Being a Beginner

I have been a Beginning Birder for many years now. I adore venturing into any uncivilized setting at the crack of dawn. I don’t keep lists and if I don’t recall the name of a bird I have seen, I delight in learning it anew. The measured pace of birding walks is just my ticket for meditative breathing.

Today I got to go with guide Angel Ocampo to Los Canyones de San Joaquin outside Vilcabamba. What I drank in was the pure beauty of the lower Andes. I won’t remember the Spanish names of the birds he told me, but I will remember the perfect yellows of the tiny tanagers crossing the path, and the tawny brown backs of the ovenbirds in the branches, and the swípes as they descended to peck at the bananas they clearly loved to eat. And the six-foot wingspread of the great scavenger vultures that do such a thorough eco-cleaning of the wild environment—two of which I saw sunning their wings on the topmost cliff above us.

I am content being a beginner here in the tranquil village of Vilcabamba, writing and exploring, and integrating my Ayahuasca Retreat experience. Being a Beginner is a state of freedom. Here’s a poem of mine about the Fool archetype in the traditional Tarot deck, from my performance in Ajijic called The Fool’s Way to Joyful Aging (available on youtube).

The Freedom of Zero

Careless of danger,
I the Fool approach the precipice
holding only my white rose
scented with heaven
and the lightest of bundles.
I am the freedom of zero,
stepping to the brink.

I may ask you a foolish question.
I may give you an answer
you fear to hear.
I will mirror all your doubts,
but I will make you laugh at them.
I am your crazy teacher,
your itinerant healer,
your clown companion.
My madness is Divine.

Every day I start my adventure.
I take pleasure in departing.
I take pleasure in arriving,
and the place I love as well
is the one in between.
But how I relish the risk
of stepping onto a bridge
that is invisible!
Won’t you join me on the journey?

©Susa Silvermarie








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