This morning I pulled into my company’s parking lot and stopped the car and began to pray. This “Parking Lot Prayer” is a new practice I recently started mainly since embarking on “in11months”. In this new morning tradition, I usually ask God to give me strength to get through the day at this job in which I work in your typical Dilbert-esque cubicle world with no windows (added bonus – there is also an actual factory attached!). In addition, I ask him to give me guidance so that I can find and follow my passion, be a better person and lead a better life. Today I specifically said, “God, give guidance so that I may be nearer to you, so that the work that consumes me puts me with you at all times and doesn’t separate us.” Referring to the fact that I have to go inside this building with no windows all day long without any connection whatsoever with the natural world and rendering me nearly spiritually impotent. Just as I uttered that request, everything went kind of dead for a second and all I could hear was the sound of the huge fan exhaust system that blows the fumes of chemicals from our plant outside and then suddenly out of nowhere I heard the chirps of hundreds of birds, beautiful little chirps not distinguishable but certainly some type of shorebirds. I felt a warm sensation come over my body like static electricity and a voice inside my head said “Like this? Do you want to hear this? Listen to the birds singing? Do you want to listen to this?” “Yes!, yes!!!, yes!!!!! of course!!!!,” I said out loud. This is exactly what I want to be listening to and experiencing. And the first thing I thought of was that I AM a photographer. Why couldn’t I get back into photography…nature photography….and that way I could be “working” and spending time with God. Then, all of a sudden the sound of the beautiful chirps surrendered and the obnoxious hum of industry hustled its way back into my conscience. But on my way into the building as I was fumbling for the key fob for the back door of the building, I once again gave one last sigh and asked God for strength to get me through the day. And then from nowhere the chirps were summoned and I looked up into the sky and there they were. A whole flock of birds I do not commonly see…in fact I had to look them up and I believe they were Swallow-tailed Kites. Still not sure…but they were magnificent and they flow over me about 50 feet and sang their song – which by the way I believe most people would have thought sounded more like a bunch of angry shrills from disgruntled seagulls. But these were not common seagulls and to me they were operatic.
Well, this “experience” doesn’t end here….
Later in the morning I had to research something and pulled up Google and I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! Google’s logo (Google Doodle) today was an image of a group of American birds all perched on branches.
Today, as it turns out is John James Audubon’s birthday!!! Audubon was a French-American ornithologist who spent much of his life in Pennsylvania (very close to where I grew up in Pennsylvania!!!!), studying birds extensively and creating original drawings of his field observations. How weird………..
See: http://www.audubon.org for more information.