Peace and the Birds You Will Find

2016_07_10_999_35
Hummingbird perched on a branch. Photo by Tripti Suwal.

When you find yourself in a wood, alone; and you spot a bird of interest within plain sight, your thoughts will cease and your focus will be attuned to the image of the bird. Not only the image, but the movements and the sounds and its surroundings will be regarded with great sensitivity. Your breathing will become slow and calming, disrupting little of the natural world that surrounds you. Your dependence on your senses heightens–seeing, hearing, and the feeling of air moving between the trees. It is a moment that belongs solely to you, the bird, and these woods. A shared moment unto yourself and the natural world, a bit of peace hidden in the stillness.  

Then the bird will fly off to some unknown spot, just beyond the reach of your eyes. Its song will be the only identifiable mark that lets you know it is still there with you. So you glance in that direction, careful to spot any movements amid the foliage. You listen, intently, considering a move forward toward the bird observed, or perhaps moving on. You will hear the bird make its calls and you will hear other things between the leaves of the trees. Again, a bit of peace hidden in the melody.

After a time, the bird’s song will cease and you will be left alone in a wood, feet firmly planted on soil trod from time to time by passersby in day and foxes at night. The air will move by you too as it slaloms between the trees. If it is dusk in the summertime you will surely hear the croaking frogs. If it is winter, the stillness will be louder than the falling snow. Take heed to find yourself in this moment and acknowledge the chance meeting you had with the bird observed.