We live on the banks of a large lake. Very early one morning, two giant birds with wingspans of almost five feet across landed in our backyard near the water’s edge. We are accustomed to seeing ospreys on platforms atop sky-high power poles. They are protected, and the power company aids their nesting by adding the platforms. But, we had never had these visitors in our yard. Using their talons, they grabbed a stick or a bunch of straw and headed to the top of a nearby large tree. It was breathtaking to watch.


Every morning after that, as we watched the dark news on the TV at 6 a.m., these giant birds repeated their practice of grabbing sticks and straw and then heading to the tree to construct a giant nest. Working for a short while on nest construction, they then headed out over the lake to hunt for the rest of the day out of our sight.


But then it all changed. It seemed the nest was finished, so their hunting was done in the water straight out in front of us. We watched as the birds would dive in a straight fall into the water, talons first, coming out with a fish. Instead of flying directly to their nest, they would soar in a large circle as if parading their achievement. One day we had a strong wind. The ospreys spent an hour reinforcing and repairing their nest. They seemed determined to prepare for the birth of their young with strong fortification and adequate food. They appeared uninterested in their competition with hawks, unfazed by the threat of an occasional coyote.


What would life be like if I followed the practice of the osprey? I would get up early and take care of my nest. I would fortify it with the gifts for living, not just the necessities for survival. I would prepare my heart by feeding on happy thoughts, great music, a brief prayer of thanksgiving, and a conversation with a loved one. I would feed my mind by working purposefully but taking time to breathe and reflect. I would occasionally pause for a vigorous walk through the neighborhood or a short, enriching boat ride along the shoreline. I would serve my nest of colleagues and clients by bringing them my best, most passionate contribution. And, like the Osprey, I would give up just flying and start soaring.