It’s well before 8 Saturday morning, the eve of the Winter Solstice, as I set out for the waterfront, dogs trotting, impatient, beside me. The fog hovers over the puddled pavement.
A mere five minute walk to the marina, a grassy promenade grazing the bay near the houseboats and anchor outs. A well guarded perch for local birdwatchers on the lookout for sightings of Slaty-backed gulls, Belted Kingfishers, Spotted sandpipers, Bufflehead ducks; home to the usual suspects – surf scooters, cormorants, terns, skimmers, egrets, on occasion a pelican.
This morning, though, at least a hundred pelicans convene along the shore, conversing in their characteristic shrill and hoarse calls.
It is just us. The birds, the dogs and I.
Releasing my pets, I walk deep into the mist. Saturated in the surroundings.
I linger, at the pier’s end, losing all awareness of unleashed dogs, of time, of any salient schedule. I smooch, still and silent, with the music of the moment.
And then, perhaps ten minutes elapse, I consciously reach for my camera. Leaning into the crisscrossed steel fence blocking access to the sailboat slips, I tease the lens through an aperture, focusing on just one magnificent bird moored before me.
I linger and, in doing so, find temporary furlough from the endlessness of clinging, from the relentless grasp of seared patterns of thinking, acting and reacting so imperfectly in the world, now behind me.
I am swallowed into the scents, the sounds, the frothy fog, the tone, the texture. I taste herring fresh in my mouth. My feathers settle, resting soft against my body. A lengthening interval between each breath. I bend my beak to glimpse my smooth reflection, soft in the bay.
In my quest for balance, I stand on one foot, lift and roll my wings, lengthen my neck to the right, to the left.
And then I lift. In a sequence of micro alignments invisible to the observer yet burned throughout millennia into my DNA, I fly. Without hesitation. Never looking back. Samadhi.
I wake to the blissful sounds of dogs at play.
Back home, I am acutely aware of a grouping of three pink peonies. I notice that each one is in a different phase of awakening. And I wonder, had I not lingered earlier, would I have been aware, atuned to the miracles, the nuances of life? To observe. To marvel. To wonder why.