Just as we have spikes of events in our personal and collective cycles, so also does the world of nature.
Summer visiting birds spend weeks of their short lives flying from Africa to the UK and Europe in spring, returning there in the autumn - major events in their peaceful world of feeding, breeding and living. The challenges they endure on these long journeys are huge and many do not survive, but it is all part of the regular and predictable cycle of their existence.
We think our own lives are unique and unpredictable and in certain ways they are as we make our choices of learning and experience and then move on, with periodic highs and lows, times of activity or major change interchanging with calm regularity. The pattern can seem sometimes chaotic, certainly unplanned, but looked at with detachment there is an order to it which is beautiful.
Shakespeare wrote about the seven ages of man, and it is a part of what I am saying, but there is more to it than that: it is about endings and beginnings, soul growth, initiation, karma, astrological influence and playing our part in the Plan of God. While we may not invite or undergo change with the measured frequency of wildlife, we share the same sense and experience of symmetry.
I have much joy each year in watching the birds return, and it has been the greatest pleasure to observe them making the most of a mild and insect-full summer where I live. This morning I awoke early, in time to see the swallows and house martins massing over the fields besides my house, preparing to leave us once again. I will miss their presence very much, but was grateful to have been a witness able to wish them well with all that lies ahead on their journey. If, wherever you live, you happen to see birds preparing to migrate for the winter, please give them your blessing. You may wish to bless and give thanks for your own wonderful journey also.
Further spiritual teachings are available in Claire Montanaro's book Spiritual Wisdom