Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a bird

I live near a bird refuge. It's awesome. at any time during the year there are a variety of beautiful birds to be found in the area. Sandhill cranes, swans, herons, doves, canadian geese, woodpeckers, bluejays, wrens, peregrine falcons, hawks, bald eagles, and a whole assortment of winged creatures I don't know the names for. of course there are the typical ducks, seagulls, starlings, magpies and crows but its the more 'exotic' birds that literally stop me in my tracks, or car as is more often the case, and watch.

My favorite is the White Pelican. I fell in love with pelicans when i worked in Pelican Alaska. It had no pelicans. I don't know how the small inlet town received its name. it did have an huge flock of bald eagles. Anyway, I love pelicans. Each year about this time, as they are migrating [it looks like they're going north to me instead of south] they gather in a huge cluster and play in the wind currents. it looks a bit like a funnel of birds. It always surprises me because usually birds fly in a V formation as if pointed in the direction of their destination. Not the pelicans - they play. This funnel of birds does move forward but very slowly. They circle around in perfect unison. in one direction they are brilliant white and when they turn you can see the black on the tips of their wings. it is graceful and beautiful to watch - like a dance. i really do stop and watch. It amazes me how synchronized the birds are and how unhurried they seem. They just enjoy playing in the unseen currents of the wind.

A few days ago I happened upon one of these pelican funnels. It was so captivating to watch their movements that I wished I had the ability to fly. I guess I wasn't the only one feeling envious of their fun. A hawk flew next to them and it kept pace with the slow progress by flying around them. His brown color looked like a splotch of mud compared to the stark white feathers. I wished he would get out of the way. He didn't. He stayed with the flock. Then I wondered - did he wish he could fly like they did? Did he want them to invite him into their fun? Hawks generally fly alone, not in groups. They always seems intense with their piercing eyes, sharp claws and beaks. Was he jealous of those big white birds? In that setting his movements seemed awkward and his color dark. But I have seen hawks fly and they are graceful too. They are swift and purposeful, observant and patient. When the sun hits their wings they beam with gold. Why would a creature like that want to be anything else?

I don't know if the hawk was envious of the pelicans or not. He may have been only a pest. But I learned something from that little episode. When they were side by side, the pelicans out shined the hawk - but only in that moment and only in my perception. The hawk was still an incredible creature and if I hadn't been contrasting it to the pelicans, if I had seen it soaring alone, I would have focused on its beauty.

 Each of has our own kind of beauty and grace. we do things our own way - and that's okay. But sometimes, when we are standing too close to another's form of beauty, we can't see our own and wish we were different. Their movement, color, purpose or whatever seems so much better than our own.

We can't all be pelicans. We have to be what we are. Nature seems so comfortable with itself. Humans are always trying to change things. I'm not sure what it is we are looking for or what we want to be that makes us unsatisfied. Maybe it is because we are spiritual beings and earth isn't really home. Maybe it is a form of distraction from Satan to get us distracted from what's really important. Maybe it is because we're always comparing ourselves to others, as if that is a true measure of how we are doing. We ought to do ourselves a favor and be comfortable with our own form of flight.

1 comment:

Stacy Henrie said...

Great analogy, Becki! This is something I've been working on this year - being okay with being myself.