Foggy Hawk Tawk

Hawk IMG_3544

I thought I was going to the springs. The manatees are usually lolling about in large numbers in January and I love to capture their grace on film. But it was foggy, and I love fog, so I set out on foot through my neighborhood instead.

There’s an area of green space on my way to the duck pond that the deer sometimes frequent. It was too late for that, but the fog that hovered over the tiny creek that bends around a stand of palms looked mystical and poetic. I could imagine whole stories springing from that one little scene.

As I approached the duck pond it was close to deserted. A pair of mallards and a single snowy egret had it all to themselves. Over time a few more ducks, a loon and a red-billed black bird with the most enormous yellow feet showed up.

Pretty standard fare made a little more magical with the fog. I snapped a couple of photos then began to meander back.

“It would be so great to see a hawk” I thought. Just then, seriously, just then, I notice something swoop from one tree to another. It’s a hawk.

Hawks and I have a thing. They show up when I ask them to and even when I don’t. At times the appear because I need them to, but didn’t know I did. They will pose for me as long as I don’t impede their mealtime efforts.

Today I was gifted two. I think they were mother and child because they perched briefly together on the same branch and seldom do birds of prey do that unless there is a lesson in progress.

As I slowly tiptoed around underneath them to get the sun at my back, the mom flew a short distance away. She chose the top of the tennis court fence. The hawklet remained on the branch to pose for me.

The mother began to squawk, shortly after I watched the little one perk up and begin to respond. No one moved, including me, although I kept shooting away. There’s nothing quite so powerful as the call of a bird right in front of you.

Once they finished their conversation I attempted to get closer to mom. I was able to capture her in mid-sentence once or twice before the pair of mallards let out a huge quack right behind me sending mom away.

I turned my attention back to the hawks in time to see mom just clear the top of the branch where her young one had stayed perched, as if to say, “Come on, let’s go.” Together they flew off to continue the lesson with less human involvement.

As I walked home I could hear them across the street, hidden skillfully in a large stand of trees. I smiled in their direction, thanking them for sharing their time with me and delivering the message my soul was longing to hear.

According to Native American medicine, hawk is the Messenger. It is the big picture seer. I have always been a big picture person, preferring to work backwards from the grand vision to fill in the details.  When I am feeling churlish or agitated it is usually because I have lived too long with the minutia. I am mired in bits and pieces that often seem unrelated and messy. Hawk is a reminder to let the details go for a while and look up. The sky is the ultimate big picture, open and full of possibilities. And every now then I get lucky and a hawk soars through it.

21 Day Challenge – Day 16 – Catch of the Day

trees 2 IMG_1991This 21 Day Challenge is revealing to me my non-negotiables. Those things that I will not only fit in, but make a priority.

At the beginning of these 21 days I was consumed with my task list, at the expense of almost everything else. It was a good lesson. All the other priorities that previously took precedence over me – work, cleaning, grocery shopping – still got done. I managed to fit them in around the new non-negotiables.

It had to happen that way. I could not have reorganized my priorities with pen and paper, I had to live them. I had to take this concept from my head into my body. There was no other way.

While at the gym today I recognized that this challenge, the yoga and the gym especially, is for my mind and my spirit way more than it is for my body. My body is both the problem and the solution.

I have come to see the body as something like a net. Little things that may be annoying or wonderful pass through the net every day. We may notice them, but we can easily let them go and allow them to flow right through us. The bigger things get caught. The argument with a loved one, an illness in the family, a lost job or a job with which we are completely misaligned. The heavy things stick. We have to acknowledge them and break them down into little pieces that can pass through.

But that doesn’t always happen.

These bigger things are stressors, they pull on the ropes, dragging us down. They web up the net making it more and more difficult for even the little things to pass through, so now a hangnail or burnt toast is a stressor.

Some ice cream or wine will put a nice coat on it, softening it so momentarily it takes on a different shape, tricking us into believing we have freed the stress from the net. But we haven’t.

It is clogged, we are heavy – sometimes literally, sometimes energetically – but it feels the same. We drag, we sit too long, wonder too much at how to fix it or change it. We ignore it, maybe it’s not that bad.

If we’re really lucky, or maybe secretly smart, we take a yoga class. Or we go for a walk. Or we have to run to catch up to someone. And something shifts. We feel it now, the weight of the stress, every single molecule glomming up the net, hanging like seaweed and noodles, stuck like wet bread coated with grease.

We know now we did this. Simultaneously we know we can undo it. There’s another class, another walk and pieces of stress begin to dry up and drop off. We leave a trail of energetic waste behind us on each step we consciously take.

For a moment we consider what exactly all this is. What events or people caused this? Then we know it does not matter. Because we are the common denominator. We caused this. We allowed this. This was all accumulated with our permission.

So now we have choices. We can be the net clear of debris for all situations to pass through without reaction, without holding on, or we can continue to collect stories to prove our point and hold us back.

Because it is the mind that got us into this trouble, it is best to leave the mind out of the solution. Get into the body. Move. As we move deliberately with intention there is a lightness of spirit that returns. The net begins to clear.

More tension falls away. Maybe we cry in our yoga class. We don’t know why, nothing is sad. Stored emotions are the detritus that clings to our energy field bogging it down and as we begin to move, we release. It may happen during a run or during a commercial for coffee. It’s all okay. It’s all necessary. We cannot think our way out of this.

Take it to the body. The body is the tool to relax the mind and energize the spirit. What an amazing combination. Relaxed energy.

It is from here we can begin to see clearly.

[Photo: Can’t see the forest for the trees.]