Moments Of Grace: To Fly


Musings / Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

I have been staying with my parents ever since India’s lockdown began after the Kannada New Year of Ugadi. Unlike my little apartment, theirs is a sprawling two-story house with a marvelous terrace. 

During these last few weeks, that terrace has been a solace for me on sultry evenings. I escape there after a day spent working in the stifling heat of my bedroom. These last few weeks have been chaotic, jumbled, messy, and complicated for a lot of us. We are trying to find the beauty in the anxiety, but I know we struggle every time we open the newspaper or watch TV or scan the news online. 

How can we lessen that struggle? How can we be brave and make friends with our anxieties? I don’t know about you, but I like to find moments of grace. Moments of being. Moments where we can just allow our life to fall away, the water of all its memories slide off our weary backs, and we just pause and see the grace still there. Here. Everywhere.

My moments of grace came through a pair of mynas. 

A huge white house is right in front of the terrace. The house looks startlingly bare – just one window carved into its sheer wall. I have never seen the neighbors who occupy this house. But now I have seen them. The non-human neighbors. 

Four mynas are occupying the chimneys that jut out of the walls. Two for each chimney. Yesterday, one half of the mynas group was busy building a nest. While one myna kept watch, the other busily got twigs, scurrying inside the chimney.

mynah nest building
mynah

Meanwhile, the other two mynas from the other family would just observe. Was the nest-building shoddy? Were the twigs not of the highest quality? The nest-building mynas didn’t care. Every now and then, they would hop on to the ledge to sip from the rainwater accumulated there. 

I watched them in bits and pieces through the course of the day. In the evening, when I went up to the terrace, they were done for the day, resting on the ledge. As darkness slowly melted into the sky, they disappeared inside the chimney. I sighed and with mosquitoes buzzing around, I started to make my way down. Then, suddenly, one of the mynas came out of the chimney. For no reason at all, he made a wide loop around me, swirling arcs of fluttering wings, before landing on the roof of a house under construction in front of me. We stared at each other. A hawk in the sky. A human on the ground. A myna on the roof. The moment stilled into silence. 

And then he danced his dance, flying into the chimney. It was night officially. And I had been graced with the sublime beauty of the Universe. 

My day had been all deadline-driven. Words and sentences to be carved and chopped into precision. Invoices and taxes to be pored over. Sickening thoughts of “Where’s the next big project?” or anger-driven thoughts of some idiot or the other in my life. 

But none of those mattered during those moments of grace when mynas showed me to build a nest and, more importantly, to fly for no reason at all.  

This was the bonus:

sunset in bangalore

Have you had your moment of grace?

14 Replies to “Moments Of Grace: To Fly”

  1. Lovely, Smitha. We have a feeder hanging outside the window. Each morning as I drink my coffee, I watch the tiny red house finches eat. They swarm the feeder every day as if this is the only food available to them. Every now and then a tufted titmouse arrives, or a downy woodpecker, the names of which I did not know before this pandemic. Before I had the time to sit and watch the world around me. These are indeed moments of grace.

    1. So lovely, Suzanne. Those images. So thankful for your blessed ability to write. :-).You give us moments of grace with your words.

  2. There’s so much serenity in this post! 🙂
    Birds, animals and even children seem to find such moments of grace more often than us adult humans. They are able to allow life to fall away, as you say, and live in the moment. Why is it that we struggle so hard? We have to consciously remind ourselves to do this, else we find ourselves overwhelmed. What is this ability that we outgrew?

    1. Yes, Restless. Thank you for reading. I feel funny writing “restless” when I see so much serenity in what you write on your blog! I wish I knew the answers to your questions, but I am glad we are asking the questions. Sometimes, I think at the end of my life, I won’t be worried I don’t have the answers – I will be terribly disappointed if I never asked the questions that matter. That’s our grace.

      1. I headed here to check if you’re written anything new and then saw your reply!
        When I look at myself, I see so much churn and turmoil, restlessness. I consciously work towards attaining serenity and conveying that in my writing. So glad to hear that it comes through!
        Btw, this reminds me of the duck metaphor. Calm on the outside, paddling furiously on the inside. Maybe that’s what I am. 🙂

  3. Beautifully written the amazing, pure lifestyle you witnessed. I am all smiles reading this and almost visualising it. Good you clicked pics and shared. We have so so so much to learn from nature ❤️

  4. There is a certain anointing for all of us when we take time to observe living creatures, especially the non human kind. Moments of grace then just pour out and I am constantly awed at the wonder of création.

  5. Beautiful, Smitha.

    I find moments of grace in nature, a beautifully written sentiment, and sometimes in the deeds of others.

    I have been frantic lately. I am fostering 4 kittens. A friend captured them and the momma. She got the momma spayed and then realized she had to take care of the kittens. In the beginning I told her I could not foster the kittens because it upsets Hanuman to have strange animals in his home.

    4 days latter, I get a begging text. My friend can not handle the kittens anymore. She’s stressed and going crazy. She’s crying. Please find someone to take care of the kittens. Like I can magically pull someone out of the hat to take on the responsibility of 4 lives.

    I broke down. I felt sorry for the kittens growing up in that frantic atmosphere. I told my friend to bring them to me.

    I have only myself to blame. But I have been feeling animosity towards my friend dumping her responsibly on me. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    The kittens are a huge amount of work. Don’t eat dry food yet. They get the can food all over their faces and feet. They, their cage and litter box need regular cleaning through out the day to promote good grooming.

    The moment of grace is when they are all asleep on my chest and shoulder. Now and then an angelic face looks into my eyes. Deep sigh. These precious little lives.

    1. Wow. Thank you for sharing this, Karen. Only you would be able to take all those kittens with the love you have – never seen anyone else as good with animals as you. I am glad they are there. Hanuman might huff. But those kittens have a good home for now.

  6. I love how you define the myna moments as that of grace. What a great way to look at them! Isn’t it so calming to watch them flutter about their activities? So glad you wrote it down.

    Where’s the star on a scar in the last photo?

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