It’s not unusual, when meeting a new acquaintance who is discovering that I speak professionally, for them to respond, “you must fly a lot.” I simply smile and answer, yes. Yet, technically, I don’t fly at all … I ride a lot. Birds fly. I don’t. I just wish I could. Maybe you do too.
I’ve always found birds fascinating. Growing up, my cousins had pet birds. Those birds seemed tiny yet bigger than life with their bold colors. I’ve never been one to intentionally go out to formally “bird watch.” I’ve known people who do. It’s fascinating how they can so patiently watch and then immediately name the most unique varieties of the smallest to largest of these wonderful creatures.
These bird-watchers are like radars spotting birds through binoculars or with their naked eyes. Personally, I don’t find birds. They find me. And when they do …
I notice them. Every. Single. Time.
Some of these experiences are more pronounced than others. Yet, each time, there is always some level of connection. I don’t think much about what kind of bird they are. I just notice them as one individual bird … whether they notice me or not. We usually seem to share the space together well.
A decade of summers ago, that simply wasn’t the case. We didn’t seem to share the space together very well at all. Nor did he seem to care that I had legal documents to prove that I “owned” the land our home was built on! His family nest was somewhere nearby, and he made it clear that he was going to aggressively protect it from me … whether he needed to or not.
I normally love cutting the grass. Not that summer! This bird would start dive-bombing about 5 minutes into the cut. He never actually attacked but had the amazing ability to do precision high-speed fly-bys within an inch of my right eye. Not once. Not twice. Usually about 20 times per cutting. It was seriously unnerving. Every. Single. Time. It wasn’t just me. Throughout the summer I would look out our back-kitchen bay window and see my neighbor panic as he was getting dive-bombed while cutting his grass.
I’ll admit … that was hilarious to watch!
That bird and I never developed a sense of connection. If only he could’ve known, I meant no harm to him or his family nest. That would have saved him a lot of time and energy. It would have saved my nerves a lot too!
Two weeks ago, I attended a one-day silent retreat at the beautiful Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. At a silent-retreat, you get to notice a lot of things. And there were a lot of birds to be noticed. Not one of them seemed to be concerned about me. Yet, the one I noticed most, seemed to be concerned about himself.
Walking along the nearby sidewalk, I came upon him and hoped he wouldn’t fly away. In my silence, I just wanted to spend some time noticing him. Connecting. He didn’t seem concerned with me at all. He was anxiously occupied with the reflection of himself in the window just inches away from where he fidgeted.
I watched him repeatedly fly full on into that window to attack his own reflection. I stood there silently sad. How could I not? As I watched him spending his time attacking his very own image, I was fully aware …
He had the opportunity to spend his day flying!
As I slowly walked away in silence, I couldn’t help but hear his repeated thud against the window. And as the day continued, I couldn’t help but hear the silence within me ask … how often do we spend our time fighting ourselves when we could better be spending our time flying?
We can spend an awful lot of time fighting those who mean us no harm at all … or spend all of our time fighting our own reflection. And, today, many use social media to do it publicly. What’s really sad is that social media was created just like most any other thing…
With the opportunity to fly.
We might be well-served to venture-out on a stroll this summer and take notice of a bird in full-flight. As you stand there, fly with them. I have no doubt, if you stand there long enough, you will discover something you could move from fight to flight.
As you take flight, I hope you enjoy a wonderful summer breeze!
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts below…