So this woodpecker recently became my nemesis:
Sure, maybe he does look like a sweet cutie pie who oddly resembles one of those rocket pops aging wannabe pederasts sell out of ice cream trucks at the community swimming pool:
What is not shown in the above photograph is the ferocious, thunderous knocking that begins at 6:00am on the only day a week I actually get to sleep in a bit. The best part is it sounds like someone urgently banging on my door, which reflexively blossoms every anxiety developed over ten years of living in Brooklyn. Is it a murderer? Someone delivering awful news? Am I on fire? Who knows! Note: I'm not sure why a murderer would knock but surely one has at some point and this is my delusion so don't judge.
We have a lot of birds out here at Ratna Ling. There are the manic and tiny ruby throated hummingbirds that seem to blink in and out of another dimension at will. There are turkeys that stalk the property like dinosaurs, occasionally making an obscene cackling gobble noise. There are ravens that I'm pretty sure just follow the volunteers around hoping we suddenly drop dead. I don't know why I feel that way, guess they just give that vibe off.
The turkeys at Ratna Ling are remarkably full of themselves, considering they're always mere minutes from being part of a sandwich.
Point is every one of those birds has a natural function, however weird and insipid it seems to my limited, anthropocentric point of view. When I step back, and meditation definitely helps with that, it becomes more clear. There's a role, a function, a purpose. That's something I learned at a young age but am still understanding more deeply as my life unfolds. Also, the wifi is pretty spotty out here so you just get more time to contemplate turkeys.
So after my initial panicked emotional response triggered by a woodpecker subsided this morning, and I was laying there cursing it's very being, wishing it's soul and the soul of every being it ever loved into some Hell brimming with Donald Trumps and Guy Fieri's, I finally had to realize that this was my shit to deal with.
Here I was, unbelievably annoyed by an incomprehensible expression of the universe into a singular living thing doing what it was born to do- which is apparently to peck incessantly on my cabin wall. All of these awful feelings were raging through me and I was totally mentally out of control. I just laid there, feeling really bad and wasting time - because of a woodpecker. How dumb is that?
Maybe it's some kind of sign I should have been waking up earlier to get some writing done or go for a run through the forest. Or maybe you don't believe in signs. It really doesn't matter, because it has entered the fabric of my reality and the fact is that now I have to deal with it. So I've decided to murder it. Kidding! I'm just going to see if I can not get so annoyed next week.
One thing I'm learning through consistent meditation is that every time you can bring your awareness back is a tiny victory, one step on a very long path. The concept is hardly limited to meditation or mindfulness though - it works for woodpeckers and the daily situations where it helps to step back and look at what's really transpiring, as opposed to the patterns and repetitive actions I take. It's usually embarrassing, sometimes surprising, but so far it's always been worthwhile in the end.