I’m a pusher. I get impatient and I like to try to “make things happen.”
But some things don’t respond well to force. Maybe most things.
Inspired by a Bird Nerd
While hiking in Virginia, I met a section hiker named Early Bird...because he gets up at 5am and is a serious bird nerd, with the high-dollar binoculars and iBirdPro always open on his phone. He inspired me with his steadfast commitment to walking slowly, stopping often to look around and hiking alone…all the better to see the birds.
He taught me about going down to water sources in the evenings, around 7pm, sitting quietly and expecting the birds to come. It’s how I saw my first ruby throated hummingbird on the trail.
I really wanted to see an owl, though. Early Bird seemed to spot them every other day, but they eluded me even though I heard them most nights. We were walking through barred owl territory.
So most days I would walk and scan, looking for movement, hoping to spot an owl in the trees.
But owl-spotting is one of those things that don’t respond to force. It was when I wasn’t looking, or even thinking about owls at all, when I finally spotted my first owl coming down off the Priest. I hiked out early. The woods were muffled, wet, fuzzy with fog.
I can’t say that I saw it at first; rather, I became aware of a presence over my left shoulder. I turned to look, and there at eye level, sat a beautiful barred owl, perched in a leafless tree. He spotted me at the same time I spotted him and we both froze. Eventually he turned his back to me, paused, then opened his wings and sailed silently off into the brightening day.
Allow the magic to happen
Forcing hadn’t worked to bring about my owl encounter.
Sometimes the better strategy is to set yourself up for success then expect and allow the magic to happen.
Maybe that's always the better strategy.
I’m wondering where else in my life is it time to let go of forcing and embrace allowing.