Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don't claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent. ~ Rumi

Friday, June 11, 2010


                                                     Whatever you can do
                                                      Dream you can do
                                                               Begin it.
                                                     Boldness has genius
                                                   Magic and power in it


A head turn, a shift in weight, a tail twist or expansion, a shoulder roll…I watched closely as the swallow tailed kite, (Elanoides forficatus), spiraled above and around me, defying gravity with such grace and economy of movement, all without flapping its wings. This poetry in motion is always spiraling and adjusting for direction and purpose. Sometimes a bird like this can be inspirational.

One late afternoon, as my husband and I pulled into our neighborhood, once undisturbed pine upland, we were fortunate to observe this bird’s version of an ultimate mind body practice. With its distinctive call attracting our attention, we watched it slowly descend, gliding closer to a bottlebrush shrub pruned to look like a tree. The kite flew, slowly, straight into the tree, dislodging a mourning dove from her nest and grabbed a small chick, six feet off the ground. As it exited the tree, the kite dropped the chick. Still gliding in slow motion, the raptor spiraled around and picked the chick up off the ground. We were both awestruck at its ability to maneuver around the laws of physics in such a graceful way, all without flapping its wings!

While giving tours at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, surrounded by the tall cypress and slash pines, I often describe these birds to the visitors as birds that eat insects on the wing or pick small amphibians and reptiles off the tree tops. “They don’t hunt like the hawks.” I explain. “Their talons aren’t as large and they go for the smaller prey. To drink they will skim water from the surface of a pond. You will never see them hunt on the ground.” Apparently, there is no limit to the size of the tree, no tree top that is too small and no boundary between earth and sky for this adroit flyer.

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