Friday, November 5, 2010

Winter and the Nuthatch


Once or twice and maybe again, who knows,
the timid nuthatch will come to me

if I stand still, with something good to eat in my hand.
The first time he did it
he landed smack on his belly, as though
the legs wouldn't cooperate. The next time
he was bolder. Then he became absolutely
wild about those walnuts.

But there was a morning I came late and, guess what,
the nuthatch was flying into a stranger's hand.
To speak plainly, I felt betrayed.
I wanted to say: Mister,
that nuthatch and I have a relationship.
It took hours of standing in the snow
before he would drop from the tree and trust my fingers.
But I didn't say anything.
Nobody owns the sky or the trees.
Nobody owns the hearts of birds. 
Still, being human and partial therefore to my own 
though not resentful of others fashioning theirs—

I'll come tomorrow, I believe, quite early. 

I had a dream early this morning as I over slept.  It was one of those keepers. In it, I regretted that I had not spoken much to my companion parrot. I had excluded him in what was going on for me, and in our shared household.  It's not that I thought the bird would understand if I spoke;  my sense was more of an internal state.  I had not been approaching the bird as a holy other.  Given what I know about parrot intelligence and how they can understand emotions and words, I mourned that I had not communicated more. 
In the dream then I started to talk to the bird, and he sang with human words, "Let it Be."   I was ecstatic. I immediately shared the good news with my friends and family, and said, "Listen to him."  At this point the bird flew to the top of a bookcase, and started singing show tunes and talking a mile a minute in between songs.  He was focused on sharing who he was, not just with me, but with anyone who would listen.  I was so happy for him, and for what this meant to me and the world. 
Was there resentment on my part and a resistance to share him with others? Perhaps so.  I recall a bit of fear that he would not wish to share his time with his beautiful soft feathers cuddled into my heart, but would instead be flying from house to house with all his beauty and gifts while I toiled to clean up his cage and care for him.
This is so much like we humans. We are torn between holding beauty close in both our hands,  instead of nourishing beauty with one hand while reaching with the other to grasp a human hand in invitation so sharing and creative possibility.
I believe tomorrow I'll get up quite early. Although I may miss another dream of this caliber, I can meditate and open my heart to all holy others, successful I pray in becoming ever more aware of not just the dream, but the reality of interdependence.

Where do you hold back from sharing, in fear, instead of letting beauty fly free?


1 comment:

  1. "Nobody owns the hearts of birds"
    Heck, we don't even own our own hearts, those lonely hunters.
    We can get up early to watch quietly -- the birds, or one's own heart
    (there's a difference?)
    We can watch, not own.

    Best that good dreams not come every day.
    A fortnight or so between
    Affords the time to savor each one. - Meredith