Have you ever seen a murmuration? Here is a video that went viral a few years ago that is a pretty fantastic example of this bird dance. It is a flock of starlings that move as a seeming unit. Scientists call their movements critical transitions. The starlings are each connected energetically and one move informs the whole group. The only rule is when your neighbor moves, so do you. My family and I used to take long cross country car trips, and I remember as a little girl seeing this magical ‘cloud’ of birds swooping through the sky. As a kid there were miracles and wonders popping up all the time, so I never really thought to categorize these bird formations as rare sightings. I took for granted the grace and ease I was witnessing.
I sent a Valentine to one of my best friends and on the front was a feather and it said, “We flock together.” At the time I thought it was a sweet sentiment. “Birds of a feather flock together.” But do they? Birds flock with their like-feathered friends, people just flock. I thought about my friend; she’s married, a mother, lives in Texas, blonde, blue eyed, tall. Our feathers are nothing alike! I’m a single, non-mom, living in New York City, brown hair, brown eyes, short…I looked up that proverb. In 1545 William Turner wrote "Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.”
Thankfully the spellings have changed as well as interpretations. How lucky that we aren’t bound to people that look exactly like we do, fly like we do, think like we do, etc. I am part of some pretty diverse groups - different spiritual backgrounds, different race, sexual orientation, political affiliations, financial backgrounds, and even different age groups. It’s so freeing to live in a time where we aren’t dependent on our sameness and we get to express our individuality. That’s how we grow. We are exposed to other ways of living or thinking that expand our own ways. (I realize this is the ideal, it doesn’t always work out so nicely. But I believe we must recognize the progress so that it can amplify and increase.)
Feathers have nothing to do with it --it’s what’s inside, right? We connect to people based on how they make us feel. We fly with the people that bring out our best selves. We flock to the groups that accept us, that effortlessly love us, that challenge us and inspire us to be better. Hopefully our movements aren’t as extreme as the murmurations of the starlings. We are all connected, all in this together. But I hope that my ideas, practices, or movements don’t crowd out someone else’s. I hope that me taking a right turn is just creating more space for someone else, not indicating to the masses, “You must all turn to the right or we’re going to have a big traffic jam!”
Thank you to all of my diverse flocks: my online Gratitude group, my spiritual community, my fitness families, my faraway friends and relatives, (and to all of you reading!) for accepting me as I am and giving me the space to find my way in the world flapping my very unique feathers. I will keep my eyes and heart open for the critical transitions. May we all fly with more grace and ease.
I couldn’t write a blog entry about birds without offering up a chicken dish. But these crêpes can be filled with vegetables, another kind of protein, or even with a sweet filling. Create your own variation!
Chicken and Mushroom Marsala Crêpes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted,divided, plus more butter for cooking crepes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus more for drizzling
- 2 chopped boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
- 3 cups chopped mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons Marsala wine
- 1 cup vegetable broth, chicken stock, or water
- salt and pepper
Savory Crêpe Batter
Whisk together the flour, eggs, 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Continue whisking until you have a smooth batter. Add the remaining cup of milk and stir well to combine. Add 3 tablespoons melted butter to batter. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill the batter for at least 30 minutes or several hours. Stir well before preparing crêpes.
Heat a non-stick skillet or crêpe pan over medium heat. Melt a teaspoon of butter in the pan or spray with vegetable spray.
Using a ladle or a measuring cup, pour about 1/4 of the batter into the pan. Hold the pan with 1 hand and pour the batter in with the other. Swirl the pan while pouring so that the batter covers the pan thinly and evenly for each crêpe. Try not to leave any holes. After the first few crêpes you will know exactly how much batter your pan will hold.
Cook the crêpe over medium heat until the edges turn brown, about 15 seconds. Flip the crêpe using a small spatula and your fingers. Cook on the second side for another 10 to 15 seconds. The second side will not be as evenly browned as the first side. Remove the pan from the heat and invert it over a warm plate to stack the crêpes. Keep warm until ready to use. Continue making crêpes with remaining batter. Keep them warm in the oven until ready to fill.
Chicken Mushroom Filling
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add chopped chicken breasts, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring until the chicken pieces are slightly golden. Place the cooked chicken in bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add chopped mushrooms, salt and pepper. Sautee for 10 minutes until the mushrooms are golden. Add mushrooms to the chicken bowl.
In the same skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter, whisk in flour to form a roux. Season with salt and pepper. Continue whisking in Marsala wine and broth to form a gravy. Add the chicken and mushrooms back into the skillet, mixing well to combine.
Place one crepe on a serving platter, add 1/2 cup of the chicken and mushroom mixture in the center and roll up like a burrito. Continue with the rest of the crepes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary to serve.
Thank you to one of my favorite birds, Cheryl Stockton for her photography that lets my food take flight!