HeartNote, January 6, 2019: One Minute with a Seagull

It's a poor custom that writers use the singular pronoun as the subject of any writing. But what happened today was cool. And I thought I should share it.

One of my promises to myself for years now was to stay in the moment. It takes practice.

But the biggest practice is stopping yourself to notice. You start with the mundane. And you have to stay in the state of "noticing," for more than a half second. To give you a list of noticing that takes a half second or less, for example, start here: finding your keys, brushing your teeth, putting on the right socks...you get the idea. Half second. Repetitive actions through every day that are part of the routine because we put them there. We don't notice. We just go. Do it. Next task. Move it, move it, move it.

Saw a friend for coffee today. Went back to my car. Started it up, looked behind me, and as I craned my neck a seagull was flying over my car. I have an old convertible. Top was down. There was the seagull.

This is not a big deal. I live twenty minutes from the ocean. I was about three blocks from it today. Seagulls are like beach pigeons with really long beaks and a cool wingspan. Seen them for forty years.

But I just had to look. I had to stop. I just took one minute to watch this bird directly overhead, thinking that maybe I should put the top up just incase the seagull unloads a big one onto my car. Think pigeon poop is bad? Seagull poop can burn through paint. Think of that what does to your hair.

I kept looking. Such a beautiful bird. They fly with a swooping motion. They can drop in a direct line from the sky to twenty feet below their flightpath and take off into an entirely different direction.

Today I took a second to watch that bird and risk my hair, scalp and paint job. One minute, a gaze on the bird, and about six deep breaths. The drive home was easy. I was relaxed.

I don't remember all of the conversations I had. I don't remember the names or faces of the people that handed me the coffee. I don't remember what my friend was wearing while we drank our coffee together.

I'll always remember that bird.

And now I'll remember how to pay attention to my friend's outfit and the faces of the folks behind the counter.

I have to look at them, for one minute, just watching their presence as I did the seagull.

Please do that tomorrow, OK? One minute on something. Doesn't have to be a bird. It can be anything from a cloud to a bannister. Just watch. Experience. One minute.

That's it. Let me know how it goes.


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