Discover more from Life in the Real World
November 5, 2023
“Nature moves in spirals.” My qi gong teacher, Lee Holden, says it so often I find myself hearing the words when I see it in the wild. Spirals are everywhere in nature from the double spiral of the sunflower’s seeds to the double helix of our DNA.
Watching large flocks of birds is one place the spiral movement becomes apparent. This fall we’ve had enormous flocks of Franklin’s gulls. Watching them spiral, I could feel my body start to move in the same way. There is something about the spiral that makes my body want to dance.
It’s harder to capture it in a photo, but occasionally I catch one that does it justice.
You can see the spiral when you watch the flock horizontally, out in front of you. You can also see the spiral when they swirl overhead:
We too move in spirals. I used to use the term “full circle”, I even used it as the name of my golf business in what now feels like a former life. More and more I realize the spiral is a more relevant shape. Yes, we go around the circle, but when we arrive we are not the same as when we started. We’ve taken a step, made a shift, and now we are on a different plane even as we start the circle again.
There are spirals in even the tiniest spider web. The shape of the feather’s on the titmouse’s tuft form a spiral curve.
When I get out of bed - and sometimes before, especially when it’s cold and my bed feels so cozy - I do some spiral movements with my hands and feet, swirling life into my joints. The swirl often rises from my fingers and my wrists to my elbows, to my shoulders, and into my hips. My body likes to move in spirals.
My brain often moves in spirals too, moving easily down a track from one topic to another, making associations not always obvious. This was not - and still is not - always welcome. In a world of “show your work” and “how did you arrive at that conclusion”, a spiral train of thought is deemed “unnatural”. Except, it isn’t. My best ideas come when I let my thoughts move in non-linear ways. I wonder how many great leaps of understanding follows a spiral curve?
Birds don’t fly in a straight line. Nor do butterflies, bees, dragonflies or any other winged creature I’ve observed. Straight lines would be far easier for predators - and photographers! Leaves don’t fall straight to the ground, rather they float, spin, and spiral on the wind.
One of the challenges with spirals is you don’t know where they might end. Perhaps they have no end? This reminds me of a hymn sung in the church I grew up with that ended with, “As it was in the beginning, tis now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen. Amen.”
The spiral is a symbol of the never-ending and ever-changing dance of life. It is the movement of water, clouds, birds, emotions, and the life-force within us. I love that the creator put them everywhere for us to see that this is not a flaw but part of the beauty inherent in life.
Just like that spiral, I was having a hard time figuring out where that writing was going - and finding an end. I still haven’t gotten through all the Franklin’s gulls videos. I haven’t even gotten to the day with 10,000+ yet! I’ve been working on doing things in smaller pieces when they are overwhelming, and hours of video is overwhelming so I decided to just go through the first bit. I may yet find “better” videos in the mix - and I trust you’ll enjoy them just as much when and if I find them.
Take good care of your bodies, hearts, minds and spirits friends. May your hearts dance with the spiral of life.
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