March 28, 2010: The Return of the Wood Ducks…

A week or so ago, as the remnants of a long, frozen winter were finally melting, Tim tromped excitedly up the hill from the river with a  little boy look on his face, “The Wood Ducks are back!”

We smiled… and shared a still, unspoken moment.
At the top of that ridge somehow it hit both of us similarly- a sense of completion, of full cycle, of belonging to a place in which there was a “returning”.
I think it was there and then that something shifted permanently for us-
a feeling that we are now Home, in the truest sense of the word.

What was it that rose so deep in him at the sighting of those beautiful birds?
…the same ducks that we had studied through binoculars last year in the glass cafe of our new home?
Why is it so powerful to witness the familiar return?

Perhaps it is the deep, sweet feeling of everything being right with the world.
and a relief, at some level, that it is flowing regardless…
a permission to let go of the need to control it…
an invitation to “come home” to the cycles of life, instead of pushing so hard to steer them.
And perhaps it is the gratitude of being in a place where something so magnificent is actually familiar.

For us, a family who has experienced 18 months of uprooting, I know our hearts were waiting for this.
Through all the packing, “leaving the nest:”, releasing, relocating, unpacking- the existential Big questions related to Home have been an underlying  theme- “What is home?” and “How do you know when you are there?”.
Less about brick and mortar, more wondering about truly belonging in this world, in this changing life…

Sigh.
Hearing of the returning wood ducks brought up a body memory of being 4 or 5 years old standing at the shore break at Bethany, letting the waves lap against my shins- fearless, safe- sensing the weight of my body sink another inch deeper in the sand with each ebb and flow.
The more the ocean returned and retreated, the deeper I was rooted.
The more that huge, wild, water world came and went, the more solid my footing.
Even as a child, I learned in my bones, with wet sand between my toes, that the leaving and returning were part of my safety. Something to celebrate. Something to lean against.

I look out the window- eleven bluebirds are perched in the low bushes outside right now.  I remember them from late March last year, flocks and flocks of them sprinkled in the woodland. They came through about the time those little white wildflowers appeared …
and, yes, come to think of it, I nearly stepped on a few blossoms yesterday on my way to the compost pile!
So, does that mean I can expect wild violets in the far field next? :-)
Oh, and the iridescent green Swallows were checking out the birdhouse last week… just like last April.

We are no longer visitors.
And, I see, we never are… as long as we stay intimately in tune with the ebbing and flowing of this world we inhabit.
The tiny flowers, the traveling ducks, the dropping needles, the fruiting trees…
reminders that we are all part of the home to which they return.
The home. Our home.
Home.

So, I wonder,
how does it feel to you to be part of the “returnings”?

What is it in your life that reminds you that all is right… that the wheel is turning as it is designed to?
The daffodils in your front yard? The cherry blossoms along the road? The sound of birds again in the morning or  the heat of the sun on your skin at lunchtime?
Is it the new energy in your body? The aliveness of your senses as the days grow longer?
I believe returnings can be both internal and external.

I now intend to practice more attention to the returnings
in my life…
To notice how it feels to be at that still place in the center
of all this coming and going.
And to allow the turning of the seasons to beat against my shins…
            sinking me deeper and deeper into this Life.

Leave a Reply