Two Ways of Seeing. Two Ways of Living.

There are terrible things afoot, it is true. War, destruction, loss, death everywhere across the globe it seems, and sometimes I wonder when it might be our turn. There have been times to be ashamed and times to be proud. Our best selves seem to be rising again, although there is still much work to be done by all of us. There always is.
Sometimes the challenge is to stay positive without allowing either anger or despair to destroy us. I was searching for hope, but was amazed at the way it came to me, through an experience that had nothing to do with my head, or my intention, and everything to do with allowing another way of seeing.

Yesterday I woke in the hour before the sun rises. Happiness seemed to be all around me.
It is a favourite time of the year, the season when all those remarkable little birds return, and we wake to their presence. I breathed in the day, aware of the shape of my oldest and dearest friend resting beside me, his body heavy and warm.

The great clacking bird started its morning calls and I heard them being faintly echoed from a tree further down our still-dark suburban street. Twittering, chirping, fussing and excitement broke out all around. Magpies sing: I swear they sing and take joy in their own singing.

I lay still and listened. There was no need to open my eyes.

Today I considered for the first time, that their tiny bodies were on the other side of our closed window, outside in the big green street tree (the best one in street) but their sound was right here in our room, in the air, even in my body. It had travelled through the dusty glass and the cool dark room, retaining all the shapes and tunes of each individual song, and entered my ears. My ear drums were moving and the minute exquisite hammers were beating inside my head, setting off chain reactions of airwaves and chemicals, lighting up neurons and pathways, creating everything necessary for me to share in this miracle, without me organizing any part of it. All I had to do was to receive it, and luxuriate in its abundance.

I lay still even longer and let the happiness grow.

Ugliness and beauty do not exclude each other. I could choose whether to listen to the song, or not. It makes no difference to the birds. They have their own life, and we who think we are so important are actually irrelevant to their performance. At best we are a hazard for them to avoid. They attend to their business faithfully, that morning’s business being the pleasure of courtship and song.

There are still two realities, the harsh and the beautiful, in our world. Do you think that perhaps the tiny birds sing to cover the wounds of the world with their grace?

Thinking of it now, as I write, it is nearly time for the end of day flapping and bustle as they return to our big green best-tree-in-our-street to rest. I am smiling as I wait.

About Pauline Small

After a long and varied career in teaching, I am now able to pursue my other love - writing as a form of exploring the depths of life's experiences. I live in South Australia, in an ordinary house in an ordinary suburban street, which is where the extraordinary happens every day.
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2 Responses to Two Ways of Seeing. Two Ways of Living.

  1. Chris says:

    that’s funny I was sitting in the middle of the CBD in traffic the other day and turned to look to my right. On top of the car next to me was a Magpie … they always seem to visit me in my darkest hour. I smiled and said hello … the lady passenger in the car thought I was saying hello to her, which led to a smile and confused pointing to the roof of her car. She never knew what I was trying to point out, but by the time I left the traffic lights I was smiling and laughing even … despite myself! So yes, the grace of birds …


  2. stefrozitis says:

    I agree. I NEED the song of the birds and lately I have been taking to photographing flowers in my garden to mark their importance.

    The awful stuff of human politics is so real. But the beauty…we need to see that too. On way home to hug Seb soon.


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