Songbirds

I open my window at night. It’s still cool in the mornings and the evenings. I feel like I can breathe right with the inconsistent winds flowing forgivingly through. The mornings are bright and lovely as the yards fill with Queensboro birds, and for a moment I consider their call.

Heavy iridescent shimmer on eyelids marks this summer as an eighth grade graduate smiles under a bright yellow mortarboard. Her life is changing now, she must move up, there will be other times in her life that this will happen. But this is the first time this girl is leaving the hallways she spent her entire student life in up until now, a significant change. Her eye shadow is a kind of calling, not makeup that presents as real, makeup that says something, that speaks in color and tone. A bird’s call is a vibration that anyone can feel if they are paying attention, loud, unique, and certain. The song is so complex and high pitched that you can hear them over the passing cars. And why birds? Because the chicks that would survive have survived the late spring and early Summer trials. The birds are healthy now, and in full communication.

What is important to remember, and probably the greatest point of guidance to our growth is the natural world. Birds are strong forces of connection, communication and relentless truth tellers.

Little birds have come up often in folk tradition. A young man who finds the bluebird of happiness is then able to marry a princess. Birds are bearers of both good and evil. This small bird is often a symbol as a cure for feelings of emptiness and futility, they are wake up calls, they are connections, friends. In Grimm's The Sparrow and the Dog, the little songbird frees the dog from an abusive master and takes the dog to eat and drink. Songbirds in old folk songs are truth tellers, often witnesses to horrible events. To the criminal they are deemed to be small and useless. But their voice and wings often are the little pins of vengeance for evil. They are the storytellers. Small birds peck the eyes out of the stepmother and stepsisters in Perrault’s Cinderella. 

We are born with the keen and desperate desire to be understood, to be heard, a baby weeps for understanding. Our task lies in understanding one’s inner call, this original call. It is not our job to make our song, but to identify our song and open our mouths. Then, what will come out will be both complex and undeniably our own and resound deeply within others. This is also a call from generations back, through the passing down of story, through the passing down of communication. We are singing the songs of our ancestors. We will be unafraid to tell the story that we've seen.