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Wordless Wednesday: Mindbody Medicine: #LifeList Birdwatching

Originally posted June 26, 2013.

#lifelist Birdwatching!

I’m a lifelong birdwatcher. I started when I was 12, on Long Island where I grew up. There was a magical park that was about a forty-five minute walk for me. Grant Park. I used to go next door into the middle school field, walk through the back field, crawl down the “rabbit hole” under the chain link fence there, into the apartment complex parking lot, through the parking lot and walk on over to the park. Can you imagine a 12 year old girl taking this walk herself nowadays? I loved the freedom! I felt like Tammy Sawyer!

I was fascinated by this other world, the misty lake, the magical marshy areas around it and the mysterious wood, populated by fairies and other magical creatures: salamanders, snakes and the birds!

Totem birds like camouflaged bitterns, brown barn owls, and the messenger red-winged hawk.

I walked there by myself all summer long, peacefully looking for birds and insects from my book, Science in Your Own Backyard, gathering materials for science projects that I conducted in my back yard. Listening to the cicadas on a hot summer afternoon, sitting for hours in the reeds looking for new birds.

One bird I dreamed of seeing was the Baltimore Oriole. When I was young, I sat and sat, waited for this spectacular bird to appear, as I read that they live near the water’s edge. And all the rest of my life: ten years of living on the magical 30 Acre Wood, thirty years of hiking the Adirondacks and White Mountains, twelve years of horseback-riding in the Ramapos in New Jersey and along the New Jersey Rails to Trails: I kept my eyes open for this spectacular, and as the books say, unmistakeably, bright orange bird!

(Baltimore Oriole by tsmzth, on Flickr)

I had given up on actively looking for this bird, I thought, well, I’m not in the correct temperature zone.

Guess what? Three weeks ago, while taking my daily walk with my starry poodles (Sammy, Dolly ans Asa) around Lake Kinnelon, I was lucky to finally see not just one, but SHAZZZAM TWO!

(Baltimore oriole by Henry McLin, on Flickr)

I was transfixed. Two male Baltimore Orioles flew right in front of me, chasing each other, chattering. I stood still. They gave me a show for a few minutes, swooping and diving and chattering and chasing each other through a dense bush cover right by the lake. I am still blown away by the awesome experience of seeing these magnificent birds. And it was so unexpected.

Seeing these birds after wanting to see them for so long has added so much to my inner joy. I am grateful to witness the wonder. It was spiritual medicine for my soul.

(Baltimore oriole by Henry McLin, on Flickr)

I haven’t seen them since. But this imagery, this colorful vision is with me. I keep this as part of a meditation in my heart. The natural world brings me much joy. Here are some pictures of the unmistakeable bird. Enjoy!

(Baltimore Oriole 1 by Otto Phokus, on Flickr)

Have you had any transformational experiences in the natural world?

(baltimore oriole by riner_frost, on Flickr)


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