I saw a beautiful bird when I was running around Brickell Key last week.
I am not sure what kind of bird she was. (To be honest, I am not sure whether she was a female or male bird.) She was posed regally and openly on a wood post a few feet from the small sea wall. Her feet gripped the post. A sign that read “DANGER” hung on the side of the post. She did not care. If birds have backbones, the gray feathers on the top of her head touched the base of her backbone. Her body made a perfect circle with each breath, moving back and forth and back and forth as if she was dancing with the sun. Her wings were fully extended and faced heaven carrying her hopes to the sky. She did not care if people stopped and looked at her. She did not care if a boat drove by. She did not care if a jet flew overhead. She was at once vulnerable and strong, beautiful and peaceful, quiet and lyrical.
I generally don’t stop long enough to really appreciate moments while I am running. I get caught up in random thoughts, in music playing on my phone, in trying to get done running, in thinking through situations, or in trying not to think about parts of my body that hurt. Seeing this bird reminded me. There was something celebratory to her actions. There was something soothing in her song. There was something freeing in her ability to revel in the wind.
I stood there long enough to think about the moment. To really see the bird. When I started to run again, I could not stop smiling. I was filled with gratitude for being able to run and breathe and see. I thought about the dolphins, stingrays, and rainbows I have seen on that path before. Have I missed moments on other runs? When do I breathe most deeply? How do I celebrate? What does my song sound like? Do I revel in the wind turning my wings to heaven thanking all that is? I am not sure. I know I try.
The bird in that moment is where running and gratitude and wide-awakeness meet. She understands presence and joy. She knows hope and confidence. She feels the wind. She gently dances. She imagines flight beyond where she has flown before. She is both standing on the wood post and somewhere else. That is why I run. To hope. To breathe. To imagine. To learn from noticing birds.