in my early twenties, i worked at an outdoor restaurant where i met a beautiful and true soul friend.
during a shift one afternoon, a bird pooped on her crisp white shirt.
my friend smiled at the mess and told me a story:
when she was eighteen, her mother became very ill.
knowing that their time together was limited, her mother promised that she would show up after her death in funny ways.
she wanted to be able to bring laughter to life’s little moments.
one way she vowed to deliver this humor was through bird droppings…
her mother told her that whenever a bird shat upon her, it was to be regarded as a direct message from beyond.
so my friend and i laughed together at her soiled shirt and felt the hello.
a few years later, my friend decided to travel the world.
i was thoroughly excited about her journey, but deeply sad to say goodbye.
the day she left, i took her to the airport.
many tears fell.
in fact, so many tears fell that i could not drive safely and chose to pull the car over in a park on the way home.
i grabbed a book on meditation from the back seat and spread out a blanket in a shady spot to collect myself.
the first page i opened to suggested that i close my eyes and slowly tune in to all the layers of sound going on around me.
i reclined in the shadow of a big leafy tree, closed my eyes, and focused my attention gradually on the layers…
airplanes. wind. cars. birds. children. dogs. laughter. bees. construction. crickets.
my mind kept drifting to my friend’s departure and more tears fell, but i kept coming back to the sounds.
in the midst of this practice, i felt a wet splat on my chest.
i immediately sat up and looked down at my shirt.
bird poop. on my heart. left side. direct hit.
i stared in utter amazement. i have only been shat upon by a bird two other times in my life: once at the school carnival in sixth grade, and once while eating my first italian ice in new york city.
i knew instantly that this was another hello from my friend’s mother.
this made me laugh. and cry. and rejoice.
and i asked myself right then to remember this: