"I had known how to get “out of my head” since I was six years old. As one of the last Unangan to experience a true traditional upbringing, I could walk the three miles from the village out to the bird cliffs even as a very young child. There, I could be amid the tens of thousands of migratory seabirds that came to the island to breed: thick-billed and common murres, red and black-legged kittiwakes, tufted and horned puffins, least auklets, crested auklets, pelagic cormorants, red-faced cormorants, fulmars, and seagulls. I noticed how thousands of birds darted diagonally, up and down, left to right, and right to left, flying at different speeds and in different directions simultaneously without ever even clipping another’s wing. In my six-year-old mind, I decided that the only difference between those birds and myself was that they existed in a vast field of awareness rather than an intellectual thought process, although I did not use such words at the time. I wanted to be like a bird, so, after months of effort, I developed the capacity to maintain this state of “awareness without thinking” for several hours at a time. That was when the magic happened: I could sense many things I’d never experienced before, and my world expanded enormously."
Probably should clarify: the beginning of this thread about the puffins off the Bering Sea dying of starvation is definitely not heartwarming.
Like the author of the article, though, my six-year-old self had (still has) a strong spiritual connection to those seabirds.
After we'd left Alaska and I started first grade in the lower 48, I remember the kids would make fun of me and call me an "Eskimo" when they heard I'd moved there from Alaska.
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