Swan Dive in Nature Time
by Randy Eady
Here I am sitting on a park bench in the outskirts of West Cologne's grüngürtel (Green Belt) of "open meadows and embedded water surfaces" that make up about 800 hectare acres (400 of which is forest) interlaced with accompanying foot and bike paths.
Decksteiner pond and Adenauer Weiher, (meadow) whose excavations were piled up into hills offers a "protective zone" for the overpowering brown coal and chemical industry in the adjacent foothills. It also attempts to weaken the emissions (and soften sound) from autobahns A4 and A1. Particularly well developed in this quarter of Cologne: a large sports complex which support the Deutsche Sporthochschule (German Sports University), Cologne soccer stadium and many swimming pools and other athletic facilities.
I point this out -- as I watch a swan dive and the autumn light triggering the nearby chestnut trees that border the pond -- to shed leaves.
A "Swan Dive" in the dictionary is customarily defined as: to decrease suddenly and decisively; plummet. Sounds out of control doesn't it?
Yet swans are adept at precision balance. As well as a wonderful illustration of just one of the many water-adapted birds that dive (or more accurately tip) from the water's surface.
Why would this notion carry such a distortion? I was curious.
I also wanted my sons to "experiment" with a sand-timer (to sense time in a physical way) and see how long the average swan dive was. I didn't realize, at the time, that the two concepts would flow together.While watching the children tip the "timer" as the swans dunked their heads under the water (presumably to feed), I began experiencing a meditation on natural and unnatural. I felt the webstring move with me through the grains of sand. The natural flow of time felt completely comfortable to me and there was a vivid feel for the rhythm the swans were dancing to. I then realized a profound release on numerical (un-natural) time as everything around me was simply happening...getting done. The leaves falling were piling up on the earth as the grains of sand filled the bottom of the tube.
I was surprised at how much "time" had actually elapsed after this momentary encounter with the webstring flow in nature's rhythm. The grains seemed to cascade in slow motion.
I was reminded of an era before the mechanical timepiece was created when people woke up with the light and went to bed as darkness fell, following circadian rhythms — their very own internal sensation of nature's rhythm churning in their body, the same chemical "moment keeper" found in those trees -- and every living thing.
The only difference: plants and other animals have stuck with the naturally prescribed program.
It was then that I recognized how rhythm can be very important to sense webstrings of connection that link nature.
If you want to make an activity alive, seek the rhythm in it.
Note 1. I created this activity while conducting an Identifying Webstring Intelligence Assignment for Project Nature Connect:
Webstrings are simply a way to appreciate how "natural systems organize themselves through connections that increasingly weave, balance and repair the web of life. These can be referred to as webstring attractions. Moment by moment they create additional experiences that ‘feelingly’ register in our consciousness as sensations we call senses." People inherently experience them but often learn to ignore or squelch them. This applied "nature permissive" eco-psychology activity enabled the process for us to think with, and use this re-aquainted awareness, in supportive ways.
Note 2: I'm currently assembling data to use a pedal-free balance trainer to apply a Nature Therapy technique (such as the swan's exhibited) to help children "breech born" (feet first) with balance re-integration. Breech birth is often an indicator the inner ear/auditory cortex needs additional bi-lateral training (and well-timed development) to function at an optimal level by 60 months of age. (see Flight Plan Lesson Loop).
I first discovered this connection with the many seniors in my tai chi class that had problems with balance. An informal polling showed many in this later span of life -- that were having problems with coordination and balance -- were also born breech. . .