The field had just been ploughed the day before. Ripe, dry hay almost a miracle given the deluge of rain we have had this season. Wrapped tightly and keenly against the nakedness of its freshly cut embrace, the aroma so pleasing to the senses. A once, maybe twice a year (if we are lucky) majestic sight to behold. Pastures abounding with round cherubs of straw frolicking with stillness in the noonday sun. A meditation that will survive a day at the most, for the bales were soon to be picked up and carted away. And yet so memorable, like the return of an annual celebration.
Before the trucks began to load up, as I was expressing my morning gratitude for such a sight, I began to hear an odd rumble coming from the fields. Sounding somewhat like I do in the morning after a rough night of singing! I couldn’t pin point the odd tenor, till my roommate cast her arm toward the far away speck plunked on top of one of the bales. There he was – perched on his new roost, basking in the sun. Was he drying his feathers or lurching with a mating call? I find these types of opportunities quite mesmerizing and filled with wonder and awe, and feel very much in touch with the presence of the Divine in these singular moments; and I’ll tell you why: it as if time stands still. I decided to approach slowly to see if I could get a pic, and get acquainted.
I’ve not seen many turkey vultures in my life! I did see a pair sitting on the tip of a red barn roof a few years ago; side-by-side preening their wings, hooded against the slow, sinking sunset. It is an image to behold, and not easy to forget. Today though, this feathered wanderer was perched by himself. My breath quivering with anticipation, as I plodded every so slowly toward the creature, knowing that any moment, he could and would simply choose to leave, to vanish. For there would be no more bales of hay to return to. Such a simple moment really, but leaves me rumbling with those untimely questions: where will he go? Where did he come from? Why is he here? And of course, it doesn’t escape me that these singular, beauty-filled moments are a reminder to myself. Nature always reminds me to question who I am, in any given moment. For I too may find myself basking in the sun, hoping to dry off my dreams along the chorus line of some Divine moment, plunked down in the middle of who knows where. And I don’t think it matters. And that’s the point. It doesn’t matter where we are, but that we are. Being. Still. Breath. Centered. Connecting. Belonging – in the moment, as he did – in that moment.
He was a merry fellow. He reminded me of much in a short time, the simplicity of his wisdom caressing a bale of hay. Stay still every now and then. Take time to bask in nature and the delights of the day. Spread your wings. Rise to new heights. Say hello. And don’t forget to laugh! For life is so short, so precious. So lulling at times, when spending tender moments with good company – feathered or otherwise – and yet as we all know, stormy at times, as we shiver oddly when in the absence of knowing. And, in such absence of knowing is where we find our greatest courage…despite not knowing where the next bale of hay may be so that we may rest, we nonetheless are called to lift off confidently, yet slowly with patience. Be steadfast in your flight. Persevere. You know where home is.
And say hello, and goodbye when you can, and thank you; because you never know. You never know, for every relationship matters. Every one. Even with those whom you do not know their name, or where they are from, or where they shall go. Or even what language they speak. I am grateful for the splendor of this moment, this welcoming presence, and his departure with its twinge of melancholy.