As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I am exploring a slightly different approach to meditation: instead of releasing a thought as soon as I notice it, I am gently acknowledging it, asking if it has anything important to tell me, and then quietly drifting back to center.
It's a subtle difference, to be sure. But in practicing it, I can see that I've been approaching meditation with the same sort of restless impatience I carry elsewhere in my life; can see that this tiny shift is an excellent way to practice slowing down, being attentive; getting in touch with whatever is longing to be born in me.
Paired with more attention to what my body is feeling and sensing, it's also helping me be more present to what I'm experiencing any given moment, instead of immediately turning moment into story. As I look at this image in that context, the crow on the branch becomes a quietly observing presence; perhaps the birds in flight are the thoughts, either coming in or leaving -- or fluttering around, waiting to be noticed.
But what I like best about this picture, now that I look at how it's evolved, is that -- to me, at least -- there is a seated figure, a bit more golden in color, to the right of the tree, and the branch appears to be resting on its knee. I really like the tenderness of that; that sense of connection to nature, and the way the tree has of being both inside and outside the frame. It feels like a space is being created, a little breathing room -- which is pretty much all I ever really ask of a meditative practice: I was never really looking for Nirvana; just a little room to breathe...