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Posts Tagged ‘bird’

Sometimes I want to be anywhere but here,
but today, I let myself feel it all.

I go to the river covered in ice,
and move along the bank until

I find the open places where the dark-feathered ouzel
chooses to submerge in the cold, cold water—

It doesn’t hesitate to plunge into frigid depths.
It knows it was made for this.

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No French hens, but
the Stellar’s jays arrived
at the feeder as always
in a squawk of bright blue,
inquisitive, cocking
their crested heads
and letting their dark eyes
take in everything.
Everything, no matter
how dingy, how small, is worthy
of their attention,
even the black seed, even
the wind, even the bark,
even this woman standing
in the snow, listening.
 

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Think less: Trust your inner animal.
            —Holiday Mathis, Horoscopes by Holiday, December 19, 2020


It’s the chickadee
that saves me today.
Though the world
gets cold, the chickadee
stays. Despite snow.
Despite frost. Despite
lack of sun,
it doesn’t leave
the winter land.
Oh tough little bird
who sticks around,
who thrives
in any weather—
who’s cheerful tune
spirals like hope
through the frigid
folds of December
as if to say let it come.
I can sing through
anything.
Let it come.

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Getting Ready

What might you need to let go of or “clean out” in order to make room for wonder or joy?

—Kayleen Asbo, Advent and the Arts: The Week of Hope

Just today I walked

in the shadows

and noticed how

they scrubbed me

the way silence sometimes

scrubs a room.

Wonder rushed in.

It wasn’t that I was trying

to keep wonder out,

it’s just that with my schedule

and rigor, I hadn’t left it

space to enter.

If only with mop

and broom I could sweep

out anything

that would keep me

from wonder, from joy.

Instead, the world offers

shadow, stillness,

quietude, loss,

and a red-tailed hawk

in the heart,

circling, circling,

wondering what

it might subtract next.

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IMG_6144

 

 

Today I take the courage I don’t feel

and the resilience I doubt and

all my unspent longing to serve,

and I bring them, cupped in my hands,

to the garden. They nestle there in my palms

like three baby birds that have not yet

opened their eyes. I take them to hear

the pungent song of the garlic shoots

and the thriving chives who chant

how to survive the winter.

I bring them to hear the strawberry leaves

who sing how to flourish despite the frost.

and the old song of chicken manure

and composted grass that hum about

how old life begets new life.

And they open their tiny beaks,

as if they could eat the green song.

How vulnerable they are.

So I open to the song, too.

I do what must be done.

I take in the nourishing song,

and feed them with my own mouth.

 

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IMG_5973

 

 

Even as the snow was falling,

the birds in the branches

kept singing into morning,

easing their bright notes

into the thin gray spaces

between snowflakes.

 

There are days, imagine,

when the birds go unheard.

And it isn’t for lack of song—

the single note chirp

of sparrow, the bass of raven,

the chickadee’s hey swee-tee.

 

Some gifts come only

when we stay in one place,

come only when we are alone,

come only when we stop praying

to be somewhere else and instead

pray to be here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And while I am at it, I should like to send you

a postcard from the shores of my body,

wish you were here, it is warm and there

are so many places for us to explore

together—but even as I write these words

the letters grow ink dark wings and fly

over the sea, a colony of cormorants,

silent as they soar, and I a beach with no footprints,

the waves lapping, everywhere the scent, the sting of salt.

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And so, although

there’s so much

work to do,

I step outside

and let February

have its way

with me—cold,

dusted with snow.

Hard to believe

anything can grow.

But singing high

in cottonwood trees

are the chickadees.

 

It’s not hard

to think, This

is the most

important thing I

can do today.

I think it

until I forget

to think it,

until I am

simply standing there

in winter air

pledging my ears

to the sound

of the birds—

 

such a simple

song. Funny no

part of me

longs for other

work. Funny how

soon it becomes

everything.

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The pelican dives

into the water,

rises again. Hovers.

Dives. Rises.

Each time, the water is quick

to forget the intrusion

loses its ripples,

stills. A thought

is a kind of a pelican.

A woman is a kind

of a bay. The pelicans

will always dive.

The bay will always

return to stillness.

A woman might

learn to live this way.

 

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Yes

 

 

It could happen any time, tornado, earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.

                       — Yes, William Stafford

 

 

It’s Saturday and I’m choosing to sit on a broken fence,

the logs all weathered and fallen.

I am choosing to sit in the sun on a broken fence

beside a dirt parking lot in a high desert.

Perhaps I do not really believe

that this is the only moment that matters?

Perhaps I don’t trust that I could be gone,

that all life could be gone in one blink,

in one bomb, in one meteorite.

 

Or is it that I choose to sit on a broken fence

beside a dirt parking lot with the scent of pine

edging each breath and the sound

of cottonwood leaves rustling then stilling

because this, too, matters, this willingness

to treat each breath as if it were the first,

to treat each place as if it is the last

and give it my full attention. To be like the birds

sitting on the barbed wire knowing now, now

is the moment to sing.

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