Cormorants on rock in Pacific storm

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.” Lao-Tzu

I saw a group of birds off the wintery coast, cormorants, framed by the churning of the Pacific. It struck me how nonchalant they were as they preened in the midst of a raging sea. Where we might crumble under the power of these swells, they weave their patterns on waves and fling themselves into ocean currents, in rhythm with the tumult.

I watched an orb spider repair an autumn web. When you consider that a cloud burst or the brush of a hand can destroy hours of labor, it’s astonishing to watch their resilience in motion — just the claw of the spider, hooking and wrapping each line, repeating the cycle every time the silks fray.

Sometimes, a bird silhouette on a Pacific crest reminds me to be all of these things — resilient, adaptive, fluid, spontaneous — especially when I’m finding it hard to accept whatever is in front of me. Maybe our wild brothers and sisters are acutely aware that existence is ephemeral. Or, maybe it doesn’t matter because they are simply living the change, as a flighted or silken being in a world where the only certainty is a clean feather or a perfect spiral web … for just a moment.

It’s such sublime place, this planet, in a life punctuated by immense hardship. I know we’ve all been through a collective heave these past two years, on top of the normal strains. For my friends who’ve been struggling with pain and loss this year, I wish for many better moments in 2022, laced together into days of more peace, more healing, more respite. I hope the next year brings health and wellness and love to everyone. And in the best of worlds, let it be truly transformative — where all future possibilities and hopes become apparent through the alchemical smoke of what used to be our 2021.