“…absurdities arise when we think that the kind of language we use or the kind of logic with which we reason can really define or explain the ‘physical’ world. Part of man’s frustration is that he has become accustomed to expect language and thought to offer explanations which they cannot give. To want life to be ‘intelligible’ in this sense is to want it to be something other than life. It is to prefer a motion-picture film to a real, running man. To feel that life is meaingless unless ‘I’ can be permanent is like having fallen desperately in love with an inch.” Alan Watts – The Wisdom of Insecurity
My life insists I release permanence. The sense of assurance that I’m building something that cannot be broken down by life’s worst tides falls away as surely as the robin in my chimney, fluttering, fighting, resting, hoping, fluttering. I was awakened one morning this past week repeatedly to this odd noise. 5:30 a.m. flutter, flutter. Morning dawns and I wander down from the attic, stumble for coffee and the fluttering again. I had assumed it my cat insisting on coming into the house. No, this came from the chimney, a bird’s unmistakable panic, down too far to find the way back up and out. I had children to send off to school so I waited.
Coming home from taking my boys, I let my cat in only to hear my daughter burst out of her breakfast chair, yelling “noooo! get her out!!!” as she runs to grab Eesa. I had forgotten the bird. I walk into the kitchen to see the robin looking at me with the utmost dignity. Misplaced, stuck and the first impression is that I’ve been graced with the glimpse of something rare. I know, it was just a bird in my kitchen, big deal. But it struck me as we stared at each other. I’m stuck too. And making the most of it, awaiting life’s tide to move me along as I do anything I can to facilitate release. So, we stared at each other, that bird and me. I was riveted to the way a kitchen morphs into a monstrous mutation of life in the presence of a simple bird, amazed at how much I felt resonance with a bird staring up at me from a floor unworthy of the wilds.
My daughter returned to the kitchen and retold the tale. The bird flew from chimney to kitchen as she ate, and she waited for my return to figure out what to do, while she ate and the bird sat on our floor, resting.
I donned rubber gloves and approached the bird. The creature let me get right up to him. When I reached gently, that was the end of it. But he landed on my table exhausted and allowed me to pick him up. No resistance. Just waiting. No panic when I reached this time. There’s only so much you can do when trapped. Allow the greater force to take you along. Ever talked to a bird in the hand? It’s good medicine, the warmth, the sense of wildness gracing, knowing you’re speaking most to yourself but thankful for the listening promise.
When I walked outside the fluttering commenced against my hands and I opened them. The energy and warmth in that bird was powerful, gifting me. He flew straight and strong to the closest tree, singing.
It’s difficult not to be concerned with the future right now. It’s been difficult for a long time. The opportunity to strengthen the muscles of release abounds. What kind of release? Release into the moment. But there truly are times of being trapped. Like that bird. Like my own situation with limitations daunting, insisting I wait until the path of release is more clear. You can only flutter and wait. But the fluttering is exhausting. It’s a “fits and starts” reality of progress. The bird gave up. Allowed. Life took him out. But that’s not always the case, is it? Sometimes we die in our traps. It’s that brutal, life. But it’s that beautiful too.
“Here is the mysterious real world which words and ideas can never pin down. Living always for the future, we are out of touch with this source and center of life…”
The good news? I know intimately the moment, the pulse of connection to the wilds within and beyond in those who are learning to let go and let life while awaiting the opening of a door, or the strengthening of muscles to tear down the walls. But freedom is within…
Let it be.