Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taking Flight

This morning I set out for a run, choosing the trail behind my apartment which weaves through rolling fields, past a pond, over a brook and by some pine woods. I hadn't been running in a few days and my lungs felt it,  and my legs were a little shaky, but I ventured on, determined to add five miles to my running tally. As I passed the pond a Great Blue Heron took flight, he was invisible to my eyes until he made his move. It jarred me from my meditation. Herons transition between water, land and air, and although it appears that their bodies may be heavy as they take off, once they are airborne, their flight is smooth. It occurred to me that over the last few months I have been considering myself to be in a transition period, graduating from college, and waiting for the next adventure to begin, that new job or writing project. I have been focusing on getting someplace, finding that source of income, making a contribution to society. When that didn't happen this summer, my first instinct was to run away, to start over in a new place, because maybe just maybe I would actually get somewhere then. But today as my lungs reminded me to stay present and the heron reminded me to pay attention, I realized that I haven't been in a transitional limbo. This is a necessary part of life. Just as winter isn't the transitional period between autumn and spring, the last few months haven't been the transition between school and employment. Winter is essential. Without it there would be no opportunity for new life to sprout. Life is cyclical, each day is necessary, not just another 24 hours to get through in order to get to the good stuff. As westerners I think we value the active life, the workaholism, the doing doing doing. Meditation and quiet seem unnecessary in the scheme of life, because nothing gets done. But watch a heron as it stands completely still in the water. In that stillness is action, without it the fish would never be spied. When the time comes I will be called to action just as the heron will move to spear its prey, but just for today this stillness, this so called "transition" period is exactly what I need to be experiencing. When I ran this morning, what mattered wasn't my starting point (my house,) or my ending point (my house,) but the grass, the mud, the cattails and heron between the two points. That is the journey, that is the point.

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