Posted by: Nancy | August 2, 2015

Summer Zen Moment

IMG_2357The afternoon appointment was cancelled and rescheduled. An open spot appeared on my mid-week calendar.

Summer in full glory, beckoning. I closed the computer and left the smartphone on my desk to go outside into the back yard. I wanted a new full focus, if even for a few minutes, unpolluted by my guilt and undisturbed by my devices — I know I should be working; I could be researching, planning, targeting, analyzing, being productive.

Outside won.

I sat, stretched, and didn’t move, impersonating my favorite tree in the back yard. It is serene and stable, unmoving yet barely swaying, like the act of breathing. I am calm. Watchful.

Reward comes in a first small jump of action, a blur of movement from an invisible spot on the trunk to a branch. Then another, and another. Suddenly attuned, I saw the tree was alive with small finches flitting methodically from cone to cone, tiny beaks reaching into cones crevasses.

I’d already noted the common mourning dove sitting on a lone branch. But I had not seen the others. I sharpened my focus and saw what I was missing — a tree full of life.

There was a small flicker, a black and white spotted downy woodpecker with tiny red hat, bobbing up the trunk. I saw it disturb a butterfly that had been invisible and motionless until it softly fluttered away. A screeching blue jay whirled through and left in a harrumph. I watched a grey squirrel nearly camouflaged as it stretched lazily on a branch. A raft of finches and sparrows flew a chirpy and choppy circuit from feeder to birdbath to various hiding spots in bushes and branches.

IMG_2361Unmoving, focused, there is even more. I become aware of the melody of cicadas, the changing pitch, the rise and fall no longer just a background hum. The wind is gentle, caressing the leaves each in its own way — the bristles of needles bounce, the willow sways, the pin oak leaves shimmy and the walnut branches slide vertically creating a shadow mosaic below. A chipmunk with racing stripes zips by.

I’m entranced and can’t stop watching the tree. Another mourning dove arrives and pesters the first, attempting to mount. The chase is on, they jump from branch to branch until first dove moves to another tree, outside my gaze.

Suddenly a flurry. A big muscular sharp-shinned hawk zooms from nowhere to the pin oak to the pine, pauses for just a moment then takes off, soon is soaring and wheeling in the endless blue above. Calm returns, it feels like the smaller birds have sighed in relief as they resume their patterns.

A tiny burst of energy appears, little more than a punctuation mark in a poem. It is a ruby-throated hummingbird, a sharp needle beak on a teardrop body zigging between the bristles. Until it stops. It rests. I hold my breath, and time stands still for a moment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: