I can’t stop staring at the birds. The ocean is wild early this morning. Whipped up by gusts of cold wind, the water is silver-grey. Bright white waves break way out beyond the shore. What captivates my attention is the birds, obviously playing in the wind.
Seagulls soaring, gliding, are strewn across the sky like blowing leaves. They hold out their strong wings and stay still, miraculously hanging in space, buoyed by the moving air. Alone, sometimes in pairs, wings extended, they float; every so often, they let themselves be swept sideways in a strange horizontal move. A few small birds try to join in the fun, but careen off in the powerful currents of air, unable to hover or hang glide. The gulls wheel and rise on their unmoving wings, then plummet down, flapping a few times to shoot up high again.
Do seagulls feel joy? I’m riveted by the pure, silent pleasure of their wildness. I imagine my arms outstretched, catching the wind, lifting off the ground and swirling over the beach with them. They fly as we do, coming close to each other, then veering away, just as we do, intersecting, separating, dancing in the whirlwind of life.
Often when we meditate, we’re like a couple in an on-again, off-again relationship who keep drifting apart then finding each other again, our mindfulness meandering in and out of awareness. Can we play in the ever-changing winds of craziness and caring, of fear and delight? Can we open and stretch our wings like seabirds in a storm, extending steady minds and quiet hearts to the turbulence of these times? May we move with joy, steadiness, and grace through the wildly uncertain weather to come.