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Meditation on the Equinox

Yesterday, on the return leg of our evening walk. Victoria and I saw a dark thing sticking up from the rail of the fence that lines our driveway.

“What’s that? Is that an owl? Or a hawk? Or….?”

“Can’t be an owl. Must be a hawk. Amazing.”

But the most amazing thing is that neither Victoria, nor I, nor the hawk changed what we were doing. We kept walking, and it kept perching. As we passed, Victoria could have reached out and touched it with a yardstick. Twenty steps later we stopped. I got out my Droid and starting walking toward it taking pictures drawn on by the hope of better shots. I also wanted to see how close I could get before it flew away. At six feet I decided I was close enough and left it in peace.

The next morning it was on a post of the fence on the other side of the driveway as I was driving out.

Here it is at 8:00AM on September 21st. It is three feet from the car window. Why didn’t it fly away? Maybe it’s just that time of year.

This Friday the sun will rise exactly in the east and set due west. I am expecting nothing dramatic. In fact this seems to me the time of year when nothing happens. It’s as if the earth declares a truce, a hiatus between too hot and too cold, a moratorium on hurricanes and earthquakes (even though geologists would disagree). Maybe it’s a good time to put a moratorium on all the things that drive us—things like fear. Maybe it’s a good time to see what it is like simply to wait.

Maybe that is what this red tail hawk has decided. Maybe something inside just said, “Hey, why am I always flying from these humans. I think I’ll just sit here on this fence and watch.”

Thinking of my four wonderful children today, I can see the results of my childrearing and am happy to claim responsibility. However, I can also see that most of what they are today was more the result of their own making. I go around every day acting as if I cause everything. Why don’t I stop and see how little I actually cause.

This week the earth seems to be saying, “Stop where you are and breathe.”

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5 Responses to “Meditation on the Equinox”

  1. Lizzie September 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    You could hear what the earth was saying to you today! It is a little nudge to go out and wait and listen to our dear friend every day. Thank you Dad. There are few stars where we live, but on Tuesday evening, we were out in the country, and Abdallah witnessed the beauty of the stars consciously for the first time. He said he wanted to touch them. Tonight, two days later, going to bed, he reminded me, “Mama remember when we saw the stars… that one is the brightest… and that one… and that one.” He was beaming brighter than them, remembering the moment.

  2. Tim McIntire September 23, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    Your observations are very powerful, Rick, in many, many ways. I actually keep my calendar according to the equinox and the solstices — good Episcopalian that I am! — and today await 9:04a when the equinox occurs. I am writing before sunrise from my home in Placitas, NM and have already heard from my dear colleague Gary Gruber who is on the banks of the Rio Chama in Abiqui where Georgia O’Keefe also lived and worked, and Gary was opining on the equinox — he sent your blog. Since our school calendars are impacted by religioius and civil holidays and the outmoded needs of an agrarian society, we deal with semesters of unequal length with incovenient holidays. Four important days that relate to our context on earth seems to me a good thing to consider. Thanks for provoking some thought and breath!

  3. Rick September 23, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    Thank you, both. If we ever forget we have a soul, at least two things can remind us: a starry night and children.

  4. Dawn September 23, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    It’s amazing how a moment like that in nature can make us think of such big ideas, and yet make us realize how small we are in the grand scheme of things.

    I hear what you’re saying about causing things, and how we think we are more influential than we are. At the same time, though, I am a big believer in the ripple effect. All those small choices we make every day, whether it’s as a parent or as a consumer, really do add up to a lot more than most of us realize.

    If each of us makes a ripple, together we make waves. That’s the way I see it, anyway.

    Thank you for sharing this story, and for creating a lot of your own ripples! Never give up, no matter how strong the current may be.

  5. Rumsey Young September 24, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Am a reluctant blog-responder as usually the bloger is so profound…thanks, Rick! But, here goes anyway. The hawk was being a hawk, staking his/her territory; you were being your usual curious self…and this time, not annoyingly enough to motivate the fly-away instinct. I too tried to get my brain around the equinox yesterday…it didn’t work in spite of the gorgeous day and unbelievable stars Someone provided…but then that’s me.

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