There is a reservoir in the farming community of Eckert, Colorado, where the greater sandhill cranes stop to rest and feed for a night in their annual migration. The landing and takeoff of these giant ancient birds is an unforgettable sight; depending on the year, they sometimes appear in the thousands. My girlfriend at the time dragged me off one March to witness the migration.
The cranes arrive in the late afternoon, before sunset, and they take off to resume their flight the following morning. They fly at a great height, beyond sight. As I watched the empty sky, I saw distant flickers, minuscule smudges so faint that I wasn’t sure whether it was some illusion of the eye. Then each flicker began to look like a comma or a period written in the sky. Each comma was a flock of five to a hundred or more cranes. As the flocks descended, I began to see the cranes as individual dots. Then I began to hear hints of their distinctive cry, a low, soft, trilling, purring sound. As the cranes came closer to where I stood, their size staggered me. With their wings spanning from five-plus feet to almost seven feet, with their long beaks and legs, they gave me the impression of pterodactyls, giant flying reptiles from the age of the dinosaurs.
The experience was wonderful; a moment of transfiguration. I realized that allowing myself to be taken from my everyday preoccupations, allowing myself to take the time to be fascinated, was as important to my well-being as food was to my body.
Losing our sense of fascination is such an easy thing to do. There are compelling reasons. When we’re not feeling well or encountering an intense loneliness, when someone we love is threatened or in trouble, when our money or work or relationships are changing—we get fixated. Fascination is one way of breaking the spell.
When we allow ourselves to be fascinated, we are for a moment, free. Whether you are captivated by the sunlight on the trees or surprised by the moon on the horizon, whether you come across a good story or a piece of music that brings you peace or helps you cry, whether you are intrigued by some philosophy of how light, time and gravity work—let yourself be caught by fascination.
It is more than a moment of escape. It is a willingness to love life. Allow those things that, like the flight of the cranes, lift your heart.
From Allowing God: Insights to Inspire and Renew the Fire of Love at the Very Center of Your Soul by Woo Du-An and Robert G. Novak