Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The blessing of this perfect moment

When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present....we experience heaven on earth. Sarah Breathneck
Yesterday, I drove to, Canmore, a mountain town an hour west of the city to give a couple of presentations at a high school. Just before reaching Canmore, there is a large expanse of water known as Lac des Arc. As I rounded the curve that swoops around the shoreline of the lake, I saw a flock of white birds floating on the water. Surprised, I pulled into to a fly-away, to watch a flock of about 50 Trumpeter Swans relaxing on the water, taking a break from their migration north.

Later that evening, Ellie (the pooch) and I went for a run along the reservoir, an expanse of water that feeds the city's water supply. As we ran, a cool breeze blew from the north, heralding the snow that fell over night. Spring break-up could be seen in the large patches of water that circled the ice that still covers a large portion of the centre of the Reservoir. In the open water, flocks of seagulls and Canada Geese swam or paddled across the ice that edged the water. In their midst, two beautiful and regal Trumpeter Swans floated tranquilly upon the water, oblivious to the absence of the rest of their flock.

Much to Ellie's chagrin, I had to stop and watch. I was so enthralled by their presence.

The two swans floated, pecked at each other, ruffled their feathers and ignored the shrieking and cackling of the other birds.

I imagined their month long flight north from their winter migration habitat in Yellowstone National Park. Somehow, they became separated from their flock. One of the birds, probably a female, heavy with child, kept falling further and further behind. Her mate, like Joseph of Biblical fame, always on the look-out for a place to rest, spied the open water of the reservoir and encouraged her to take a break. "It's a long way to the Yukon," he might have said. "We'd best hunker down here for a couple of days to build up your strength."

And so they rested. Two regal birds amidst the squawking cacophony of seagulls who frequent the Reservoir in constant search of fish and free handouts from joggers and bikers who use the trails.

Courage. Stamina. Fortitude. Strength. Tradition.

Every year the Trumpeter Swans use the migratory corridor that edges along the Eastern slopes of the Rockies to get from their southern winter habitat to the northern marshlands at the edge of the Arctic tundra.

Most years, I miss their local stop-over. Their migratory corridor is only fifty miles wide. Normally, with the focus of a driver by-passing the congested roads of the inner city, they travel within that corridor, keeping far west of the city.

There are gifts of nature all around when I stop focusing on how busy I am and stop to 'smell the roses'.

Yesterday also gave me a gift of the human kind in the form of an email from a friend. I loved the Rumi quote this morning, she wrote. It resonated. And then, she shared a poem she had written earlier that morning. May I share it, I wrote back. Yes, she replied.

Like the courageous Trumpeter Swans searching for open patches of water to rest on during their long flight north, Cheryl Williams teaches us to breathe into the moment, to treasure what is here and now, to rejoice in the beauty all around. Cheryl is beauty in motion. In gentle spirit rising.

Come alive to the present moment
Do not think of past hurts
They did not happen
There is no guilt
Burst Open.
Celebrate this holy instant
Poignant as a redbird
perched on a post
As sunlight dancing
on a lake’s still waters
As love flowing
through the river of your heart.
It is all here, all now
Awaiting your joyful embrace
Bathe in it,
drink it in
Let it fill you up
The blessing of this perfect moment.
Written by: Cheryl Williams

The question is: Are you stepping into the courage to be in the moment, floating on open patches of water, ignoring the ice that surrounds you? Are you drinking in the blessings of this perfect moment?


Anonymous said...


nice piece; I'd like - with your permission - to edit it down a little as a piece about the swans for posting on 360boom . .

is that OK?


M.L. Gallagher said...

That would be lovely!



Anonymous said...


I posted it as today's feature on 360boom e-zine http://livingbetterlonger.net/ ; titled 'BREATHE INTO THE MOMENT'