April 13, 2012
So Hum ~ “I Am That”.
I’ve blogged before about life lessons from observing birds, as well as the teaching of So Hum. Here’s another elaboration. The animal kingdom is so very complex, and we add to it’s glorious complexity. Let me share with you my lesson from the week:
I sat in my sun room yesterday, where my chair was about fifteen feet from a tall hedge that borders my backyard. Every year during the spring and fall seasons, this is my favorite place to be, whether meditating, reading, knitting, writing, chatting on the phone, or sometimes napping. Every wall is surrounded by giant windows, and with them open, I hear the leaves ruffling in the breeze, all of the bird songs, squirrel grumbles, the occasional neighbor’s lawn mower or airplane go by overhead. This becomes my observatory, and most likely I’m unknowingly wearing a grin both internally and externally.
While I was in my “observatory” yesterday afternoon, I heard the caw of a Crow that caught me by surprise. I thought, “what a loud caw, he must be close by.” I look up to see this massive velvety black bird flapping right in front of my field of vision. A benefit of my observatory being encased in windows, is that quite often creatures of nature are not aware of my presence in their vicinity. This beautiful Crow was maybe 10 feet from my face. Magnificent! It’s beak was long and pointy, eyes beady and with intent. I understand that birds live relatively long lives, so I immediately felt enraptured in the possibility that this adept creature has flown to areas that only birds of such size and strength could reach. Oh, the things he must have seen….
Much to my delight, he/she stops to perch momentarily on the very top of my hedge, which is about 10-12 feet tall. Nearly the same level of my eyes, and only now about 15 feet away, this majestic birds feathers are reflecting the sun with a silvery glow.
Without much thought, this Crow buries it’s head into the hedge row for a moment, and as he leaped into a full-wing escape, in its strong beak was a pink and gray fuzzy baby bird. At this sight, my own body was flushed with adrenalin, my stomach knotted, mouth gaping open and I instantly had a tear of sadness fall down my cheek. It was devastating to watch.
The mother Robin aggressively flies after the Crow who is clutching her hatchling in it’s deadly beak, chirping loudly and diving her own beak into the Crow in a desperate attempt to retrieve this tiny fuzzy body that she has instinctively created and nurtured. The mother follows this Crow for some time, flying close on the Crow’s tail and nose-diving her body into the much larger sized predator.
She continued to follow, cry, and dove her beak into the Crow all the way back into my backyard where finally the large black bird has perched again. This time in a tree on the other corner of my yard. The mother Robin is still pestering the Crow for her baby back, and I noticed that my perception of this massive bird has changed. I wanted it to go away. “This menace!”, I thought. My heart was still crying inside for this poor mother bird. The baby bird was no longer in the Crow’s beak…I grimaced at the idea that it had a nice, fatty dinner, and then realized that it could have fed the hatchling to its own offspring, somewhere in a nest of her own. I found myself not sure who to love more.
This Crow flew across the yard again, landing in the same position on the side-yard hedge above the Robin’s nest. I instinctively banged my hand on the window-frame to try to startle it and yelled at the bird to “get lost”, only getting my dog riled up, thinking we were being threatened. Even amongst her barking, this Crow didn’t hesitate to reach back into the same nest, stealing yet another baby bird and off it flew again, with mama-bird Robin hot on her tail again (literally).
I watched, and waited, I prayed, and it was an hour before the mother Robin came back to the nest. This time with father Robin by her side. They fluttered a moment above the nest, communicating in their bird chirps, and father flew to another tree across the yard. Mama bird went back into her nest. I’m unsure if she has more babies in there, if she is mourning her loss, or if she doesn’t quite know what to do with herself and she just continues through the motions of what she’s been doing for weeks now…caring for her nest.
My “observatory” experience had taught me up-close lessons about the circle of life, letting go of my own perception, and how very grateful I am to be in this world presently in the physical form of a human being. We are reminded by the aggressiveness of our fellow animal creatures that sometimes we go through hardships, sometimes we suffer, but we can be grateful when we don’t have to be on constant watch for a predator to whisk us away. Even more magical, as human beings, we have the capacity to love one another even more. I no longer question who to love more. I still love the Crow. I love the Robin family. I am the Crow. I am the Robin family. So Hum. I am that. Made of love, with a physical vessel wrapped around it.
You too, are that. Magnificence. So Hum.