I did not start out today stalking the rare, elusive California quail, but what can one do when one hears unmistakable quail like noises coming from the underbrush.
I looked, I searched and I hunted the noise.
I caught momentary glimpses of them in the underbrush. I took pictures and it was like “where’s Waldo” to spot them as they camouflage so well.
The more I pursued them the more elusive they became.
So… I became quieter… and sneakier… and going to capture them on film. Still didn’t work.
So I tried a different tactic. I would make lots of noise and frighten them so they would come out of the bushes… but they only hunkered down and hid more deeply.
And then an awareness surfaced.
It was all about me. My wanting to control the situation… to “get the shot”.
To prove I was mightier than the bird.
Ohhh… didn’t feel good and yet it started out so innocently.
Out in nature, listening to the sounds, hearing the birds, taking pleasure in the walk. What was once an enjoyable experience was now becoming a quest.
How does one go from a peaceful state to the challenge of the hunt in one fowl swoop?
As I was feeling these feelings I began to realize “who was I…”
Who was I to try and make things happen? To force my presence on these delightful little creatures of nature.
They were being exactly who they were. Quail…hiding in the underbrush, protecting themselves from danger, eating, sleeping and enjoying their day.
As I became aware of my indiscretions I let go of the need to “get the shot”.
I let go of the need to see them. I blessed them for the lesson, let go and moved on.
As I moved away down the path I glanced up and running along the bank beside me, out of the bushes was a quail in all its splendour.
What a gift. What a lesson.