The peregrine and all that followed

A.K.A inspiration, happiness, desire, Buddhist philosophy, and semiotic journeys

The peregrine

This morning, as I walked my dog, we neared a series of well-manicured cedars … and something flew out of them.  It looked about pigeon-sized, but it didn’t fly like a pigeon.  I like watching birds, okay?  I know what pigeon-flight looks like.  I know what it sounds like too, the rhythmic pumping of the wings that seems to push a little sigh with each down-thrust.

Pigeons don’t “kree” either.

This happened fast and I noticed most of it peripherally, but my interest was piqued, and the motion drew my eye to a nearby rooftop where a peregrine falcon was just landing. I saw the markings on its tail feathers and wing tips, and when it turned, I saw the pale breast, its feathery “pants.”

I mock you with my feathery pants.

It was beautiful, perfect even.

The words were out before I even knew I’d spoken: thank you.  The world shifted around me slightly.  My day was made.  Gratitude can do that to you.

I let Nuala sniff about for a bit.  She hadn’t noticed the peregrine, so I was able to watch.  It bobbed its head, assessing the threat.  I figured we must have disturbed its breakfast, that it downed something tasty and was having at in between the cedars.

So we moved on and let the peregrine get back to business.

I know we have peregrines in Sudbury.  In the past, they’ve nested at the University and of some of the buildings down town, but it’s not often I get to see one, and rare that I see one so intimately.

It got me thinking of several things.  In no particular order, they are:

There’s a poem in this

In my Thursday poetry posts, I often write a few words about the inspiration for the poem.  When I see something like the peregrine, and it touches me, usually there’s a poem in the moment.

If the moment is fleeting, I have to get it down, and quick, but if it has some staying power, the moment has to rattle around in my head for a few days, maybe a few weeks, gathering images and words like a mental tumbleweed until it gets so weighed down it can’t move anymore.  Then it’s time to write.

That’s what’s happening now.  Wee little tumbleweed, rolling around in my skull … 🙂


The thing that made the world shift around me, that made me utter thanks, it feels like a “ping.”  It makes me take notice.

Moments of happiness and gratitude are all around you.  You experience them all the time, every day.  Pay attention.  It really does make the rest of the madness of life easier to put into perspective.

I don’t want to sound all hokey, but there’s sacred in those pings.


Which got me thinking about want.  A writer-friend posted to Facebook last week that she’d enjoy writing so much more if she wasn’t so invested in the whole publication thing.

I didn’t want to preach, so I didn’t comment, but what I wanted to write was: then stop worrying about publishing.  Write.  Act with purpose.  Continue submitting, by all means, but don’t hang your hopes on publication.  Persistence and practice pay off.  If you’re not enjoying it anymore, then you shouldn’t be doing it.  Take a break.  Give yourself a chance to remember why you love writing, why you really don’t want to do anything else.  Find your passion again and just write.  When passion fuels your efforts, you will write amazing things.  Shop those amazing things around and someone will accept them.  But stop wanting.  Just be a writer.  Write.

Another writer-friend posted this on Facebook today:

Take the “I want” out of anything, and you’ll find the happy.  It doesn’t come easily all the time, but if you can manage it even occasionally, you’ll be a happier person.  It’s this whole wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey thing … No, that’s Doctor Who.  Sorry, obsession of mine 🙂

Really, it’s Buddhist philosophy

I read the Bhagavad-Gita not long ago, and that’s the central message of the text: stop wanting.  Stop desiring.  Be in the moment.  Act with conviction.

See the beauty, the power, and the terror (or the Krishna, if you’re a Buddhist) in everything.  It’s all connected.

Which brings me back to the peregrine.  Isn’t it a lovely little circle?

Oh, and something else

Peregrination.  Isn’t’ that a lovely word?  It means to take a journey, a pilgrimage.  Isn’t that what all of us writers do?

It’s all a wonderful semiotic mess 🙂

More insight into the mind of Mel.  Terrified yet?  Where has your mind been going lately?  Has it been going there without you?  How do your mental peregrinations influence your creativity, your art?  Do tell.