I was standing on the shore of the beach the other day chatting to Gabriel. Gabriel is Argentinean and I am unsure of his age, perhaps 50? He’s fit, ridiculously tanned and incredibly friendly and happy. He knows everyone in Palm Beach, literally. And everyone knows him. He lives in a cottage at the back of a very old house at the end of our street. He works as little as possible, to ‘make the most of this heaven’. He does a lot of stand up paddle boarding, he has a little sailing boat, and he spends most of his time on the water, or on the land, pottering about the beach, chatting to locals, and just keeping happy.
Arran and I both like chatting to him, he’s never in a rush and is the kind of guy with whom you can chat about absolutely anything, and he will likely have some knowledge on it. Sometimes this is the price of that new boat moored out the front, and what type of sails it has. Sometimes it’s the drug cartels in Argentina and Mexico. On occasion they are deeply spiritual conversations about our connection to nature, like which is most energetically charged rock to sit on in the National Park across the water.
The other day I asked him if he knew what time it was, and he chuckled and explained he hadn’t worn a watch in years. He uses the birds and the sun to work it out. He proceeded to explain, at 4.30am the whip birds start up. At 5am the cockatoos begin. At 5.30am the lorikeets have their go. And he continued describing all our native wildlife until about 8am, when he then said the sun takes care of the time as he can now see it fully in the sky.
I’m not sure why this struck me so deeply. I have since been pondering my obsession with having to know the time, what the weather is predicted usually inaccurately to be doing, what Trump might be up to etc etc…particularly in the mornings. We have a Power Down Hour rule in our house, first hour on waking, last hour before sleeping – no technology. But then I’m pretty quick to jump on. I started to ask deeply – why?
Thoreau says, “What is a course on history or philosophy, or poetry, no matter how well selected, or the best society, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen? Will you be a reader, a student merely or a seer”.
It is now this discipline that times my mornings, listening more deeply to the birds. Not because they are pretty, but because they are necessary to be aligned with because to truly hear and see marks the day. While I meditate, and make tea, and undertake my ritual, I am now more keenly aware of what nature and the light is doing around me, from darkness, into blue, into creamy filtered light, and slowly into sunshine. Not just because it’s lovely like before, but because I can pulse my life with it.
Sent with love,