I saw a very red bird this morning on the feeder. With it’s back to me, I thought the impossible – ’Cardinal!’ The bird looked so red in the muted dawn light, I grabbed my phone, tried for a shot. When it turned its head, there was the top notch! The black banded eyes! I thought a miracle – the wind’s definitely blown me a cardinal. I confess I felt joy, though I knew the poor creature was off course, perhaps feeling strange in this desert land.
When it flew to the big tree, sat a while looking over the yard, I noticed the tail. It was too short, and the body too plump, and the beak, too long and pointed. It was the wrong red, too, with not enough of it. I wondered then at it being alone. How it found it’s way to my yard.
It was such a human moment, me trying to make sense from what I know. Seeing what I wanted to see. I know cardinals are not in Northern New Mexico.
I’d jumped to magical thinking–the wind blew that bird way-way off course. Because I know those kinds of things happen. And I went to my need for a message from the Universe about decisions I’m making. I went to how special I am these things happen for me, because they so often do.
After being so human, I had to step back to see I got the affirmation I desired, albeit in a round about way. You see, this happened as I contemplated Presence as Writing & Writing as Presence. My belief that presence is our way to feeling sane in what appears as an increasingly fractured, chaotic world. Because capital P Presence slows us down for a moment. We step out of the spin in our heads & emotions. It brings us back to center. Enlivens wonder and awe. Takes us to connection.
I’m talking about Presence that’s a question – What do I see? – followed by a tweak of curiosity for just enough to understand, particularly when it’s new or unknown. Akin to observing with awareness. Akin to connection. And yet, not. And though all the distinctions aren’t fully formed in my mind, yet, different than mindfulness.
What I know, staying a moment with things like a brief shot of unexpected red under a dim overcast sky doesn’t feel like work. There’s no shoulds or right way to do it. It can feel like a ride that swirls back in time and memory, coming back to today and that question What do I see. And end with a Wow. Because something shifts inside, and adds to the sense we’re solid in the world.
And that’s what writing is about.
That extraordinary-ordinary red was a journey. I traveled to years in North Carolina and my last home I loved, to here now with a Thank You to the Universe for another piece in getting to wise.
What’s a moment of capital P Presence that you’ve had? What did you discover?
Tell me in the comments.
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I love your work, the voice of reason and spontaneity that come together. It’s magic, and the connection to nature always draws me back in, back to the heart, my own heart and the heart of story. So, thank you. That’s all, thank you.
Thank you so much, Chloe. I am so glad my words touch me. I’ve said observing, awareness, presence is the heart of connection…and writing. I’m adding honesty and courage (things I know you have). ‘Cause, by golly, it takes a good dose of that. Thank you is the best comment/compliment I can get.