Life is a cruel mistress. Fair, but distinctly cruel. I found myself at a difficult place this week facing difficult decisions with difficult outcomes. I found myself holding on to a bird that would be much happier free, because I could no longer care for it in the way that I needed to. The decisions were made, the places navigated, and I have paid the toll we all must pay if we are to love.
Fortunately, Life also has a way of sending along signs to acknowledge that you are doing the right thing when it feels most wrong. Yesterday, I was blessed by two animal observations that brightened the dark rainy skies of a school cross-country final meet: a woodpecker and two dogs. Birds are such beautiful creatures. Delicate, fragile and above us, they have always symbolized possibility to me. When I see a cardinal or a blue jay, I feel blessed. When I see a hawk or raven, I know to keep my head about me. Yesterday afternoon I watched a tiny woodpecker skin a tree to extract his day’s meal of bugs and enzymes. It is rare for me to have a camera by my side on such sightings, but I was shooting video for the school in the rain, and switched over just long enough to capture one good shot with a 300mm lens. Hard to do without a tripod in that light, but good enough.
My second encounter was unexpected. For the last few weeks I have been seeing a particular pose among animals in my random sleep. I am uncertain why, but it involved neck-biting and how one animal inevitably surrenders to the other in passive acceptance. There are two types of fighting in this world – that which is meant to destroy everything in its path and that which is meant to keep the partner ready to face the world. What I saw in my sleep was the latter; the simple act of wrestling to push the other to his limits so that he accepts them by surrendering to the mercy of the partner.
A pair of hilarious dogs played for two hours on the fields. It was the exact game I had imagined, but could find no photographs of online. They would tangle with mouths wide open, rolling on the grass for position, with the entire focus being to see who could capture the other’s neck. They played and they played. The beautiful moment happened when one was captured, and in an act of acknowledgement fell limp submitting to the stronger. The surrender was a beautiful thing as the stronger dog became soft, gentle and loving before letting go. The game began anew with both at an equal chance of becoming the conqueror in the next round.
I find myself in this act of sweet surrender this week, and I do hope the universe understands. I have a great many things to consider right now, and one of these is the idea that this blog, While We Can, is complete. After 387 entries and 58, 500 views in the past three years, it might be time to make a change. I am going to change the focus, as the time in which we could is over. I may move to a new media such as Tumblr to share my life’s adventures, or I may simply change the title of this blog to my new life mantra: If Not Now, When?
So on a day when I am home sick from standing in the rain all day and not sleeping more than a few hours per night for weeks; I am finding my way. The path seems less of a question now that I have accepted the dharma of my life to do what was demanded of me by Life, but that which I refused to do until now.