Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: June 14, 2004

evening

And so the day ends with a recovery of heart and soul. I wandered outside today and found myself staring off into the distance, fully content to sit upon a bench on the deck and watch the sights of birds flying around, and listen to their wonderful voice. Two coyotes made their way down the street this evening, and the ravens went to and from from their nest all day.

Moths are out, many, many moths. Coming in through the cracks of the window, flailing about. For a month or two the moths will be swarming. Fortunately the yellowjackets are not, well placed traps have kept the nests away. Last year it was impossible to sit outside.

This was a day of peace, of activity, of recovery. I sat and stared, I stood and stared, I paddled and stared. All the while recovering that internal drive to pray, letting my body relax and retune.

Only in keeping this up will I progress. Only in keeping myself connected to the source will I find freedom.

A good reminder, and a fine day of restoration.

morning

When I open the door to my bedroom I look out over the forest, through the large window which makes up the south wall of the living room.

The moon passes by through this view, as does the sun and many other stars. I see birds and squirrels, and once, in late October saw a burst of flame on the distant ridge, the only actual fire I saw during the burning of southern California.

Most of the pine trees are gone now, the browns and oranges of the pseudo-Autumn replaced by the bolder greens of oaks and cedars and firs. The pines turned brown, but would never again turn back, their autumn was final. Not all the pines are gone, however. Three tall dead pines take up part of the view when I look out my bedroom door. In one, near the very top, is a special treat, a rare sight for even intrepid explorers.

A raven nest.

Our two neighborhood ravens built a nest high in that dead tree, bringing life where only death had reigned. They built their nest over the weeks, and now tend it, landing in the branches, hopping into its big bowl. The nest is higher still than where I stand, and I cannot see if the nest has fledlings yet, or how big they are. I can see more of the nest than before however.

Last week, men came chopping down trees. They stripped the branches off this same dead pine, until they got to the very top. At the branches which held the raven nest they stopped, leaving the pine looking like a palm.

According to the Migratory Treaty Bird Act of 1918 all migratory birds and their parts (including eggs, nests, and feathers) are fully protected. Though they stay year round in these parts ravens are considered migratory, and so are protected. The man with the chainsaw must have known this, to chop off the branches with a raven nest in them is a violation of federal law.

The ravens continue to fly around, swooping over the house and in the valleys around.

They also are suspected of building friendships with some of the locals. The story is being told of these ravens herding away a stalking coyote, harassing him as he follows a dog being walked, chasing him up the hill, away from the resident.

Ravens are indeed curious birds.

It is good for my soul to ponder such things, and to spend time in prayer upon waking up, and spend time outside exercising my mind and body.

Rather than fitting in the spiritual pursuits to the gaps in my real tasks, I am changing to fit my tasks within my spiritual pursuits. It is a profound shift in priority which bodes well for my inner being.

Peace reigns, and I am being called back to my first loves, so I heed the call, let myself be carried along the right current, and flee from the morass which lines the side.

Only in this way will I get to the end, no matter what else comes along to excite or discourage me during the journey.

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