"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Monday, March 10, 2014


I went out this morning and fed and watered the pigeons and opened the coop.  From my bedroom window, I watched them fly and decided to go get a more unobstructed view from the front yard.

As I stood on the sidewalk watching them soar higher and higher, then spin down occasionally and speed back up, I felt some of the exhilaration a bird must feel when it plays in the air like these coop-raised pigeons do. They love to fly and it reminded me of that poem, "High Flight" by John Gillespie McGee.

It occurred to me that those pigeons may be even closer to God than I am, standing here earth bound, watching as they "slip the surly bonds of Earth
 And dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings".  They "wheel and soar" and swing "high in the sunlit silence". 

I knew, not for the first time, the pleasure that Ronnie gained from watching these beautiful birds chase the "shouting wind along".

I remembered a "pigeon gathering" we went to down near Stephenville many years ago.  It was a meeting of Birmingham Roller enthusiasts.  There was a judge present to watch the host's pigeon flock fly for competition.

This flock of twenty or thirty pigeons came out of a very small coop and flew into the sky almost as one unit.  We watched as this unit climbed higher and higher in the sky until it was almost invisible.  This took a long time of looking up, avoiding the sun blinding me so I lost interest and missed them coming back down.  These birds were Rollers, the same kind Ronnie raised, but if any of them ever performed the backward somersaults the birds are famous for, I didn't see it.

We had a great time visiting with the variety of pigeon raisers that attended, and the friendly horses waiting at the fence for us to come scratch behind their ears.

On the way home, I asked Ronnie about the way those pigeons flew so close together. He explained that it's called "kitting".  I asked how they get them to "kit".  He said they raise them in very small dark coops so that being crammed together eventually becomes "normal". When they are let out of the coop, they stay together.  He said that was one of the reasons he never  had any interest in showing his birds.  That method of training them to "kit" seemed cruel to him.  He didn't care that his birds didn't "kit".

This was one of the layers of Ronnie that I loved the most, the appreciation for living things and his dedication to taking the best care of them that he knew how.

Part of Our Flock
So I stood out front this morning, watching the flock of big red ones, black and white ones, silver ones and tan ones, (which for some reason is called 'yellow" in pigeons), crisscrossing the sky, never very close to one another, flying wherever their hearts desire, and I thrilled with the freedom that they have when they take to the sky, when they fly "up, up the long, delirious, burning blue" and top "the wind-swept heights with easy grace", and then "roll" many feet, come out of it and fly upward again.

And in this experience, I also felt a deep appreciation for the freedom that I have. It is my turn to soar, to find what makes me happy now, and to figure out what I believe this life is all about.

This is going to be a joy filled day for me and I hope it will be for many, many others too.

 High Flight -- Enjoy!

 Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
 And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
 Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
 of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
 You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
 High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
 I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
 My eager craft through footless halls of air....

 Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
 Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
 And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
 - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

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