As some readers may know, I am not a huge fan of wind. (There’s a pun in there somewhere!)
I understand that the wind brings in new energy, it refreshes, it cleanses, but there’s something still so unsettling about it for me as a highly sensitive person. I don’t sleep well on windy nights and I am reluctant to step outside the house on windy days. However, after finding a hat that covers my ears and doesn’t look too goofy, I now can walk and hike comfortably in the wind.
Recently on a blustery day I headed out on my hike up the steep hill near my home. I do this almost daily, and often I shed my jacket at exactly the same location on the ascent as I warm up, but this time I kept bundled. At the top, I wrapped my scarf around my ears and stood for a while admiring the view, feeling grateful for the beauty, grateful for where I live.
The rocky peak wears a skirt of green that fans out down the slopes, its frayed edges bleeding into a patchwork of fields, rooftops and roads that meet the sea, which meets the mountains, which meet the sky. Even from here I can see the ocean is frothing with whitecaps.
The wind soon begins to chill my bones so I turn to head back down the trail, but my eye is drawn to something in the air below. A small something hovers several meters above the treetops. Is it a kite? An aerial drone? It’s motionless. I realize in delight that it’s a small raptor, maybe a sharp-shinned hawk. I am accustomed to the sight of a number of huge bald eagles, turkey vultures and ravens swooping around the mountain, circling lazily on thermal updrafts. But I’ve not quite seen anything like this. The hawk is perfectly still in the air, wings outstretched.
I watch in amazement for what seems like a couple of minutes. The bird’s hovering seems entirely effortless. I see no slight adjustments of its wings at all. It seems to have found the perfect spot to rest, where the air pressure and flow are just enough to suspend it. And then, suddenly the bird drops from the air, diving swiftly into the trees. It doesn’t reappear any time soon, so I presume it caught its prey. Well done!
Once again I feel gratitude. What a moment in time to witness. How swiftly the hawk sliced through the air just by folding its wings into its body in one quick move! I am filled with sheer joy, and no words yet to describe the experience. As I make my way home though, I begin to think about it in metaphorical terms.
The whole business of publishing Walking to Japan, and now publicizing and marketing it, has been an uneven and uncertain journey for me. Although I have wonderful mentors and helpers, I am largely on my own. The whole process has been an unconventional one since Derek began; neither of us enjoy playing by the rules. But sometimes when I listen to others’ experiences, or read articles about the publishing world, I feel anxious, guilty, like I’m not doing enough, like I should be “getting out there and SELLING!” But selling the book is only important to me in that it means that more people are exposed to Derek’s message. To hurry along with that would be utterly contrary to the message itself.
I am shortly embarking on a mini book-tour in the UK. It’s paced just right, with lots of time to walk and spend time in silence, and also visit with friends. Four events in 6 weeks is more than manageable!
Reflecting on the hawk, what it demonstrated was the elegance of stillness. The solo bird seemed to be in no hurry, and when the time was right it simply dropped from the sky with its eye on the target. I am not saying that I need to swoop in on unwary prey and promote my book in some kind of canny calculated way. No, it’s not that exact an analogy. The WAITING part is more what speaks to me. It’s really OK to hang out and enjoy that feeling of floating for a while. I have done a lot to get where I am so why not allow myself some rest? And I will know when the time is right to move. It will come as naturally, I hope, as changing the angle of my wings.