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Transitions (lessons from nature as I walk through life)

I wandered this morning while daylight was awakening.

I had no agenda but to wander, see what I could see, slow down...notice.

Sometimes on wanders like this I'm completely atuned to the sights and sounds around me, but not always. Learning to slow down, or give myself permission for the slow process necessary to learning something new, has been an ongoing education. These weeks of transitions in practically every area of life, learning how to teach young children remotely, and having a slower week "off" for spring break amidst Covid-19 have made me even more aware of my need to embrace the process of transition.

Transitions, when the daily routine still holds responsibilities, have often been messy for me. I'm also sometimes hard on myself as I go through the process.

But why am I hard on myself? Why not expect the process?

This morning, though, I was fully present, enjoying this space of internally calm and externally observant of nature's small movements. As I walked from the forest to the neighborhood street, movements of wings caught my eye. First it was the House Finches, the brilliant red head of the male showing forth from the clear plastic bowl of a feeder. Then it was the Bluebirds, the males practically flourescent in their brilliant breeding plumage. Then, a glimpse of bright yellow. Bright yellow? A male American Goldfinch -- the first I'd seen this season!

Or, was it? I'm told that not all American Goldfinches migrate, but they fade into the background as their feathers transition to muted colors. Thus, they may not suddenly show up in spring, but they start to become more evident. That which is starting to flash bright yellow now may actually have been here a while, though formerly it was, quite literally, camouflaged.

But it's not completely bright yellow on this morning. Now, the male and female American Goldfinches are transitioning, a juxtaposition of molting somewhere between was and not yet. It isn't necessarily pretty, but it is necessary and part of the process.

Transitioning. Would I expect these birds' feathers to change from various hues of tans to brilliant yellow overnight? Were that even possible, would it even be fitting when the seasons themselves are gradually changing from dull and bare to a canvas of color?


Transition. It is a process. It is necessary. It is where we are. May we all allow ourselves time in this unprecented season of change.


Each Saturday morning I send a weekly email called "A Closer Look." It is simply one of my nature photos and a short reflection or poetry about nature. It is a quiet way to start your weekend, and to encourage all of us to notice the beauty and intricacies in nature that are right around us. If you would like to receive "A Closer Look," please subscribe to my email list here.

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