While writing yesterday morning, a loud thump on the nearby window caused me to cringe. As I feared, a tiny bird lay on the ground below. Without hesitation I grabbed my coat and a small towel. I didn't question rushing out into the frigid air. It was the right thing to do.
I sat on the bench in the cold holding the little bird against my heart uncertain whether it was in shock or dead. I held it while energetically sending it love and saying aloud a blessing for all the birds of the earth. Their presence and song are gifts often missed in life's busyness.
I held the little bird and knew I held love. As warm tears rolled down my cold cheeks it came to me. "I am a Mother. I am a mother to nature. I am a mother to the animals. I am love." This is why years ago in a state park I confronted a guy much larger than me who was throwing rocks at ducks in the lake where we swam. This is why not long ago I wept upon seeing a tiny fawn that had been hit and lay on the roadside. As we buried her, I knew we were returning her to the earth from which she came. This is why I had compassion for the tiny gray mouse found in our basement this summer . Uncertain as to whether it was dying or just digesting all the seed it scarfed down, I placed it in the shade and stroked its little body hoping it would live. When it didn't, it too received a loving burial.
Yesterday though as I held the little bird and loved it, I realized it too was loving me, part of a beautiful picture of reciprocity. This had happened the night prior as we walked in the yard on New Year's Eve. I was drawn to a tree, a tall, leaning tree. I placed my hand on it and said, "I honor you" then clearly heard, "Dawn, I honor you." My heart was touched, tears came as I stood with gratitude by this dear tree.
Memory then took me to this summer when I hiked into the Grand Canyon with a friend. We were preparing to leave after four nights camping in Havasu Canyon near the village of Supai. As Karen finished packing, a lone horse in the nearby coral caught my eye. I walked over hoping to stroke its mane when I realized it had a sore covered in flies on its back. With one hand, I kept flies away and with the other I sent healing energy to the sore while the horse and I gently looked at one another. I thought I was giving this dear animal a gift, and I was, but I in turn was being given a gift. The horse looked me straight in the eye. It was loving me and aknowledging the lover in me.
How often do I think I'm the giver, which we Southern women are skilled at, and in so doing miss the opportunity to receive and allow the other to be the giver?
Life offers both. Life offers both simultaneously, giving and receiving as the little bird was teaching me. I held the bird close and brought it inside. I determined it was important to continuing holding this tiniest of God's creatures while receiving all it had to give and reveal.
The first thing I did not want to notice but couldn't avoid was the quality of stiffness in my arms. No matter how I repositioned myself my arms held a rigidness. I was privately embarrassed. I could not relax into holding love. My discomfort was lessened as I removed the towel and allowed the bird's soft feathered body to touch my palm. I could feel its energy and warmth in my hand. How often have I missed an opportunity to receive because of unacknowledged discomfort or fear?
Next came a memory, the memory of being told my father cried whenever a family pet died. I wasn't witness to this. I wish I had been. He and I were much alike. Another memory followed, that of my sister sitting in the basement of our family home while my dog Duchess passed. I was in college, navigating such aloneness at the time, aloneness I shared with no one. I'm grateful my sister's presence allowed Duchess to navigate her life's end while sharing her aloneness.
I held the little bird and was reminded of the many times in the past two weeks of holiday hurriedness that I heard the birds singing outside and how each time hearing them made me smile inside. I thought of my parents, both of whom loved birds and how I still enjoy my mother sharing the goings-on at her feeders.
I held the little bird until 'class' was over. Now I am to digest what I was taught. The little bird died.
Under the moonlight we buried it then sprinkled remnants of beauty I wanted to release it on the first day of the New Year. Not only do I love the Earth, I collect it. At times I think I horde it. Over the grave, I sprinkled bits of earth from the little church in Chimayo outside Santa Fe where many go for healing, rose petals from my father's grave (who died four years ago this morning), red maple leaves from our yard, a smooth stone from the Oregon coast and a few hairs from Templeton my cat.
God or whomever you think of in a God/Spirit/Creator/Goddess/Life Force way thumped on my window. Now I realize the thump was more like a knock, a knock on my heart's door, a knock offering me a choice, a choice to extend myself and open my heart to the little bird lying on the ground or get busy, doing things called 'important'. I choose what for me was important.
Welcoming Life in feathered form, holding love in my hands showed me the love I Am. Welcoming Life in feathered form, holding love in my hands, showed me the love in another.
Welcoming Life in all its forms opens us to who we really are. - Love, Dawn