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40k for 40 Days

January 24:
Day 8

40k for 40 days

January 24: Day 8

Day 8 - Sometimes, We Just Don't See it, Feel it, or Realize it Because We are Somewhere Else

For kids, sometimes it's just so simple that they can't understand why we can't see it. It's a very relevant and even permanent question and observation, "daddy/pappa, just look, how come you can't see it?"

Just this morning, 3 minutes ago, on the way to school, our eldest, 5-year-old daughter, on the back of our bike, taking in what she sees around her, is able to process and benefit so much more from everyday scenery than her daddy who is often somewhere else, on the next task of the day, lingering on the previous interaction or navigating the various concerns for the day ahead. 

She says, "wow, that's amazing, and look at all the different shapes and formats" (mixing Spanish and English, Spanglish together, but it's making perfect sense in this context). At this point, I'm feeling a little 'left behind', and even frustrated that I can't view this same beauty as my beautiful 5-year-old, and she is clearly taking it all in with wonder and appreciation. "Donde/where? " I exclaim impatiently, "I want to see what you are seeing," my head still focused on the road, cars, motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic, and other parents bringing their kids to school. "Ye, but you need to luck up papa, mira/look, arriba/up," and there it is, while stopped at a traffic light, just a slight tilt of my head and I see and connect with what my daughter was seeing without even having to look, as it was always there, just very very high, up in the morning city scaped sky. 5 or 6 separate flocks of birds, all in different formations, majestically flowing through the Spanish morning air, just there but missed by most who are not looking.

"Why are they flying in those different shapes, V-shapes, L-shapes, straight lines?" My question to this wee curious girl on the back of the bike was, "Eh, deh, because it's so much easier that way." Putting the educator in his place, as a learner again. And this wee part Irish, part Spanish, part worldly hija/daughter runs off to her classmates after a lovely warm hug, to learn more from them, and maybe a little bit from the 'other adult teachers, and their structured classes and structured learning environments.

I cycle on, hands and nose freezing with the winter's nip in the air, steam streaming from my nose as the cold and warm air collide and think about all the other lessons, I'm most definitely missing from having my head down and mind elsewhere.

On the bike and off the bike, in the sky or on the ground, human or other animals, it's the exact same, working in sync, in different natural formations, taking different turns at the front (call it leadership or just different temporary position), middle, side, back to conserve energy, move more efficiently, safely, with purpose and connection.\

I spend the next 20 minutes or so, static, off the bike, just observing as I realized looking up while cycling wasn't the brightest idea either in a heavily populated, busy city! My lesson for the day was fascinating, and I'd seen it many times before, but this lesson is in the now. Occasionally seeing the odd member of the flock, dropping back, either chilling out, finding the pace too much, or just deciding, "not for me right now", I don't speak birdie, so I can't inquire with intention of receiving an answer but what I do witness is that this one or sometimes two birds, who drop off, keep moving at their new pace and then either join in with another formation flying by or even with some other breakaway members to create this ease of flow and solidarity and a greater sense of direction again.

Sometimes I saw the groups re-joining with the bigger groups and sometimes not but rarely were they simply left alone, flying aimlessly.

We've a lot to learn about Peace of all kinds, inside and out, from simply opening our senses, tilting our heads from time to time, and listening to ourselves, our children, and our natural environments.

Being at the front, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose to be, in our interdependent and interconnected world, and learning from those who chose this position in our various formations, is important, but also from those who are spread throughout the flock, listening, observing and adjusting from time to time when Peace requires. 


Shane O'Connor



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