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Yesterday morning, after a really fun show with the trio in Rockport, MA the night before, Shawn and I woke up in the home of our fantastic hosts and were lucky enough to experience an ocean sunrise. We took a short walk to the water’s edge and spent some time savoring those precious few moments in its presence before we had to rush home for the next thing.

I could easily spend the rest of this blog post riffing just on the ocean – the feelings, emotions, memories, and sensations that it stimulates; the billions of years of life evolving on this planet starting out there in those deep and mysterious waters; the motion of planets and moons being expressed right before our eyes.

What I wasn’t expecting was the presence of about a dozen robins, living happily in the trees there at the start of our walk.

‘Robins?!’ we both exclaimed to one another, having to remind ourselves of the fact that it was January 8th in the northern hemisphere. Yep, it’s winter alright.

It’s almost like there’s something going on with the climate…!

I noticed my attention wavering and my mind spinning a little bit, pondering the changing climate, the impact that human activity is having on this planet that is home to countless species of life, feeling sad and angry. Robins are a sign of spring, dammit! These robins are a sign of something else springing.

And then my attention returned to our walk on the path, and then on the rocks, and then the beauty of the scene that we witnessed at the water’s edge. I’m so grateful for this life, for this chance to be aware of anything at all!

On our walk back to the house, I stood for a while under the trees and watched and listened to the robins, and also the Carolina wrens (another bird species whose range is expanding). They all appeared to be healthy, doing what birds – what living beings – do.

Life adapts – or not.

Then we bid a grateful farewell to our hosts and got in our fossil-fuel-burning car and made our two-and-a-half-hour drive home to prepare ourselves and our gear for a Zoom concert, to sing and play and share about our joy and awe.

And this morning, I am remembering a song I wrote a few years back:

If I can take one mindful breath
If I can take one mindful step
I may never know what kind of change the world will see
But if I can take one mindful breath
If I can take one mindful step
Then I can remember that change begins with me

May we all take mindful breaths and steps on this one beautiful planet that we share with all living beings.

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