Woodpeckers and Rhythms of Life

I was sitting quietly and sipping my morning tea in my favorite room of our new house, when a handsome feathered visitor noisily announced his presence with a few loud squawks, as if to say, “Look at me! Here I am!” before clinging to the suet feeder hanging on the small tree just outside my window.

Feathered visitors are so delightful! I love watching them, and believe they are “willing messengers for spirit”. The American Indians believed this too and Ted Andrews wrote the book “Animal Speak”, about why birds and other animals show up in our life, and how we can learn about ourselves from them.

Woodpeckers, with their rhythmical pecking, remind us to honor our own rhythm of life. In the busy, demanding, goal oriented world we live in it can sometimes be difficult to hear our own rhythm, and we can easily get caught up in the rhythm of others, or in the larger rhythm of the busy world. We can dance along to those rhythms for a while, but eventually we have to return to our own rhythm or we fall out of balance.

During the move to our new home I was not honoring my own rhythm, and after a few frantic days of unpacking, the moving boxes gradually disappeared, but I soon found myself surrounded by Kleenex boxes. I had caught a nasty cold that lasted for a very long time. I had fallen out of balance.

The red-bellied woodpecker, and later the smaller Downy woodpecker both began visiting me daily while I drank my morning tea. Their presence reminded me to find my inner rhythm and to honor it, and to remember that it is part of the rhythmical composition of the world, and without it the world might just be slightly offbeat.

I encourage you to find and honor your own rhythm. MaMuse, my favorite female musical duo, says it best in the final lines of their song “Love Poem”.

I’m a little love poem
Walking around
Doing my best
Moving to the sound
In my chest

By the way, the woodpeckers are still visiting me each morning, and are here as I write this piece.


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