The whole of life lies in the verb ‘seeing’.Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Many of us go through our lives without seeing. We blindly flit from moment to moment, observing none of them, always anticipating the future or being lost in the past. The present, the now, is missing from our lives.
I’m a typical example of this. I have bipolar II disorder. For me, then, while depressed my past is ever-present; and, while hypomanic the future is a prime attraction.
On one Saturday, though, I had the opportunity to be present, to be now, and to see.
It began when a friend invited me along for a nature walk. I accepted. What followed was a wonderful two-hour walk near the shore of Lake Ontario.
We visited a bird preserve. The temperature was cool, the sun was bright and the area was quiet, far removed from the hiss of tires on pavement or the sound of engines grinding into gear. And it was still. Yes, there was a breeze, but it was slight.
As my friend and I wandered among the trees the sound began, a sweet, beautiful sound of hundreds of birds in full song. My friend and I found our conversation to be low and infrequent. It was as if we wanted to honour the stillness in which we found ourselves. We welcomed and celebrated the birdsong that was growing in volume. Certainly, that’s how I felt. I was in nature, at peace with myself and the moment.
My friend had brought some bird seeds. She explained that the chickadees would feed off your hand. A package of birdseed was passed to me. I poured some onto my hand, stretched it out, and watched in amazement as one chickadee after another flew onto my hand to feed. As they landed, I could feel their delicacy. As they took off, I could sense their power.
When the birds grew more comfortable, they stayed longer on my hand. They’d look at me with unfeigned curiosity. And I would look at them in delight.
This was a new experience for me. I was filled with wonder. Each time a chickadee landed on my hand, I saw. Each time a leaf swayed in the breeze, I saw. The past wasn’t present. The future wasn’t present. I was entirely in that moment, the now, and at one with nature.
For those two hours I was seeing, I was alive.
Image by David Álvarez López from Pixabay