Early morning visit

Early this morning…sitting by an open window in the living room…everything outside was shrouded in dense fog. I was being kept company by the sounds of a solemn procession making its way overhead…the subdued and muffled whining and whirring of airplanes as they carefully made their approach into the Queen City to the north. Hundreds of people passing unsuspectingly over the silence and stillness below them.

As I quietly read my book, another procession took place right outside my window. A steady stream of ruby-throated hummingbirds made their way to the feeder that’s hanging out on the porch. When one finished topping off its tanks on the sweet red nectar…another arrived to take its place. While reading, I didn’t even have to look up to know they had  arrived. I could sense their presence just by the humming of their speedy wings…a sound more akin to that of a very large bumble bee.

The feeder has three access ports, disguised as tiny, yellow five-petalled flowers. But, they all draw from the same reservoir that holds the red, sugary substance that the hummers love so much. So, I find it amusing that when each bird visits the feeder, they have to visit each of the three flowers in succession. Since I happened to be reading this morning about different spiritual paths, the birds’ behavior at the feeder seemed an apt metaphor for our own perception that, although we may see our own path as distinctly different from that of others, there is at the heart of each, an underlying unity and commonality.

At one point…taking a break from my reading…I looked out at the feeder, and was met with a very strange sight, something I’d not seen before. There was a solitary hummingbird perched atop the metal support from which the feeder was suspended. Its wings were completely still…its head and long beak moving from side to side in apparent nervousness. Slowly getting up to take a look outside, I noticed a flash of reddish-brown amongst the grasses and shrubs. There was a very tiny deer nibbling on some leafy greens. It was a fawn still speckled with spots…and seemingly all legs. Then I noticed two more deer…yearlings from the look of them. Out of the corner of my eye I saw still more movement by the edge of the woods. It was a mature doe standing guard…mother keeping an eye on the youngsters. The yearlings grazed on grass and foliage for a good twenty minutes. While its older siblings were eating, the little fawn leaped and pranced about, immensely enjoying itself on this fine misty Carolina morning. After a while…at Mom’s beckoning…they all darted off into the woods…but leaving me with a joyful sense of the sheer exhuberance of life…and gratitude for this brief early morning visit.


Singing ourselves awake

The signature of this summer has to be the song of the Indigo Bunting. Bunting summer. Early this morning, I sat in the darkness before dawn…cup of coffee in hand…in a deep silence broken only by the murmuring of crickets in constant prayer. The world about me was still veiled from the tyranny of beauty that would soon enthrall the senses. As if testing the waters of the new day, a bunting broke the stillness with a single note…then, a tentative half-turned phrase. He seemed to be recollecting himself…remembering how to carry a tune after surviving through the long night…perhaps, singing himself awake. When he finally burst forth into full song, I could hear other buntings off in the distance joining in…each waking up to the world.

It was a beautiful moment that led me to thinking. Maybe that’s what we’re doing in this life…rousing from a deep sleep…slowly coming to our senses…and singing ourselves awake.