It was a particularly intense time in my life and I took the sighting of the blue heron—and its visceral affect on my body—as a sign. The impact was great enough that I not only made note of it in my journal, I also included the passage in my book Reclaiming Magdalen:
This bird was incredible. For perhaps three seconds my eyes were riveted on its sleek passage through the air. A slow, steady, yet powerful beat, beat, beat. Legs and feet tucked back in the perfect aerodynamic point. While its long, bomber-gray body moved silently in a solid, straight line of focus and determination. I felt that bird in my bones. Its power and grace shot through me head to toe. “Wow” slipped through my lips as I followed its all-too-brief passage. I hope to see this majestic messenger again. For now, I simply remember and once again feel the gift it bestowed. Thank you, magic bird.
Visitations, if you will, are now a somewhat common occurrence as Magic Bird has taken up residence in a large pine tree a few doors down. Several hundred feet the other direction from my home is the year-round creek; the best restaurant in town from the heron’s perspective.
So my logical mind offers a practical reason as to why I am blessed with so many opportunities to slip into that moment of reverence offered by a sighting. This morning however, as I stood in the backyard, brushing my teeth and appreciating the unseasonable brisk air, another thought popped in as the great bird slid past.
After the rush of gratitude for the early-morning sight, and a silent thank you, it occurred to me that perhaps the timing of our meeting wasn’t a random occurrence. Perhaps the heron is as enamored with me as I am with it. Perhaps the pulse of pleasure that flows through my system extends beyond my physical body, out into the neighborhood itself, prompting not only the flight, but the reason this winged messenger-of-joy took up residence.
The thought that we could both cherish those moments amplified the electric response within my body, causing my heart to open further. It was truly a moment of bliss. . .
Hours later I pondered the synchronicity once again. This time, instead of my mind debating the differences between logic and magic or direct-experience and expanded meaning, it moved into the realm of want vs. need.
If I simply want to see my magic friend, and am thus surprised and tickled when it soars over, that’s okay. However, if I move into us having some type of unspoken relationship, well, then I can easily move into the space of need. The needle of my psyche flies into the red zone. If I need to see the bird to feel good, I’m dangerously close to feeling abandoned if it doesn’t show up. Holy smokes. . . what a mind. . .
To counter-balance all the games of my mind, I move into my heart.
There I find softness, willingness, and a touch of humor. But primarily I find patience and compassion. Sure I can go all mental and strip my life’s experiences down to their bare bones; that’s what the gray matter between my ears does. It’s a reason making machine. However, when it comes to the brief encounters with my magic bird, I’m going to stick with my heart as the core communication device. It simply feels better.