Maybe you can remember your parents hollering at you to “SIT STILL!!” I sure can. As kids, we were in constant motion. Whirring about even if seated.
No time to waste, we got to move!
It took a massive amount of energy just to hold all the body parts in place. And if the body was mostly stationary, then our mouths were constantly running. And our minds.
I’ve found this syndrome carries on into adulthood, it’s just the nervous fidgeting has been replaced with short attention spans, multitasking, restless scanning, assimilating data, and spitting out work product.
There was a time during my teen years when I could actually sit still, motionless, and meditate.
I was so indoctrinated into the working rat race that now, even in retirement, I get my best meditation while hiking, or doing Tai Chi or QiGong. Moving meditation. That’s usually the best I can muster after so many years of information overload.
But yesterday, I was actually sitting still.
And I closed my eyes.
It wasn’t long until I detected, in fact tasted, the perfume of the Mesquite Trees that are in full bloom. A mix of cream, cinnamon, and coconut. Slowly mingling with the sweeter aroma of the Palo Verde Tree.
The combination – intoxicating.
Begging Morpheus, the God of Sleep and Dreams to swallow my consciousness.
But then there were the voices. The many bird messengers.
Sitting still, I hear the dry trill Ti-Keer of the Rock Wren.
Sitting still, I hear the blend of coos of the Morning, Ground, and Inca Doves. Caoh Cooo, Caoh Cooo; Woo-oo, Woo-oo; Coo-Hoo, Coo-Hoo.
Sitting still, I hear the chant P-p-pit-zee, Pit-a-zee, of the Vermilion Flycatcher. I crack my eyelids to sneak a peek at its beautiful scarlet plumage.
Sitting still, I hear the slow, guttural, sharp Chink from the Blue Grosbeak, and many octaves higher, the high-pitched Chittering of a Rufous Hummingbird.
My mind drifts as I pick up the nasal, but musical, Wheer Wheer of the House Finch, and the melodic Qua-Quer’go of the Quail.
Then a Mockingbird joins in, turning individual instruments into a raging flute section of an entire orchestra.
But still, there’s more for the senses.
I hear and feel the vibration of the grasshoppers Chirping as they rub their hind legs against their wings. A mysterious buzzing language only they can understand.
Sitting still, I hear a Chuckwalla, slowly and confidently pacing across the blanket of dried leaves covering the sparse needle and buffalo grasses as it seeks its favorite meal – the fruit of the creosote bushes.
Sitting still, I am enveloped by the invisible waves emanating from Grandfather Sun. Holding me in a long and loving embrace. Warming my body, heart, and spirit.
Opening my eyes now, I gaze upon the Mountains, rising up to touch some cirrus clouds. Wisps of cotton candy across a cerulean, blue sky.
A couple of lenticular clouds seem tethered to the mountain peaks. Trapped in choreographed, reversed rhythmic waves. Eddies of water vapor in a river of descending wind.
Sitting still, that wind, born somewhere over a distant ocean, reaches my feet as a soft breeze. A gentile massage. Just one of Mother Earth’s many gifts of which we may indulge.
As long as we take the time, and quiet our minds, to partake of all she has to offer.
Sitting still . . .
Postscript: I recently watched Disney’s adaptation of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. And there is a moment in the film where Thorton and Buck find themselves peering out over a great expanse in the Yukon and Thorton says to Buck, “We come and go, don’t we, but this is always here . . .”
Well, we know now that this isn’t necessarily true. Humankind has altered the Earth in ways it may not recover from. We’ve caused the mass extinction of thousands of species. We’ve permanently scarred the Earth extracting minerals and fossil fuels. We’ve turned the skies brown with gaseous pollution. We’ve filled the oceans with plastics and bleached the life from the coral reefs. We’ve decimated the forests cutting off their life-giving oxygen.
It’s a time where we should stop once and a while and be still. And take in all of the beauty that surrounds us. All of that beauty that still remains. For it is all so fragile and oh so temporary. Just like these bodies that, for a moment in time, house our spirits.
“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.” ― Jack London, The Call of the Wild
Photo: From a hike in the desert Southwest. A wonderful place to have stopped and absorbed all that was around me.