Dogen

‘There has been a saying since olden times: “No one except a fish knows a fish’s heart; no one except a bird follows a bird’s trace” …
When a bird flies in the sky, beasts do not even dream of finding or following its trace. As they do not know there is such a thing, they cannot even imagine this. However, a bird can see traces of hundreds of thousands of small birds having passed in flocks, or traces of so many large birds having flown south or north. Those traces may be even more evident than the carriage tracks left on a road or the hoof-prints of a horse seen in the grass. In this way, a bird sees birds’ traces.’ (Shobogenzo Yuibutsu Yobutsu – Only a Buddha and a Buddha)

‘The world she lives in is not mine. Life is faster for her; time runs slower. Her eyes can follow the wingbeats of a bee as easily as our follow the wingbeats of a bird. What is she seeing? I wonder, and my brain does backflips trying to imagine it, because I can’t. I have three different receptor-sensitivities in my eyes: red, green and blue. Hawks, like other birds, have four. This hawk can see colours I cannot, right into the ultra-violet spectrum. She can see polarised light, too, watch thermals of warm air rise, roil, and spill into clouds, and trace, too, the magnetic lines of force that stretch across the earth.’ H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald)

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