The older I get, the more I curl into nature, like a song bird in the hollow of a tree, feeling every gust of wind, yet always prepared to avert danger. It’s as if I’m already becoming part of the earth, in spirit, if not, in fact. Yet, I’m not decomposing. It’s quite the opposite; I’m becoming. The question remains as to what it is that I’m becoming. That, I don’t know. But, I am still seeking and, maybe, that is the secret to it.
When I was younger, I wallowed in a beautiful day and shrugged off a dreary one, rarely stopping to realize the immediateness of either. Now, in my middle years, I absorb the yellow days and the dreary ones alike, holding each on sacred.
When young, I heard the birds singing in chorus in the trees. In maturity, I can recognize the birds by song. I know the trees in which they live, their species and genus. I know their patterns of flight, their oddities and quirks. I know them, and they know me.
Nothing has changed since I was young. I have to assume the birds and trees were as fascinating then as they are now. I just didn’t know them. This newfound perception is an awaking of sorts, a deepening of the senses. It’s not an ending, but a beginning.
Each morning, I feed the birds and watch them come to the porch rail, one by one. Bob the Cardinal is usually the first to arrive followed by Woodrow the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Their mates will make their way to the porch for food as the day wears on. The Blue Jays will come, as well as the Chickadees, Tit Mice, Sparrows, Hummingbirds and Grosbeaks. Although I’ve named most of the birds, they aren’t mine. I know this. They are free. They belong only to themselves and the nature that compels them.
I realize as I write this that I am becoming more like the birds as I age. I spend my days enjoying the sun and the rain. I accept what life brings me with less and less anxiety. I care little about what people think, and I don’t often hurry. I am at peace and capable of seeing what, in my youth, was only a blur. Perhaps, these are among the greatest gifts of aging.
I guess this unknown state that I am working toward is the state in which the birds live — a state of nature — a state of freedom — a state of wild. It is not a decomposing; it is not death. It is a becoming.