Every morning I drive to work and I look for birds on this one particular stretch of road. My gazes are fleeting – I only have a few seconds to observe these particular birds. They are waking up with the sun, warming their feathers and nares and tiny talons. They are pigeons, gulls, and blackbirds.
In winter I think alot about the birds at night. Huddled together in their nests, conserving their energy and trying to stay warm. And hummingbirds (mostly male) are in a state of torpor every night. Torpor is a state of regulated hypothermia. A hummingbird, in torpor, slows its heartrate from 1260 bpm to a staggering 150 bpm when it goes to sleep at night. This is so it can conserve its energy to wake up the next day. When a hummingbird rises with the sun, it takes 10 minutes to an hour for it to raise its heartrate back to 1260 bpm and begin its day searching for food. When female hummingbirds are laying eggs and raising hatchlings, they do not go into torpor because they must stay warm to keep their children warm.
Every day that I think of cold and warmth I think about life’s torpor, human torpor. I experience it alot, I try to get unstuck, to warm up, to begin each day anew. And I turn to the birds to find some insight. Sometimes my parrots and I watch the gulls fly overhead, and our hearts lift and long to fly away with them. I imagine what it must be like to wake with a clear view of the mountains and the sun and a pink sky, and to feel the sun on my face and the vibrations of the earth.
Where do you find your energy, your inspiration…what wakes you from your torpor? A slight breeze to lift your wings might be all you need.
May all beings be peaceful
May all beings be happy
May all beings be safe
May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature
May all beings be free
– Metta Prayer