For the Birds (Retreating into Silence, post 5 of 10)
For many of our sits, the windows are open and sounds from the farm drift up to my ears. Chickens clucking, birds singing, goats “mehhhing.” Sounds from nature, too. On the first couple of days, steady rain, wind. All of these natural sounds wrap my being up like a warm shawl, healing, soothing, and energizing all at once. The birds sing, there is hope. The chickens cluck, I’m reminded where I am…. that I am here.
“This damn bird, it wouldn’t stop. And then the chickens! I wanted someone to close the window.” We were in another group share. Inwardly, I chuckled. How differently two people can react to the same stimuli. One is not right; the other wrong. Simply a difference in perspective. Whatever is going on for one gives meaning to a moment, shapes our experiences.
During a break from sits earlier in the day, I explored the hiking trails on the property. The White Dot trail beckoned, and I was delighted to move my legs, breathe the air, and journey around the farm on these tree-lined paths. Late October, the leaves were brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Many leaves had recently fallen, and the trails were blanketed by these vibrant hues. An autumn-colored quilt woven by Mother Nature. One of the bright red leaves on the path moved. Not a leaf. A salamander type creature, of the same color. It ducked playfully under leaves and out of harm’s way from my hiking boots. I tread lightly. Now that I knew I wasn’t quite alone, I kept my eyes trained for more of these little critters. And more I soon saw. Maybe 3 or 4 of them in total. I looped back around and returned to the Yoga Tower feeling reinvigorated.
“… And so then I set out on the White Dot trail — I had expected my walk to be meditative. But there were so many roots, branches, and uneven terrains, and slippery leaves! I hated it.” Someone else was sharing this. Hated the White Dot trail? The very same trail that foliage-colored lizard like things called home? I was stunned. Again, a shared experience, spun into meaning unique to each mind.
I wondered what I might say at one point that gives someone else these same insights. Whose treasure will I discard as trash?
I feel a swell of compassion for those around me, with grievances large and small. My heart expands with love for humanity… and contracts with frustration for the individuals comprising it. And that is my practice.