Discover more from Ordinary Collisions: Intersections of Nature & Culture
when views of birds and dramas at the office collide
I was finishing up a meeting, one of those semi-frustrating ones when people ask hard, yet important, questions and leadership gives vague or overly positive answers, when a screech pulled my attention from scowling at my computer screen. The screecher was a great blue heron, of which we have many out on the little lake out back. Stillness coats the landscape today like a skin of silk, water smooth as glass, so when the heron took flight mid-screech, it was like watching two of the great birds soar into the gray sky—one above and one below, mirroring every movement. And then suddenly there were actually two herons, another (presumably the one being screeched AT) taking flight just minutes after the first. They soared together for a time, flying low over the glassy water before rising and disappearing out of my sightlines into the sky.
When I turned back toward my computer, I wasn’t scowling anymore, and for that, I was thankful. A bit, even if very brief, time with my attention on wild things, was enough today to shift my energy from moderately irritated to, even if not “blissfully grateful,” to at least joyful for the moment. And being joyful for a moment creates enough momentum to look for the next bit of joy, and the next, and so on. Even on days that include irritating meetings and computer screens. Wildness has a way of reminding me what truly matters.
What helps you shift from frustrated to curious? Or from irritated to thankful? From despairing to holding a willingness to leave at least a little room for hope? So often it’s the seemingly insignificant, usually small, things that go unnoticed when I let technology or the dire state of the world dictate how I navigate my days. Today I appreciated the heron’s screetch. Maybe tomorrow it will be a snail on the path, or a ripe strawberry. Cold water on bare skin as rain falls after a stretch of dry days. The sun rising over swaying prairie. The kiss of warm breeze or the way sunflowers follow their namesake with daily nods to our shared life-force.
In my latest book, Slouching Toward Radiance, there’s a poem about the edge of the prairie, a place where one might stand to experience the confluence of things that can happen when the forces of pushing to the edge and accepting what is collide. Maybe it’s some version of peace. I’ll leave you with it and invite you to continue to discern what helps you keep your energy where it can do good.
Slouching Toward Radiance is available anywhere books are sold, or directly from Homebound Publications.