My yoga instructor tells me that my breathing has been good today. It’s been said that if you’re in a posture but not aligned with your breath, you’re not doing yoga, you’re just stretching. Today I conjured Vader. Tomorrow’s practice, who knows? Every day is different.
Every day is a yoga practice of sorts. Metaphors abound on and off the mat.
I’ve been given new postures to practice. A completely new and unexplored realm, the dynamic inverse world of shoulder stands. Ee gads! Hesitant, I told my instructor that I was nervous. Not sure I could get my legs up in the air properly.
“After everything else you’re doing in your practice…this is easy,” he says.
He was right. It wasn’t that bad. Just new and unfamiliar. New positionings for me to attune to.
Speaking of positioning. Besides being blessed with the addition of new postures in my yoga practice, it seems my feathered friends would also like to bestow their gifts upon me.
Post shoulder stands and beach time, I rolled up to a stop sign with my window down to the tropical air. Suddenly, it felt as if someone had thrown a fistful of wet sand at me. A damp and grainy splat had hit my bare leg and smattered the inside of the car door. With a closer look, I realized that this was not sand, but rather a large deposit of fresh bird poo. What are the odds?
Bewildered, I stuck my head out the window and looked up, seeing nothing, of course. My bird friend was swift in flight and long gone. Amazed at the angle needed to achieve this perfect aim to reach me, I took the droppings as a sign of good luck. They say bird poop is a blessing and that offering seemed destined for me.
Someone taught Jeb the Italian slang for feces. For the rest of our car ride home – me with drying bird doo on my leg, Jeb in the backseat – he goes bilingual. In some allegorical call and response, he delightfully announces “turd'”with a rolling ‘r’ and an Italian accent. Then follows it with “stronzo!”
There we are, driving home. Shoulder stands and bird shit. Me, I’m still breathing. Deep in the excrement and smiling. Somehow feeling blessed.
My friend, he comes at sunset. Just like me, he enjoys his baths. He dips in and splashes, shakes his feathers and turns a few circles.
This routine is the same every day. When he’s done he’ll flit to the fence top, where he’ll perch and cast off droplets. He dries his beak by wiping it swiftly on either side of the wooden fence. And after a short flurry of fanning feathers – a few shivers – the song begins.
Among the saffron-colored nasturtiums, rainbow prayer flags, and pink succulents, the Shama sings his end-of-day-song to the rosy sky.
It’s a friendly lilt, high notes in rolling patterns. It makes you want to give it your own try.
It’s the bridge we have to know we hear each other. My little whistle attempt. He repeats the pattern. Ever patient, he’ll give it to me again and again. But so often the notes that squeeze through my lips can’t quite match his song.
If I pause long enough, he’ll stop the call and response and break out into his own long soliloquy. Beautiful and happy, it’s an honoring of the day. Just Shama in the papaya tree. Fresh and clean and singing.