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Riding a Draft with the Arctic Tern


Hello, Loves.

Today I found myself joyfully immersed in a book. I was profoundly moved by the reading experience. MIGRATIONS by Charlotte McConaghy is a novel set in the not too distant future where species continue to go extinct at an alarming rate and the world is on the brink of devastation. The story centers around a young woman fiercely driven to follow the migratory path of the last flock of arctic tern, a bird famous for its migration; flying from its Arctic breeding grounds to the Antarctic and back again each year (about a 24,000 mile loop!). From the book, “. . . .describing the terns to him in great detail. How they use their beaks to scratch beneath their feathers, and how they call to each other across the boat using a language I would give anything to speak. How, when they feel a draft, they spread their wings and let it lift them off their perches, and they just hover there, airborne, as though for no reason at all but the fun of it. I write it all down for him, so that when he reads the words he will be filled with the courage of the birds just as the wind fills their feathers.” My heart feels ripped open by this book. I want to go back to page one and begin again, just to savor the exquisite writing, the heart-pounding story-telling, the companionship of the characters. I want to linger here with these noble & eccentric beings who seem to intuitively follow the wildness within, no matter how perilous the journey may be.


Insert contented sigh here. As I re-read that paragraph, it occurs to me that we, as humans might have a similar experience of feeling a type of “draft” that could possibly carry us, if we let it, if we allow ourselves to open our wings and fly. Close your eyes, and let your imagination run with that imagery. Give your body over to that imaginal experience. What would your “draft” be? What carries you? What buoys you up in this challenging time? And how might it feel in the body to surrender to that particular “draft”, the one that would carry you up and over and through. . . to the other side? Just imagine. . . . .


It absolutely tickles me to report that our beloved Jennifer Burner will be guiding us on our dancing migratory path tomorrow.


Here’s the link. https://www.openfloordance.org/community-dances


Dance begins at 9:45am.


Two poems, both old favorites, which I’m sure I’ve shared before but seem appropriate tonight.


The Swan by Rilke


This clumsy living that moves lumbering as if in ropes through what is not done, reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.

And to die, which is the letting go of the ground we stand on and cling to every day, is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down into the water, which receives him gaily and which flows joyfully under and after him, wave after wave, while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm, is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown, more like a king, further and further on.


In the Storm by Mary Oliver

Some black ducks were shrugged up on the shore. It was snowing

hard, from the east, and the sea was in disorder. Then some sanderlings,

five inches long with beaks like wire, flew in, snowflakes on their backs,

and settled in a row behind the ducks— whose backs were also

covered with snow— so close they were all but touching, they were all but under

the roof of the ducks' tails, so the wind, pretty much, blew over them. They stayed that way, motionless,

for maybe an hour, then the sanderlings, each a handful of feathers, shifted, and were blown away

out over the water, which was still raging. But, somehow, they came back

and again the ducks, like a feathered hedge, let them stoop there, and live.

If someone you didn't know told you this, as I am telling you this, would you believe it?

Belief isn't always easy. But this much I have learned, if not enough else— to live with my eyes open.

I know what everyone wants is a miracle. This wasn't a miracle. Unless, of course, kindness—

as now and again some rare person has suggested— is a miracle. As surely it is.



Oh, Sweet Beings. This life is a miracle. Even in the midst of all its hardships, there is still beauty, and wonder, and awe, and kindness. . . .. all the elements we need to nourish the heart and the soul.

Keep dancing.

All Love & Squishy Hugs,

KB

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