GULLS OF NIGHT

These are the times for which we have been waiting…



Consider a cup of tea. First water, our life’s essence, must be heated to the point of boiling, the moment of transformation into steam. Then, the power of this alchemical state is combined with herbs given by the earth, and the intensity of the heat bursts open chemical compounds, thus creating the tonic, the aroma and properties of what we know as tea. And what is tea if it is not stirred? Swirled with milk and honey in the cup, into the liquid tornado of spice, comfort and warmth…

We are the water. We are the herbs. We are the heat, the spiral and the nourishment. We are sitting down with our Universe and taking tea. As we feel and observe these experiences, let us not judge them but rather marvel at them. Watch them and watch ourselves in them, as our planet simmers and steeps and prepares to pour. Is her power not amazing? Can we feel her power as ours, and respect her changes as our own?

One night there were hundreds of seagulls upon the still, foggy water of Lake Ontario. They sparkled like lights against the black lake, as far as the eye could see to the east and west, weaving gently in small circles, but always moving together as one. I watched them, dogs at my side. We walked down the grassy hill to the very edge of the lake and I called to them, softly said hello. The air hung thick and hot, peppered with large grey moths. Then slowly the first bird, the centre one right in front, turned to face me and began to swim. She weaved back and forth on the water but always facing me, and as she moved, others around her moved too. Soon the whole edge of the flock was spreading toward me. I gazed at them, magnet and magnetized. 
We spoke again; I cooed to her, she ruffled at me and continued to swim. The whole flock began to undulate like a sparkling skirt in a gentle wind and I wondered if I had disturbed them but quieted my thoughts and lived and loved that moment. We were alone together, the hundreds and I. The dogs were remarkably silent. All that could be heard were faint gull cries that rippled and bounced among them in the dark. As they swam and swayed toward me, over and over, inch by inch, I began to feel dizzy, drunk. I could not tell if I was moving, or the birds. I could not tell how they breathed in response to me, because the dark of the lake and the night was so vast, and they were so close. My heart rose in a new rhythm of awe at their magnitude, their beauty. They were too huge, too much. In deference, I turned my eyes, my calling voice away.
Then in a moment, one bird from the east rose up with a cry and sped over the flock. Another followed, and another. They lifted up one by one until the whole glittering fabric of them ruffled and blew across the inky lake, away from my words. I watched them leave, growing smaller and smaller toward the horizon, far from the dim light of the shore. Then, just as softly, gracefully, they began to touch the lake again one by one, but this time in a single line that stretched for a mile or more. As they settled, stirring ever so gently at the farthest reaches of my sight, they became like a string of holiday lights, glowing white against the night, swaying on the water’s surface in a breeze. They were in perfect symmetry, the many connected as one, in endlessness, with all grace.  I thanked them, and as if from a place of prayer, returned to land.

tea photo courtesty of Cybjorg on Flickr
lake at night photo courtesy of P.Sto on Flickr

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