I'm sitting outside at my neighbourhood's Second Cup, writing, reading and enjoying the summer weather with a cup of 'joe'.
As I sit musing and observing the bustling street action, I am visited by a wee sparrow; a female as revealed by her brown colouring, minus the black throat that marks the males.
The tiny bird comes within a foot from where I’m sitting and cocks its little head to look up at me from the concrete sidewalk.
I don't notice the noise anymore.
My attention is riveted on this sweet creature that is curious to see if I have any crumbs to toss its way.
The sparrow glances at me for only a few seconds assessing, quite quickly and accurately, that I am not eating anything and have nothing to share. It hops off and flies a few feet further as it continues scavenging for other edible morsels.
The bird revisits intermittently. Whether it has forgotten that it already 'asked' me, or whether it thinks perhaps I have newly acquired a baked good from the coffee shop, I do not know.
But each time it does, I have the same reaction.
I light up inside.
I feel such awe and tenderness, such love for this 'whisper of a breath' and a pang of guilt that I have nothing to offer it, that I am disappointing it.
As my feathered friend makes yet another inquiry for muffin crumbs, I observe its delicate movements and fragility. I am fully absorbed in the present moment and we each peer into the other's eyes.
I begin to wonder what it is about these encounters that transport me to a place of suspended calm.
I realize the source of my awe.
It is the recognition of each other's existence.
One life force acknowledging the other.
A poignant moment of connection.
I mentally thank my fine little friend for the precious gift and lesson it has afforded me and decide it's time to pack up.
I stand to put my notebooks in my bag and as I look up I see an elderly man trudging towards me, struggling as he uses two canes to steady himself on the sidewalk.
I pause and look directly at the man, fully taking in his being.
My heart floods with affection as I acknowledge the irreplicable life force within the human frame before me, enfeebled as it is by time.
I make it a point to catch his eye and smile widely, letting him know I am nodding to the divine spark within him.
The man's face transforms; the pained look of defeat and weariness disappears as his face beams back at me with an expression of warmth and gentleness.
For a moment again, I am fully present; honoured and humbled by the brief acknowledgment of my soul by another.