Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lesson from Anhinga

Anhinga is a bird of Florida.  I had never seen it before in my life and now I see it all the time.  The stream next to my house brings plenty of wildlife around the house and most days, when the weather is nice, I just sit outside and enjoy nature.

(the stream/canal next to my house...with egrets in this picture)

Anhinga is a beautiful black bird with a beautiful long neck, so elegant.  I was sitting out one morning having my usual morning tea when I noticed a quick fluttering in the water.  In dove an anhinga into the water and its head came up in few seconds to breathe and then it dove into the water again.  It did this a few times.  After this ritual of finding food under water, the anhinga came on the grass, spread its beautiful black wings, dried itself in the sun only to get ready for its next dive.

(photo by Sapna Gupta taken at Loxahatchee Refuge)

Anhinga don’t have oil on their wings like other birds to repel water and keep dry, and that is how anhinga can swim under water unlike other birds.  Because of this it has to periodically dry its wings in the sun.  You can read about them here.  See an anhinga in underwater action in this video (I did not shoot this - I wish I's so beautiful)

Looking at this cycle of getting wet and drying of anhinga, I was thinking to myself that I have a lesson to learn here.  Anhinga lives both in air and water, it needs both to survive.  Going under water makes it wet and soggy, but it comes out and dries itself in the sun and goes right back to what it has to do – get under water to eat!  Why can't I be like that?  I have a part of life that I enjoy and some parts of life that I tolerate and get through.  Sometimes I feel that a lot of people are tolerating a lot in life and enjoying very little of it...(although I do hope we always have lots to enjoy in life!).

On occasions there are incidents that get me a little depressed or frustrated.  This is where I need to learn from the anhinga: I should find my sun, dry myself off from these feelings and dive right back into life.  Then the big question is: who is my sun or what is my sun?  Is there something I can do that will make me feel better?  Who can lift me up when I am down?  Who can I trust enough to tell them how I am feeling?  Who will give me the right advice?  Who will be true to me and help me dive back into life?  Do I need someone else’s help to do get up in life?  Or maybe my sun is really inside me and I don’t need to look outside for help.

The last option is of course the best one.  We should look inward to make our own sun shine for ourselves, whatever our sun might be. This can be very hard for an extrovert (like me), but we have to balance our introvert and extrovert personalities so we can learn to shine perpetually.

What I would really like to ask the anhinga is whether it likes being under water or in the sun!!


Davendra Gupta said...

beautiful place and beautiful photographs.

ritu gupta said...

This is very well written and philosophical.
If the anhinga could talk, it would answer it enjoys both, being in the sun AND in the water, since each has its own "maja".
Keep writing. I enjoy reading your posts.