It’s a beautiful day here in California; new Spring leaves are dancing, flowers tossing their heads in the breeze. Crows and ravens are calling, vultures soaring, warblers, sparrows and songbird friends singing across the clear blue sky. There are more songs in the air. It’s courtship and breeding season, the males are outsinging each other to attract mates, females chirping, parents building nests and feeding noisy offspring.
In the photo above, a least tern mother is tending her baby chick. They are vulnerable sitting in the sand on the open beach. Avian tenderness between mother and baby! Teaching class yesterday evening, I notice a zoom tile revealing a mother holding her sleeping daughter in her arms as she meditates. The little girl sleeps through the gentle sound of the bell; their dog comes over to nuzzle them. The mother tern’s wings protect the chick nestled against her breast and the meditating mom’s arms cradle her sound asleep child in the chair. Right this minute, all is well in the natural world. Humans are staying home, the thrumming roar of traffic is muted; creatures are breathing a sigh of relief.
Deep down, all is well – imperturbable, calm. Taking a deep breath in, the air smells cleaner, fresh like the sparkling sea. Breathing out, we relax, making room for the next new in-breath, appreciating the ease of breathing in a new way. In just this moment, all can be well inside each one of us. It depends on where we place our attention. As a COVID team in Belfast writes:
When you go out and see the empty streets, the empty stadiums, the empty train platforms, don’t say to yourself, “It looks like the end of the world.” What you’re seeing is love in action. What you’re seeing, in that negative space, is how much we do care for each other, for our grandparents, our parents, our brothers and sisters, protecting people we will never meet. People will lose jobs over this. Some will lose their businesses. And some will lose their lives. All the more reason to take a moment, when you’re out on your walk, or on your way to the store, or just watching the news, to look into the emptiness and marvel at all of that love. Let it fill you and sustain you. It isn’t the end of the world. It is the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.