“…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.
6 thoughts on “In Love With Fathomless Depth”
This is so beautiful. I would say beautifully written, but more than that. You have touched my soul because I can feel it. Those fleeting moments we allow ourselves when our souls can breathe. That is what this story sounds like to me. …and fitting that a bird who can fly brought this story. Thank-you.
leslie…no higher compliment in my book…to cause someone to feel what i convey.
thank god for birds and soulful moments…
I’m right by your side, sister. What beautiful words here and SO near and dear to my heart. And I LOVE pre-teen jRuth Kelly’s poem:
“heights and depths take further steps, eternity lies within…”
Wow. Gives me chills. Love you.
big hugs to you, too Kristy. your encouragement is a balm here and on your wonderful blog…
“Man, this dialectical phenomenon, is compelled to be always in motion. …Man, then, can never attain a final resting place and take up residence in God. …How disgraceful, then, are all fixed standards. Who can ever fix a standard? Man is a “choice,” a struggle, a constant becoming. He is an infinite migration, a migration within himself, from clay to God; he is a migrant within his own soul.” Ali Shariati (Quoted in Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism)
I love that string of description…”a migrant within his own soul.”
A bit on eternal life: “Eternal life is realized when the last trace of difference between ‘I’ and ‘now’ has vanished–when there is just this ‘now’ and nothing else…To see…that life is complete in each moment–whole, undivided, and ever new–is to understand the sense of the doctrine that in eternal life God, the undefinable this , is all-in-all and is teh Final Cause or End for which everything exists. Because the future is everlastingly unattainable, and, like the dangled carrot, always ahead of the donkey, the flfillment of the divine purpose does not lie in the futue. It is found in the present, not by an act of resignation to immovable fact, but in seeing that there is no one to resign.” Alan Watts in The Wisdom of Insecurity
Or from a pre-teen jRuth Kelly, poem:
“heights and depths take further steps,
eternity lies within.”
It seems I was destined to walk out of religious structures…
Appreciate your presence…