailed you in the middle of the night before last, the one that wasn’t worth waking somebody up to relieve.

You grab your cup of coffee and your book.  Or the morning paper. You turn the pages.

Another personal loss, for me, is books. The act of writing has been distorted, yes, but not as much as the act of reading, which was always a solitary pleasure. Since somebody else has to turn the pages, the solitude is over. Few works that I want to read are available as audiobooks. The alternative, of my not being able to read at all if there’s mental degeneration, is horrific.

Q: Where do you find an invalid? A: Where you left him. His words. So much truth, so much spirit.

I’ve been immobilized for five years. In addition to losing incalculable personal pleasures, like daily walks with my wife, I also lost a musical career as a jazz and classical guitarist, though I still teach a few advanced students. I published several books of fiction and nonfiction before the disease hit, but my days of roaming the world as a journalist are over. Now I write by dictation. […]

You find yourself, unavoidably, living in the past. Happiness isn’t is, but was. You try not to contemplate the future too much. Nor the future of the person you love.

Read Anthony Weller’s inspirational essay in wsj.com: Paralyzed From the Neck Down.

Find his bio and web page here: AnthonyWeller.com


Photo credit: weheartit.com

Good Morning Grumpy


I can’t say that I execute every day, but I do believe this.  Yes I do.

Good Morning!


Source: swiss-miss

Peace


I have come from so far away…Down the road of my own mistakes…My soul renewed, and my spirit free…I’ll find my peace.

~ Michael McDonald, Peace

Synchronicity 2…

zen, peace, calm, meditation, solitudepeace, zen, calm, solitude, synchronicity


Sources: Polar Bears Rock & Suay Dreams

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