Wednesday, July 14, 2010

White Eyes

White Eyes

July 14, 2010

In winter

all the singing is in

the tops of the trees

where the wind-bird

with its white eyes

shoves and pushes

among the branches.

Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep

but he's restless-

he has an idea,

and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings

as long as he stays awake...

so it's over

In the pine-crown

he makes his nest,

he's done all he can.

I don't know the name of this bird,

I only imagine his glittering beak

tucked in a white wing

while the clouds...

thicken, and begin to fall

into the world below

like stars, or the feathers

of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,

that is asleep now, and silent-

that has turned itself

into snow.

Animistic trees, gods and goddesses, wind spirits, and totems birds. Mary has met them all and they are hers. How many peoples have looked to the stars and storms and known giant birds that love us, protect us, and challenge us? There is one large bird that comes to me in my dreams and in my longings. She is a large albatross and she wings over me, ready to alight if I should call out and need wisdom, comfort, or beauty close to me. Because this bird is always with me, I wish to see albatrosses in the flesh and have been scheming for years on how to get to Midway Island, where hundreds of thousands breed. Just this past week I attended a conference where there were two presentations on albatrosses on Midway. One scientist told of how the lead paint on the abandoned military buildings on the island poisons albatross chicks, killing approximately 10,000 of them a year! They began a cleanup of this lead paint, but ran out of money to protect and care for this endangered bird. But I have an idea that is slowly unfolding - a visit to the island for research, to care for the ailing chicks, and also to write and tell others what is happening. So I turn my focus to the far west of Midway, awake to the tragedy of my bird, loving and loved.

What is your response when you hear of tragedy so far from your home?

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