I have not been able to practice yoga for three months because of my knee injury. As a result, I have trouble sitting still or focusing on anything for long. Restlessness washes over me, and pulls my attention away from singular moments, to make a note about what I shouldn’t forget, to fold laundry or return messages.
A friend sent me a link to a barn owl warming her eggs. A stream of video images capture her eating, sleeping, and tending to her nest. This beautiful creature, named Molly, sits still, nurturing and guarding her five eggs.
Her mate, Mcgee, arrives on occasion to bring her a gift of a rabbit or field mouse; for the most part, she sits in solitude. Twice a day she leaves her nest to stretch her wings, but her excursions are brief. She sits serenely; her breathing is rhythmic and profound. Now and then, she opens her round black eyes and stares directly into the camera as if to communicate that she understands we are watching. She allows us to become voyeurs of nature.
She is content to sit in one place for long periods. Her attention focused on one small task at a time. She moves with care and purpose. I reflect on my own mind, its persistent prattle. Molly pulls me back. There are lessons: the contented way she watches a bug buzz her nest becomes how to observe my good neighbor mowing his lawn.
Here is an example of Vishuddha, Chakra 5. The video of Molly comes into the camera, through a bunch of routers and into my computer and still, her essence is not lost. It washes over me. My son and I check in on her throughout a day. The first of her five owlets will hatch tomorrow in the early afternoon after a 30-day incubation, and we are excited to watch, delighted by one another, transfixed by the experience.
Originally, Molly laid six eggs but became was cracked. She struggled to let it go. She separated it from the others, tried to warm it, but in the end she knew that if she let it stay the scent could attract predators who might harm the other five. She ate the egg to protect the other owlets.
This morning, my boy climbed onto my lap to greet Molly. He asked, “Will the babies have toys? It would make their lives a lot more fun.” What a clear sign of the way we constantly distract ourselves. A minute later, thoughts of toys vanish from his mind, and he sits as silently as the owl. We watch Molly preen her white feathers, and I notice our breathing is quiet, more profound, a little more in harmony with hers.
If you want to breathe with Molly, and her mate Mcgee and the owlets, please go to http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-owl-box