I watched the high-rise birds this evening! They are the swifts – who swoop high in the sky and who seem to take so much delight, just in flying! The garden birds seem much more content to fly briefly from tree to tree – the ring nose parakeets squawking noisily in their clusters, or the lone blackbird sitting high in a tree singing its heart out. But the swifts, they seem to exult in flying, in looping the loop, in their aerobatics. For sure, that is how they catch they food. But if you watch them for a while, you will see that their flying is more than that. They seem to delight in their embodiment, in seeing what they can do – twist and turn, bank to the left and then roll to the right, their tail sometimes forked ruddering them one way or another, then tail straightened for least resistance and increased speed. They are marvellous to watch. Deeply embodied, yet deeply free; not encumbered by their mortal coil but somehow, transcendent while being most centred in it.
It’s helped me to think differently about my running. I love it. Not because I am competing – neither against anyone else, nor myself. Not because I need to keep fit because it’s good for my health. But because being human is to be deeply embodied, and when you can chug along enough so that you are almost unaware of the effort, then you can find a certain transcendence right there, in the very centre of it; a certain freedom even while being earth-bound. Deeply embodied, deeply free.
[Photo from Wikipedia]