The other day, far too early for my liking, I was headed off to work yawning and stretching myself awake with each turn of the car tires.
I pulled over a few streets from home, to drop a card into the mailbox, and in the midst of an almost jaw breaking yawn, I glimpsed a bird passing over head. I stopped, with my hand on the car door handle, as I watched it fly far above me. Its long legs were stretched out and back in the style of a dancer in mid leap, its elongated neck and beak reached forward intently, as its wings pulled with grace and strength through the air.
I’d never seen a crane in full flight before. It was an awakening I very much needed that morning.
I recalled a similar morning, many years ago when I lived further north. I was working for a small local newspaper—in the advertising department—so there were many days when I would travel between towns looking for business.
This particular day, I was booting along a country road, the windows were open and the sun was warm on my face. I could hear the spit of the gravel pinging off the under carriage of the car, and I could see the cloud of dust I was leaving in my wake.
I was there, but I wasn’t, as my mind was busy running through business and personal ‘to do’ lists.
In a flash I caught, just out of the corner of my eye, a dark shape lurking at the side of the road. It seemed to hunker further down on the split rail fence as I flew by. I slowed, and came to a full stop. The car hummed like a sewing machine on high speed as I reversed to take a closer look.
It was mid morning, so there was little traffic on the rural side road—just me, and the ugliest bird I had ever seen.
He was large—surprisingly so—I would hold tight to small children and dogs in his presence—his head and neck were naked, with only folds of red, wrinkled skin covering its internal structure.
He stared right at me, unabashed by my close scrutiny, as he met my gaze with more than a touch of arrogance.
I had never seen a turkey vulture before. There was a dark beauty in his purpose, and his confidence, and I sat there watching him in awe. With a flick of his eye, he dismissed me as neither a threat nor food, and slowly turned his head to look past me.
I remember thinking, what a great job I have, that I can, during a busy day, come across such a sight!
Through all this, I discovered that it pays to tumble out of your own thoughts once in awhile, that it pays to move a little slower through your days, in order to catch, and hold, every unexpected moment.