I am back at work, musing at my desk after an extended long weekend away. It is mid May, and the weather seems to be mimicking the world. I am unsure if it is hot or cold, rainy or clear, sunny or cloudy. I spent the weekend with the promise of learning new skills to gently guide me through the next chapters of my life, lessons punctuated by enjoying the glorious vistas of the California desert, the ocean and the grasses weaving through a Malibu canyon. I spent the last lingering hours of this cherished vacation surrounded by friends, eating delicious food and enjoying engaged and witty conversations. Then, just before retiring for the night, I flipped past the news and discovered that scores of people were dead, blown up after innocently trying to leave a concert in Manchester.
I held my breath all morning, praying that the bomber would prove not to be Muslim (dammit!), praying there would be no reason to fan the already out of control flames of phobia and confusion. I realize I have been holding my breath since the US elections, alternately trying to shield myself from an onslaught of sexist, racist, homophobic outpouring that His supporters seem to feel no longer needs to be bridled, and my own heightened (hyper) sensitivity to sexist threats to my own person, be they real or imagined. All the hard won rights of the eras past now seem under threat.
And so many idols dead now. Disease. Depression. Drugs. It is hard to brook, and I crave answers to unanswerable questions. The “why?” that cannot be unlocked.
One of the messages that my weekend tutor imparted that I need to learn to slow down. I was two weeks late at birth, and have been running ever since. I think in these days of over stimulation and connectivity and instant messaging and mis-messaging pretty much everyone needs to learn to slow down. It won’t be easy for me I know, but the necessity becomes clearer by the minute.
Right outside my window , about 100 yards away, there is a church steeple. A few months ago I noticed a cast of hawks have been holding court there, no doubt to take advantage of the clear view of the surrounding area that would make up their hunting ground. I have set up a telescope to watch them. So far I have seen three separate birds who take turns on the roost; a large one I suspect is the male, a smaller female and a third with a tawny, almost white cap. There are days on end when they do not appear and others when one or other of them take up a near constant presence. These beautiful creatures do not keep to my calendar, and I have learned to treat their presence as gift in my day, a wild yet calming balm to the turbulence of the world.
Last week I say one fly by with dinner in hand, the first time I had seen one after a hunt. Today for the first time I saw two on the perch. I am accepting this remarkable sight as a gentle reminder that life is not something to be controlled, and though there is madness in the world there is splendor as well. Patience, calm, beauty. All things I need to learn to appreciate. And today, with two glorious raptors a mere glance away, is when I intend to start that lesson.