The other morning I woke up early and took my six year-old son to the store to buy milk and fresh fruit for breakfast. Little did I realize that our routine journey would turn into a harrowing encounter with the natural world.
As we stepped out of the car and into the supermarket parking lot I was cautioned by a few onlookers to watch out for a momma crow who was dive bombing anyone who came within 30 feet of her tree. Apparently her baby had fallen out of the tree and her protective instincts were in over-drive. She was making it abundantly clear that anyone who came even remotely close would be subject to her rath. I knew enough about these cunning creatures to take this warning seriously.
As result, my son and I had to take a circular root away from the tree, always looking upwards in anticipation of this impending threat. With our hands clutched tightly together we made a mad dash across the parking lot, relieved to find sanctuary in the nearby supermarket.
Later on at the check out the cashier told us that she and a co-worker were attacked by the same crow earlier that morning. My son's eye lit up as the cashier recounted the dramatic tale of how part of her friend's hair had been ripped out by this aggressive bird. This only increased the intensity of our mad rush back to the car, as we hoped to avoid the same fate ourselves.
As we drove away a growing number of curious onlookers were gathering to witness the antics of this bird, which had by now grown into mythical proportions, not only in my son's eyes but in my own as well. It was a rather magical start to our day.
Reflecting later on, I began to think about how precious and rare such moments as these are. What a gift to be unwittingly knocked out of my own little routine world into an awareness of a much larger domain, where the illusion of control is stripped away and there is an immediate sense of connection to much larger forces of life.
These are the moments that I hope to keep track of, and it begs a few questions that require further consideration; What patterns will emerge when I take closer stock of these type of encounters over time? Will this open me to a greater sense of wonder or amazement? Is there a way to regain a sense of awe in a world where everything has been rationalized or categorized and information is available in a split second?
As I ponder these questions, I do think that my trips to this particular grocery store have been forever transformed by this encounter. I will now always look at this tree, one that I have passed hundreds of times, with a completely different perspective, and perhaps with a little more reverence. This is a precious gift indeed.