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Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Reflection

Are You My Mother?

You are being held in a wider embrace, one more ancient than your own understanding.

Celeste Snowber

In 1957, P.D. Eastman wrote Are You My Mother? which was—and still is—a popular children’s book. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all liked to pick up this book and read about the antics of these magical and fun animals and people featured in the stories and read with a lyrical rhythm.

In this story, a baby bird is born while his mother is on the ground just below the tree branch where her nest sits, hunting for food. He begins to look for his mother. He looks up and down and all around. Not finding her, he steps out of his nest and plunks on the ground after a long fall. He could walk but not fly, so he decided he would now go and find his mother.

He begins his quest not knowing what his mother looks like. He doesn’t even know what he looks like. I read the story to my children often and to myself, alone, many times. I knew I was on the same quest, having so many unanswered questions about my own birth mother in the early 1970s. On a page in the book I saw an illustration of an eager baby bird on a search for his mother where he was often sad and alone, or afraid and brave at the same time.

The newborn bird is puzzled. He must find his mother and he does not know that he walked right by her at the bottom of the tree when he first began his search. He does not see her behind the rock pulling up a worm to feed him and he doesn’t realize she is close by all the time.

Asking a kitten, a hen, and a dog if they are his mother, he becomes somewhat discouraged because, of course, they are not his mother. He begins to question if he really does have a mother, but he is sure he must have one and is more determined than ever to find her. He begins to find mechanical things like a bulldozer, a boat, and a plane.

“Here I am, Mother,” he called out. But each thing goes on its own way, with no response. Except the bulldozer which makes a loud “snort” and picks the baby bird up in its shovel basket. The bulldozer lifts him up in the air and returns the frightened baby bird back to the nest from which he came. Just then, mother bird returns with the worm to feed her adventurous, hungry infant.

“Do you know who I am?” she asks baby bird.

And baby bird did know because she was not a kitten, or a hen, or a dog, or a cow, or a boat, or a plane. She was a bird.

“You are my mother!”

The pages of the story of this baby bird summarize the same quest I had been on for many years. I felt the uncertainty and the search of the small bird was like my own. I realized in small bits that it was all right for me to search—even necessary—to make me whole with my mother.

I felt the loneliness within the search that I needed to identify, wrangle with, acknowledge, hurt with, and eventually come to accept and make peace with. It did not pit one mother against the other. They each had their own space within me.

I had a mother, different from the one I called Mom. I was a daughter who became a mother. I would bring my mother, now a grandmother, back into our family-fold.

 

 Bird Watching

She lays

Hidden for the most part

Waiting and watching

With her beating heart

Her feathered body spread

Wide in the nest, an act

Of full creation.

One Mother

Bird, two eggs

Pulsing new life

Of wing-tipped grace

Into the world

And their own special place.

Procreation and expansion

As the fragile shell

Gives way

To life seeking life.

The rhythm of life

And love goes on,

     goes on

          goes on.

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September has arrived. We have a new feeding station on our deck for the birds. There are many, including the yellow finches, who fly in regularly for their meals.

The crisp air has returned to Michigan mornings, yet the afternoons run from warm to quite hot still. We’ve been working on bringing in the lawn this summer. Tom is the main “greenskeeper.” I have helped with fill in of seed in a few spots.

Amy helped her dziadzia put up the bird feeder and fill it with food and water and the birds are grateful. They beat us to the breakfast table every morning.

Amy’s gone back to school now, but we had some fun together this summer before school time came.

We went shopping together and visited Dr. Mom at work.

The vision fairy danced for her mom.

We played some putt-putt golf.

We finished off with dinner at Culvers and a sleep-over at grandma’s. All in all a pretty good day.

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Yesterday, God sang to me. This is exactly how it happened.

I’ve been getting a lot of signs and messages lately to be aware of and increase my joy in daily living. And I have to say, with a rather simple lifestyle, that wondrous quality of joy is, indeed, showing up more as a regular resident of my day. I am quite grateful for that.

To lose one’s sense of joy is quite sad and I have walked days on the Earth with at least a greatly diminished capacity for joy. Being in fear is one of joy’s first evictors.

Here is how one of my signs arrived. I pulled Matthew Fox’s book, “Creativity” off the shelf for some randomly selected reading of his wondrous text. I opened the book to page 169, where I read the heading on the page: “Open Oneself to Joy.” These syncroniscities happen to me all the time as I guide my life more through my intuitive self.

Before I read that page though I had poured myself a fresh cup of coffee and sat out on my deck as the sun was slipping down toward the horizon. Michigan weather, after a dry torrid spell, had recreated itself into a pleasant, blue-sky sunny light breezy environment. I felt joy in the soft sensations on my skin, the sights and sounds of the fair breeze wind in the trees, the white fluff in the richly colored blue sky and the bird flight patterns and happy chirping sounds of their songs in the backyard.

I felt joyful.

Then I joined in the joy and sang a song of raise and praise to the birds. It is a song we sing for special intentions at our Monday night prayer group meetings.  This time I sang: “I praise you birds, I raise you birds, in the name of Love.” I repeated this several times over, letting my voice sift out to the trees at the end of our backyard.

Then I was quiet for several moments of enjoying the goodness of creation.

This quiet was entered into by two birds that flew a straight path from a tree limb onto the wooden deck railing exactly in front of me. They faced me directly. Then they sang a short little duet together, chirping quite exhubertantly.

Then as quickly as they came, they flew off. They didn’t even stop for a snack at the bird feeder. I was amazed….and I thanked them for their visit.

Matthew Fox says, “To know joy, we must know the heart. We must live where the heart lives. There is no other path to real joy. ”

He also believes that learning is one of the most spiritual, ecstatic, mystical and prayerful experiences available to us all. He is interested in learning the new creation story from science and cosmology.  I found out, to my own surprise, that I was too when I studied evolution and spirituality with Barbara Marx Hubbard this summer.

Fox quotes Thomas Aquinas, 13th Century Dominican theologian, that “by dwelling on creatures, the mind is inflamed to love the Divine goodness”…and that we “love and know God in the mirror of God’s creatures.”

So Fox wonders why we tend to ignore the value of creation in our lives.”Divine Wisdom first appears in the creation of things,” says Aquinas. Fox points out then, that creation becomes our doorway (direct) to Divine Wisdom.

He encourages us not to take it for granted. Not to ignore it. He says to begin to inflame the mind again to love the Divine goodness or blessing inherent in all creation.

My heart was filled last night in the experience on the patio. In fact, my heart was quite full in the silent enjoyment of creation around me before the arrival of the birds and their song.

The feeling I have about my life is that I am living from the heart. I am also paying attention to the creatures. Their presence and gift certainly inflamed me past the sense of fullness.

It was an exciting, creative moment in time.

And in return, I received a gift of God  singing through the birds!

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