The Weather Station
1. There may be a NINTH planet, 10x the mass of Earth and 5000x the mass of Pluto.
2. We don't actually know why zebras have stripes.
3. The tiniest hummingbird built the tiniest nest, and it's incubating an egg. Right outside my window.
4. I'm more than 2/3 the way towards reaching my goal. If you've graciously taken the time to look at the Big Dreams Campaign, firstly - thank you. And secondly, asking for help and then receiving it; even when you are pointedly working for it in exchange, is a bizarre, heart-stretching, humbling experience.
While 4. is major, and I contain gratitude to the extent that it feels awkward and stilted to express, I am consumed by 3.
The obsession started a few weeks ago. We live on the first floor in a 70's-era five-story apartment building in Oakland. The apartment's fine; I've loved many spaces I've lived in - I like this one. But the south-east wall is nearly all glass, and the view is down and in to the neighbor's backyard. It's a little Rear Window, and if I ever met the neighbor directly they'd probably exclaim, "oh, YOU'RE the lady that never closes the blinds and that I've seen naked close to three dozen times in two years WTF, you have blinds I know you do." Well, your three dogs are yappy and one barks like it has emphysema, so we're even.
The backyard has a massive Tulip Magnolia, Valencia Orange and some twiney shrub I can't ID. Hummingbirds buzzing in are no stranger; it causes an immense amount of predatory posturing and gang-sign throwing from the otherwise laconic cats. If I was a hummingbird, I'd be sipping magnolias and giving the finger to glass-contained cats all day.
January was introspective, and I was at home a fair amount. I moved to CA at the beginning of the drought, and hadn't experienced a true "winter" here before. Days and days of grey and rain. Mild cabin fever with little escape. Flowers were painfully slow, infrastructure-anxiety high, but my sway to distraction slightly higher. Not much to do but puzzle over the Big Picture, (enter temporary paralysis).
Starting a business after working for and around other people for decades dredges up a lot of shit for me. Re-identity, new patterns, constant questioning. Am I working hard enough? Do I have to work this hard? Why have I been sitting in my goddamn robe for six-hours, and what is there to eat in the kitchen? Am I making any money to be able to eat something from the kitchen??
One morning when I was moving around, (in my robe), trying to get an idea of spreadsheets or checklists that would assuage my under-productive malaise - I noticed a hummingbird was repeatedly diving to a place of full stop. There it was, the teeniest perfect nest, as small as the circle of your thumb to forefinger, built securely into a wishbone lateral of that twiney mystery shrub. Far enough off the ground from the yappy dogs, far enough from the thicker tree where a squirrel could shimmy in, and reaching towards my window.
EVERY DAY, I watched. I'd run straight to the window in the morning. I'd miss it when I was at the studio. I'd come into the apartment the back way so I could stand underneath to stare up at the wishbone branch. I'd will it to not be cold at night, or for the wind not to blow too hard. I became convinced that, if this hummingbird could nest this one tiny egg and make this one big thing happen - and I got to see it! Then all the rest of this temporal, surface-level shit would be put in perspective and I'd have some answers.
It's a sunny, warm February 5th. Business is beginning to pick-up, and I spent the entirety of yesterday in the studio with piles of flowers. January's general malaise and the crawly feelings I had with it have faded. I feel surprisingly grounded. We're booking out summer weekends with weddings. We're so close to signing a new lease on the studio. The hummingbird is gone.
You know because there's a new vacancy to the perfect, forefinger-to-thumb nest. It makes me feel a little hollow, disappointed, and embarrassed that I correlated a natural phenomenon to the barometer of my own self-expectation. But. I saw it - I really SAW it.
As ego-consumed and unaware as we're helpless to in this culture, we completely miss happenings, interactions or emotions; almost as a relief-valve function. How can we answer all the emails, found a million dollar venture, work on our six-pack and be too busy/successful/dedicated to take a proper vacation if we're overcome to FEEL SOMETHING - and perhaps not akin to validation or public adoration when we cross into triple-digit likes on our social feeds?
None of this is new information. David Brooks has likely written three far more eloquent and concise books on the subject. But, this bassline thrum is what I wanted in founding Eothen. What happens when you can deeply receive something, and let it be just that? What happens when you witness a microcosm of a Life - and are ok when it's over? What happens when we stop posturing and play-acting to look around? What if it's not just about our created genius, or how far we're launching ourselves from the place we learned from?
What if the wonder and magic and awesomeness that many of us grasp for isn't something for the zenned-out, inspired or innocent? What if it's just a matter of teaching ourselves to see it again?
I have no answers, and no sense where I'm at on the sliding scale of finding them. But I know that I'm hitting on something I haven't been capable of before, which feels a little fathomless. It's also the reason why Eothen's three-months in, and there is no f*cking way I'm stopping now.