Hummingbirds And Mourning Doves
I am a sailor. Above all else. It follows that I am superstitious to a point. I have learned to love the desert and I have also spent good portions of my life living in rural and back wood settings. All those environs have their unique taboos. As a mariner I do not begin voyages on Fridays, I’ve learned not to whistle in the wheelhouse, I never stow cans upside-down. I always coil my lines in a clockwise direction. I am not inclined to ignore omens even when it seems silly. When I do, I pay. I did not hold the traditionally-required ceremony invoking Neptune’s blessing for renaming my last boat to ‘Seafire.’ That beloved piece of my life is now lost. There are actually sound origins for each higgery-jiggery even if the logic is long lost. We all like, even need, the notion of forces greater than ourselves. Just because we don’t understand something does not mean it isn’t so.
A few mornings ago as I opened the bedroom curtains, a hummingbird hovered outside the window. It stayed for nearly a minute, tiny black eyes staring into mine before rising vertically out of sight. I took that as a good omen. Hummingbirds are regarded universally as symbols of happiness and peace. Natives of the Pacific Northwest traditionally regarded them as spirit beings which brought healing, good luck, love and joy. The gods know I could stand a healthy dose of all the above so bring on the bumminghirds; I mean… Oh damn! Later, I sat outside with a cup of coffee as a mourning dove repeatedly flew overhead with bits of grass in its beak. There’s a nest being built nearby. Hopefully that too was a sign of good things to come. Peace, security, quietude. In a tree, at this moment, a dove is coo-cooing its morning song as I write. Ommmm… There is a place in the desert not far from my beloved Baboquivari. It is the ruins of an old mission. The doves are singing the same song there. I am transported.
Presently, low finances put few prospects in sight. I am bored and despondent. I have never before been in such a situation. There is usually far more to do than can be crammed into any day. I’m not much good at heaving-to, even in the worst of conditions, and I’m impatient to lay a course toward something important. There are books to write, films to make, photos to take, so many places and people to see and meet. Summer is passing and there’s a lot of folks out there having a good time while I sit around navel-gazing. It’s driving me crazy! Things will change but for the moment my hands need busyness. One activity prompts creative juices for other things. Boredom and inactivity inspires more of the same, as does action.
So I decided to do something, anything, get the juice flowing. Scrounging through bits of material stored away I found enough to build a storage box that will be mounted on the back of the next trailer. Dumb-assed perhaps, but I feel better. It is no big deal, nor a new career, but the simple fact of doing something is cathartic and no matter how hard you will something to happen, you must also get active. Nothing happens until there is motion. Wishing is not a dynamic force. Chances are I’ll find a trailer with a nice storage box already in place. So then, maybe someone will want to buy a really good box!
Often, when I am writing, I jog off into the internet to refresh my memory about that which I write. I went briefly to look up Baboquivari and I found this. It explains my fascination with the place and why I must return.
Edward Abbey on Baboquivari
Edward Abbey(12927-1989), a famed essayist and writer who lived in southern Arizona, wrote about Babo:
“The very name is like a dream; a hard place to get to—jeeps might do it but will be unwelcome; best come on horseback or like Christ astride a donkey—way past the end of the pavement, beyond the smallest sleepiest town, beyond the barbed wire, beyond the Papagoan hogans, beyond the last of the windmills, hoving always in the direction of the beautiful mountain.”
Perhaps I should modify my box to fit on the back of a donkey! Care to join me?
“Activity and rest are two vital aspects of life. To find a balance in them is a skill in itself. Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much of each to have. Finding them in each other – activity in rest and rest in activity – is the ultimate freedom.”
― Sri Sri Ravi Shankar