An Invitation to Join the Natural System

Originally posted 2008/06/29 in my old blog

Last summer I was visiting family in West Virginia and we had been canoeing. While waiting for others to catch up, I was lying on my back watching the large birds circling in a thermal on the side of a nearby mountain. There were dozens of them about a half mile away and at various altitudes, probably 400 - 800 feet. It appeared that they never moved a feather while circling in place. Beautiful to watch, especially when tired after canoeing.

Gradually, they changed positions. It appeared that they moved out of the thermal and were having to flap their wings occasionally to maintain altitude even as they descended. I wondered if the wind had shifted or if they saw some carrion which had attracted them to the new location. It seemed they were circling almost right over me.

They got lower and lower, and these birds are big. I could see them quite clearly when they were over a half mile away, and seeing them closer now, I realized that they had wing spans of three to five feet. Still thinking about why they had changed their orbits, I realized that they were looking down at me and wondering if I were available to eat yet.

After that epiphany, I got up and walked around to show just how alive I was.

The beautiful birds returned to their thermals in the mountains and I felt the closeness we have to nature deeper in my bones than I ever had before.