A koan from the Zen tradition:
The disciple was always complaining to his master, "You are hiding the final secret of Zen from me." And he would not accept the master's denials. One day they were walking in the hills when they heard birds calling and singing.Nature as Spiritual Practice means connecting with all of nature, which includes humans. Spirit means that we keep nothing hidden from ourselves, and try to see what is normally hidden.
"Did you hear the bird sing? said the master.
"Yes" said the disciple.
"Well, now you know that I have hidden nothing from you."
We are all that is around us: the tree, the bird. We are the world.
They who bind to themselves a joyI once asked a bird, "How is it that you fly in this gravity of darkness?"
Do the winged life destroy
They who kiss the joys as it flies
Live in eternity's sunrise. (William Blake)
She responded, "Love lifts me."
On our bird walk today we were reminded that every day is Mother's day. We know this generally from the nesting activities of the birds around us, and in particular because one mother robin chided us relentlessly when we passed under her nest on one of the ladders behind the sanctuary. Later during the service the choir and Rev. Garmon were accompanied by a pair of particularly noisy wrens building a nest in one of the nest boxes right outside the sanctuary.
It is not just the reproductive fervor of the fauna on the grounds that tells us it's spring, but also the sudden splurge of color, leaves, and ground cover everywhere you look. Yes, new life is before us, but so is the ending of life. This too was part of our bird walk, for we encountered a black-throated blue warbler who apparently had died after hitting one of our large sanctuary windows. This motivated several bird walk attendees to make a plan to put up stickers on the windows so birds will be less likely to hit them and become injured. Nearly a billion birds die each year from hitting building windows in the US. We hope we can save a few lives from being lost this way. Though there was sadness, we enjoyed the fine weather, conversation, and song as we engaged in avian spiritual practices to nourish us so that we can in turn heal the world.
Please join us for our next bird walk, Sun Jun 11, 2014.
2 Common grackles
2 Carolina wren
4 Mourning doves
4 American robins
4 House Sparrow
2 Northern cardinals
3 Red-bellied woodpeckers
3 American goldfinches
1 Baltimore oriole
2 Yellow-rumped warblers
1 Black and white warbler
1 Black-throated blue warbler (dead)
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 European starling
3 Canada Geese
1 White-breasted nuthatch
1 Northern flicker
1 unidentified swallow
2 House finches
1 Brown-headed cowbird
1 Blue jay
1 Downy woodpecker
Additional birds seen during the week on the grounds: