My eye keeps drifting upward. As we sit for breakfast or eat rice and roasted veggies in the early evening, my vision slips often from my husband’s face to the calendar hanging on the wall behind him. There, a Greater Yellowlegs walks at sunrise in the shallow water of a Texas wildlife preserve. Weight held on one thin leg, the other reaches gingerly forward above pink~tinged water.
As I write these words now, I realize I’ve unwittingly transformed this speedy little bird into its distant relative, the Great Blue Heron. It is the heron’s movements, painstakingly slow and deliberate, that I see in my mental video. And I wonder why. Why is my eye repeatedly drawn to this image, and why have I unconsciously attributed to it the movements of an entirely different bird?
Opening to the flow of possible answers, a message comes immediately, though not surprisingly. It is time once more to cultivate the full presence of the heron. After much running around, I am being urged again toward stillness.
I see the heron slowly draw one stick leg from the water, pausing for a few seconds even in this simple gesture. Ever the Zen master, she awaits the return of full concentration before completing the upward movement. She then slowly extends her leg forward and slides it into the water, weight shifting slightly as, with precision, she places her foot on the sandy lake bottom.
This movement carries no angst, no rush. This humble creature accepts, simply and without question, that it will take as long to catch a fish as it will take to catch a fish. She does not cram activity into every waiting space. No, this heron wades through water, crisp air, and each moment in harmony with her surroundings. And she causes not a ripple as she goes.
I would do well to slow my own pace, to move with the precision and care of my heron friend. Yet my movements cannot always be so measured, given this full human life of mine. I can, though, emulate my feathered mentor by cultivating an inner stillness, one from which all my actions would arise. In this way, no matter how quick my movements, they will be in harmony with a greater flow.
I have just returned from a brisk walk around the lake, one punctuated by the bursts of faster speed so beneficial for the human heart and soul. The heron pair who raise their young there have not yet returned from their winter refuge. They were, though, with me in spirit, urging me to full presence and an uncluttered awareness.
And when I sit for dinner tonight, I will let Greater Yellowlegs remind me that, though we each must move according to our nature~~some fast, some slow~~there is a greater Presence that holds us all.
Blessings to all my fine~feathered friends, be you speedy or slow. Namasté