by Renee Seiyo
“I see one on the branch. He sees me. He’ll come.” I said in a whisper with arms outstretched, palms up, and holding several sunflower seeds for the chickadees. That is the scene on the chickadee path. Everyone who walks this path knows this is the posture we take to have a chickadee land on our palm and eat the seed from our hands with outstretched arms and palms up.
We have many parks and trails where we live. Our town is known as “Trail Town USA.” A big sign, to let you know that, greets you as you enter our town. The many parks attract visitors from all over with their beautiful gorges and many walking paths, lakes and ponds, and the Erie Canal. However, there is one park, in particular, Mendon Ponds Park, which is a fairly large park with many different areas of interest. One of the areas in Mendon Ponds Park has a path called the Chickadee Path which can stretch for one to three miles.
Those who come to walk this path come hoping to have the chickadees feed out of their hand. The path is like walking through a deep forest, with small bridges over some swamp areas, cattails and much of nature’s interesting foliage within reach. “If you stand over on that bridge you might see some chickadees, it’s a good spot,” say two walkers passing by.
Without at first realizing it, during our chickadee expedition, we are practicing stillness, oneness, nowness, quietness, and patience. We walk the path with gentleness and awareness hoping to have a little bird land on our hand. Hoping to leave the world behind, if only for a moment in time, by the joining of our little-feathered friend who awaits our coming for his sunflower seeds.
When a little chickadee lands on my palm, there is a feeling of complete joy that washes over me. Time has disappeared and I am only aware of this joyfulness. The chickadee only stays for a moment, long enough to grab two seeds and fly off to the next hand that anxiously awaits him. But, the joy stays with me for the rest of my walk through the park.
How is it different from our walking the path to enlightenment? A shared interest, a common goal where we practice stillness and patience. We hold out our hands, which represent trust or faith that our call will be answered. The call to awaken. To be One again. The chickadee path is a reflection of that longing. We walk together as on the chickadee path…you and I, on this journey home.
The chickadee path is a mystical place. It’s a place of trust and faith where people come to share a single purpose. To step out of time for just a moment, or several moments strung together. Joy is painted on everyone’s face when their statue stance is accompanied by the little chickadee perched on their palm. Their joy also extends to all who stop and look and wait at their moment of being in the moment.
Renee Seiyo Sensei is a Lay Minister with Bright Dawn Way of Oneness Sangha. For information about Bright Dawn and the Lay Ministry program please visit our website.