I’ve always been a bird person and find myself transfixed whenever I stop to watch them. It could be an exotic toucan swooshing about the rain forest, a pink flamingo lazing in a lagoon, or just my local yard bird who likes to dive bomb my cat; the effect is the same, I’m left gob smacked by their beauty. Birds seem to live with such purpose, as God intended, which is maybe their secret sauce.
My all time favorite is the pelican, which around here run brown. There’s just something about this goofy, large billed bird with its floppy neck that’s endearing, especially when taking flight. When in flocks, pelicans fly in absolute synchronized perfection, floating just inches above the waves, each one anticipating and mirroring the moves of its partner. To see such large and otherwise awkward looking creatures perform with such grace takes your breath away. At least it does mine.
For a bird to survive, it must have mastered the wind. It doesn’t fight it or wish it away; it harnesses its energy to propel them along, accepting that where the wind sends them is where they are meant to go. A bird in motion like this seems to glide effortlessly and looks very content in its purpose. I thought about this while walking on the beach a day before a big storm was due to hit. No rain had come yet but the winds were gusty and you could see clouds being pushed in to a deepening dark gray mass up ahead. Many birds flew by and all of them were headed towards the storm, which I thought odd at first. Of course it wasn’t strange at all to the birds. The wind was headed that way so that’s the way they went. They didn’t seem bothered by the pending doom they were flying in to, nor panicked and trying to find a different route. They were just going with the flow and seemed to be having a good bit of fun while doing it, letting the currents soar them up and down.
As the “duh” light bulb went off in my head I realized how much more difficult I make my life sometimes by fighting my own winds or denying they exist. If I’m in a situation I don’t particularly like, maybe dealing with a nightmare client or my housing situation which needs serious attention, my first instinct is to avoid thinking about it and hope things will just resolve themselves.
Or, I stew in negativity and make myself miserable wishing for a different reality; pushing hard against it instead of just accepting the situation and getting real about what needs to be done. Neither of these options, denial or defiance, are optimal because they limit my choices. When the brewing storm finally hits I’ll be in reactive mode and left flailing about in a highly charged emotional situation.
The better path would be to take that energy and use it like the birds do. Be real about the moment and what lays ahead and glide forward with purposeful grace, even if it means going directly in to the mess. Decisions can be made and emotions reckoned with that will make that moment less painful and perhaps open up new and better paths. And maybe, just maybe, have a little fun while doing it!
Yes, I envy the birds.