stormbird

It was windy at the lake yesterday. I sat watching a bird dive beneath the waves. She stayed below for so long it made me fear for her. But she resurfaced, sometimes far away from where she vanished. I wondered what she found below. Was the bird that dived the same bird that emerged after that journey beneath? I knew I was afraid of losing myself by diving below, by going deep. That I would no longer be me. Yet she had no fear. She emerged renewed. She appeared the same and yet it seemed she had changed. Could she teach me to dive? Do I want to learn?

Another, a seagull, hovered above. Despite the constant driving wind he moved steadily forwards. I marveled as he progressed despite the insistence of the elements that he retreat. As I observed I began to see that he expended no effort, didn’t fight it, he wasn’t trying, he simply, patiently met it head on. Not once did he flap his wings, but constant, subtle adjustments to his body, his shape, his attitude, somehow allowed him to ride the howling air slowly towards his goal. It made no sense to my mind. Surely he had no choice in his direction. He was so small, the world so big.

Then, watching him, I suddenly understood that only from my limited perspective did the world appear to be an impediment to his success, to his progress. It appeared to me as though all the forces of nature were resisting him and yet he saw that not. Effortlessly he harnessed the unstoppable power that appeared to be against him, gently accepting it, receiving it to glide ever higher, ever forward. He had learned to join with the world, not resist it. He didn’t resist the wind and so it didn’t resist him but lifted him instead. He had learned to be one with it, not to fight and separate himself from it. He BECAME it and so was free within it. He had mastered it by mastering himself.

I thought “if he can do this, then so can I”. I can’t change my body, I have no feathers but I can change my mind, give it wings. I can allow my mind to adjust, not resist. To shift, not to fight. To encompass, not reject. To confront the windstorm of life head on with the surety that its seemingly uncontrollable power, correctly perceived, could be transformed from the obstacle to my happiness to become the very force that propelled me towards joy, towards peace. I could confront my fear, confront myself. Learn to dive deep into it. He had no fear of falling or failing. Only his single-minded desire for the destination. With his eye on the prize everything he encountered was translated into a means to attain it, to become it. Could he teach me to fly? Do I want to learn?