It is sweet outside
Where it seems magical
And if nothing works
We’ll do nothing

~ From the song “Beach” by Mew

A friend once told me that if we don’t learn to be present, we will live our life as if in a dream.

I am often amazed at the fearlessness of animals, their ability to hold on to nothing, to walk into the dark without dread or premonition. Some nights I lay in bed with the bedroom door wide open, staring out into the night clouds like some scared peeping tom, willing a ghost or nighttime critter to appear. This is the extent of my bravery, when in the morning I have to tend to the spiders that take advantage of the midnight access to a warm carpet and the dog’s water bowl.

And this is how they do appear, when I stop and do nothing. Just the other day I sat in the chair in my bird room, wondering whether I should pick the figs for my neighbor who likes to make fig jam, when an Anna’s Hummingbird suddenly appeared in the window, and then flew on. I was reminded of the time I spent a long night at the wildlife rescue, listening to the little sucking sounds of a baby Anna’s as I fed it a concoction from a syringe. It did not think “predator,” it only acknowledged “food.”

For sensitive animals like myself, I am never just acknowledging what I see or hear, my mind and heart are always seeking subtexts and nuances of communication and what is put out there. Most of the time I am reminded “to be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” and I am softened even by the coldest looks. But then I’m reminded that in some subtexts there’s information in them that wills me to survive, to feel fear, that all is not nothing.

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