Last night I visited with my neighbors on the deck. It was getting dark. One of them pointed to a large flock of pelicans flying in circles above the end of the lake. Within the flock, the birds were going in all different directions.
They turned this way and that way—looking confused and disorganized—and then disappeared behind the tree line. It was puzzling. I’d never seen birds act that way. I’ve been lost myself, at times, and I felt a pang of fear and sympathy for them.
A few minutes later, they reappeared, but this time in formation—the characteristic “V” configuration of migrating birds. Apparently they’d been looking for thermals, those rising columns of air caused by the uneven heating of the earth, and they caught one. They hadn’t been lost or confused. They were exploring the shape of the sky, looking for the best way home.
Scientist David Gibo, who studies migrating monarch butterflies, notes that a monarch uses the same amount of energy to either fly for more than 1,000 hours gliding on thermals or fly 44 hours flapping. Migrating birds use the same strategy.
I watched the great flock glide effortlessly overhead. I could tell by the gentle rocking of their bodies and the sail of their wings that an escalator of air was lifting them and moving them forward, and I felt tremendous wonder, admiration, and awe. They do this by instinct, an inner knowing.
At 3:00 in the morning, thunder and lightning woke me and I worried about the birds. Was it storming where they were, or did they have clear skies? Would they make it safely to their destination?
And then I remembered that out of their apparent confusion came a certain knowing to glide, instead of flap, and to trust that Something within them supports them on their journey. And I knew they’d make it home.
We’re as much a part of nature as migrating birds and butterflies. Surely the same forces can guide and lift us, as well, and show us the way to go. All we have to do is trust.
Let it be easy.
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Copyright by Kathleen Hawkins, author of Spirit Incorporated: How to Follow Your Spiritual Path from 9 to 5. www.WinningSpirit.com