A scene from a Hitchcock movie rushed before my eyes as I saw a half dozen birds fly toward me while stuck in traffic this afternoon.
The birds, common sparrows, glided from a telephone wire some 50 feet above and several lanes of traffic across from my car. They swooped in a curve instead of a straight line, coming within a foot of my windshield, darting away from the vehicle in what I felt was the last possible moment. They demanded my immediate attention. I felt lucky to be immobile, to actually be stuck in the start of rush-hour traffic so that I could witness this thing of nature’s beauty.
They came to rest on a 15-foot tree growing from a grassy meridian strip dividing the 4-lane stretch of Route 3 (Chester Pike) here in Delaware County, outside Philadelphia, PA. The tree appeared to be nothing more than part of a “playground” for the several flocks of birds that flew from high wire to wire. They did so in a balanced motion as if playing “our” game of “follow the leader.” Only trouble was, I could not decide who led, and who among them were the followers.
It had to have been play! There were no food sources along the concrete highway and business section off of Interstate 476. No one feeding them pieces of bread or seeds to draw them to this spot. No source of food anywhere that I could imagine.
And was I doing just that? Imagining this whole view of this tiny section of the world? Was my imagination helping to form this view, this bit of reality? I saw them at play only because:
a) I had attended a class the night before and we discussed how adults must continue to “play” in our lives to enrich our ourselves and stay in tune with the child within; and/or:
b) I had told my self that I would look for a “hidden” jewel in the next moment of my life when some “delay” occurred, that is, some event that interrupted a planned activity, yet provided me with the chance to “be in the moment” for a mindfulness experience, and not grow angry with the unplanned disruption of my day. Here I was driving some 1o miles from my home to pick up a computer I had left the previous day to be repaired. I was in no rush. But neither was I anticipating an appearance of Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor’s feathered co-stars from the 1963 classic movie, “The Birds.”
There was over 200 birds on both sides of the urban highway where mostly commercial businesses provided wares and services. The birds must have flown in from some nearby feeding grounds. I don’t think the few small trees provided much of a nesting area for them.
So, they must have been playing!
I know, somebody out there with some degree in Bird-ology or whatever, will point out the scientific, rationale reason why the bunches of birds we see flying carefree from telephone wire to telephone wire, appear in our daily lives. They’ll tell us the birds really don’t exist for our viewing pleasure. But for this moment, I would not care. This moment provided me with an eye-opener. It provided me with “awe.”
And I wouldn’t alter that “bird’s eye” view for anything.
Simply lovely, Michael.
Birds act in accordance with their own biological imperatives and instincts as do all creatures. Nevertheless, the bio-field is totally inter-dependent. The vista of “playful” flight on trees and poles is precisely uplifting because we too have within us all the traces psycho-genetically of the entire evolutionary matrix. We “inter-are” and our delight in their delight is fellow-feeling that breaks through the illusory boundaries and sense of otherness. Thank you once again.
” . . . our delight in their delight is fellow-feeling that breaks through the illusory boundaries and sense of otherness c. . .”
Wow, That is one heck of a way to describe it. Sure glad you were born. Don’t know what we would have missed without you. I learn something every time I read you.
Thanks, Michael J