Thursday, May 26, 2011

the way of survivors

The birds are survivors. I know this now because I watch them. I watch as we ride into 20 mph head winds, as the rain pounds down, as the sun scorches my skin, as the humidity makes it hard to breathe. I watch as they dip and dive and swoop and skip through. it. all. 

I wonder, sometimes, if they ever get caught up in unhelpful reactions like I do; if they ever get lost in entitlement or disappointment or annoyance. I doubt it. They’d be a dead race by now, if they did. For the birds have few places to hide with their misery.

“You can learn a lot from sitting in nature.” This is what my dear Lakota friend, Corbin, told me two summers ago in Pine Ridge. “Go out and watch one day. Watch the birds. They never have a child without building it a home.”

There’s a lot to be said for simply doing what needs to be done. Complaint-free. No strings attached. 

Ride 'til you get there. It’s the way of survivors. 
Duck and take cover. It’s a practice of sanity. 
Rest when the sun sets. It’s an act of love.

We’re getting better at simply doing what needs to be done, despite our human longings. We’re growing into people who understand that the earth, truly, does not revolve around us; that we chose this adventure for the adventure, for the ways in which it would inevitably remind us of everything we’ve forgotten about being alive; that we are better off for all our pain and misery and disappointment because they are our sign posts toward light and laughter and understanding if we let them be. We’re getting better at practicing humility and honesty and imperfection and survival—at learning from the birds.

When’s the last time you took yourself out into mother earth’s classroom? Be with her for a day. Choose the day ahead of time and then go outside, no matter the conditions. Let yourself wonder. Let anything that needs to, fall completely apart. Come back and let us know how it went. We’re with you all the way, hoping that together, our journey back to life’s simplest lessons can be the source of power used to create deeper peace and integrity in the world. Truly. A sincerely hopeful wish from my heart to yours...


  1. in the silent wings of birds
    flying like grave robbers
    like bank theifs
    -birds are the eternal holymen

  2. A-men! Sometimes I get frustrated dealing with the public here Back East. I fel like folks freak out over every. damn. thing! But where/when I grew up in the PNW, the natural world was much more a part of our lives - both as individuals & as a community. I really feel fortunate for that! When hiking, mountaineering, rafting, boating, downhill & xcross country skiing are a part of collective life you learn important things. For example, the more prepared you are (knowledge, training, and gear) the better your chances of survival, BUT there are no guarantees; sometimes things just happen; a little creativity can go a long way; observe what's going on around you and adjust your plans accordingly. . .they all make a difference after you leave the woods too :)