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The Kettle

Updated: Jan 26, 2020

The collective noun for a group of vultures in flight is a kettle. It came to be, that one fall evening, I had a kettle of nearly 100 of these incredible birds glide in big lazy circles above my home, on their way to roost in the huge eucalyptus trees in my neighborhood. (Side note, the collective noun for roosting vultures is a committee, and a group of feeding vultures are called a wake. Very cool.)

The warm evening felt magical, and the sheer number of these huge birds was stunning. Their coordinated and graceful flight, coupled with comedic clumsy landings, and trees limbs filled to bursting, felt like a gift.


The next day I was talking to my neighbor, and as I turned to leave, remembered the visitors. I asked, “Nora, did you see all of those vultures yesterday?” She answered with a simple “yes.” We gazed at each other for a moment while I waited for her to clap her hands and say something about the amazingness of it all, but she didn’t. So I said how incredible it was, and she said they’d been coming to the neighborhood for years. That was that. We said our goodbyes, and as I walked away, unsatisfied and curious.


It seems that it’s very easy to take something that we’ve seen or done, tasted or experienced, as common and unremarkable. However the potential of moments like my kettle, offer proof that anything that crosses our path has the to potential to inspire and delight. This was easy when we were children, but it’s a conscious choice we make as adults, a practice. Our very efficient brains process information so quickly, that if we’re not present, we’ll take note of an event, and then move on to the next thing we want to achieve.


Our souls however, are awake and ready for wonder. My challenge to us all, would be to pause when something lovely or surprising or beautiful happens, to stay with the feeling of it, so we don’t experience the event through the filter of our minds. This way, we can encounter the experience directly, allowing ourselves to be moved and effected, a witness to and a part of the miraculous.





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