Wednesday, February 20, 2019

We're All Waiting

"Even on the road to hell, flowers can make you smile."
Deng Ming-Dao

While writing my morning pages today, I was distracted by a resounding chorus of chirping birds. In my backyard I found hundreds of red-breasted robins. We don't have robins in Austin, Texas. Growing up in Austin, Minnesota, they were the only birds I ever saw.

But right in my backyard, hundreds flitted from tree to tree, their voices drowning out the passing cars. Their activity prematurely dislodging the live oak leaves still priming the branches for their replacement's arrival next month. Like a rain of leaves.

I got out my camera and went out in my pajamas, barefoot. The patio was cold. I wanted to be quick, but my camera wouldn't work. The battery was dead. Apropos to the season. Dead, like everything else this time of year. February. The dog days of winter.

I plugged in my battery and paced the floor. Perhaps like the birds fluttering from branch to branch, impatient for the weather to warm; their migration back up north to continue. The season to change.

My morning pages of late have documented the gloomy weather.

Gray day.
Rain day.
Windy, cold day.
A slight streak of sunlight. Hope?
Absent sun.
Brown -- the world is brown. Will the world always be brown now? No hope?

My daily mediation book this year is 365 Tao by Den Min-Dao. Each morning I read a page. This day had the quote from above. Appropriately placed for February, I'd say. Would seem I'm not the only one tired of the dormancy of winter.

It could be worse. I could still live up North where I'd also mention the gray skies. Most days I'd say white instead of brown. New snow. Old snow. The old snow always worse because it would have the dirty splashes of vehicle spill turning the snow banks a dull gray or black. Sticks and errant debris crusted into the once pristine white, now its own ugly.

But even in the South, patience is required. All kinds of patience that is often hard to muster. Especially on days when something new arrives right outside my window.

My pacing prompted me to grab my cell phone and I did get this photo. A little cropping blew it up, but it disappointed me. I wanted to get that clearer, better shot, with my zoom lens. My feet chilled on the cement, I listened to the collective chirping and watched the birds flutter from branch to branch, as if they were as anxious as me waiting for that better shot. At flight. The robins, waiting to stretch their wings and fly for miles, rather than from yard to yard on a slowed trek of waiting for warmth.

My daily Tao today also says "We should take time to appreciate beauty in the midst of temporality." Only after posting this photo here, do I notice the blue sky behind. The beautiful orange breast. The Live Oak tree behind that doesn't drop its leaves until another is present. That if the crepe myrtle were not dormant  and free of green, I would not see this beautiful bird of my youth.

My camera battery is now charged, but the robins have left. I can hear them far off, a block or so away. Patiently working their way north.

The sun is out today. The weather report says we won't see it tomorrow. This is my "temporality moment." Perhaps a visit to a greenhouse is in order. The flowers to come certain to make me smile.


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