Okay, my bad… On the night of the chanupa (pipe) ceremony, I got violently ill. So this morning when I awoke feeling quite human again, I got out the pipe, the prayers, and headed out to the guardian oak in the yard. It is a foggy morning here in Washington, with muted bird call high up in the big Douglas firs.

I don’t usually do pipes in the morning, so this was a surprisingly refreshing change for me. I loved being in the midst of all the morning bustle and promise. We had a lovely event this morning before I took the pipe outside: the last nestling of the second nest of robins took the big leap this morning into the big world. I’ve watched him huddle on the rafters by his nest for two days now, surprised that he was still considering his options. His nest mates were long gone, calling from the bushes for parental attention and a good worm or two or three. Still, he sat, mostly looking down, and moving not a feather or a foot. Quiet. Pondering. Scared?

I love this little bird. I, too, ponder before the big leaps. Sometimes—oh, be honest—most times, fear grabs my stomach. I used to wonder many years ago what happened if the bird never jumped? …And years ago, I got my answer. Taking down an old robin’s nest from a cherry tree in our backyard to bring to show and tell, I was startled and frightened to find laying in the nest the perfect feathered body of the bird who did not jump. It was a sorrowful, mummified little fledgling who chose familiarity over change. Deadly familiarity.

What had happened? Do parent birds stop coming back to the nest and just give up on the too-timid children? If so, maybe they know instinctively that to survive this world, one must possess the fortitude to take certain leaps no matter the level of fear. Some leaps are just flat required.

So, I was so pleased to step out to the carport this morning and find my little buddy gone. And the pipe seemed to mirror the energy of that lovely leap: all the blue smoke from the pipe blew strongly to the south—the place of growth and abundance. I smiled inside. All these prayer were headed to a place of powerful growing energy. The place where dreams are made strong and real. Thank you so very much, spirits of the South! Please take those prayers, and take my little bird friend, and make real all the positive flow toward change, toward fulfillment, toward healing.

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