19 February, 2010


The dead bird still has all its feathers. Its tiny claws are frozen in the same almost leap- with-joy posture that the Heidi goats hold as they wheel around mid-jump.  Heidi (in the imaginary movie of myself as her that runs almost all the time in my head) holds cheese in her outstretched hands and the goats come for it on the run. They jostle and poke their heads right into her/my armpit. The tiny dead bird sits on my palm, its bead eyes open.  They see nothing.  My eyes are open too.  I see everything within reach.  And I wonder.  The bird is here.  The bird is not here.  The goats are here with me always.  And not.

I dig up the shoebox.  It’s buried near the biggest root of a tree I hope is familiar to the dead bird who’s gone.  The toilet paper I wrapped around the corpse still feels new.  But the feathers and bones inside it now could almost have appeared like some odd fairy trade.  Bird taken by the dancing nymphets.  Little pile of matter left for me and my box.  And, the gift of the wrong question that will dominate my life for nearly fifty years.

We can never know why one thing dies and the next doesn’t.  Why some of us are hurters, some of us are hurt and some of us seem to hang around the fringes of both.  And we can never know I guess, why one person’s trying is so crystal clear to them and so clearly missing-in-action to us.  Nor can we ever know why our trying, Herculean perhaps from our perspective, can be received as an utter lack of caring.

One of the reasons I love words is this somehow-beautiful-to-me in its futility fantasy that if we can meet another human with a truly known and shared wellspring of vernacular, it will span all distances of perspective.  The bridge I imagine could change the world.  In the meantime though it’s the trying that counts.

Sometimes I think the concept of God was invented by humans so when we’re on our knees, fist to the sky – roaring 'Why me?' – we won’t be embarrassed if someone asks who we’re talking to.  The abyss of that un-answered moment, the lone clapper missing a limb, the worm brought too late to the bird, the conversation with someone who’s gone but we don’t know it.  They all lead to the showstopper of questions, the end-all be-all of missing motivation, the long pause that can precipitate  a lifetime of partiality.

Main Entry:  fractional  adjective
  Synonyms:  apportioned, compartmental, compartmented, constituent, dismembered, divided, fragmentary, frationary, incomplete, parceled, part, piecemeal, sectional, segmented

Main Entry:  fragmentary  adjective
                          broken, incomplete
  Synonyms:   bitty, disconnected, discrete, disjointed, fractional, incoherent,  part, partial, piecemeal, scattered, scrappy, sketchy, unsystematic

I have a lot of  ‘WHY’s inside me.  But I absolutely know that the ‘why’s’ I seek will never take me where I want to go. 

We have to flip the frame on the entire operation.  Let’s assume that for whatever reason our species is not endowed to understand all the reasons for all the realities we question with a resounding 'Why?' -- never mind live with the necessitated actions if we did.  I think other explorations are much more respectful of our world in this evolutionary moment.  We can ask ‘What is true?’ and we can then work on accepting the reality of these truths.  From there it’s a hop, skip and a jump to ‘What respectful question can we ask next?’

Eventually (sorry to make this seem so simple)  we move from ‘What is true?’ to ‘What action do we need to take?’ out of our knowing of what is true.  On then to, ‘How do we put these things into compassionate action?’

From there we just roll into the precious moments of living. 

2 thoughts:

jclemons said...

This most likely comes off as trite and simplistic, but it is not....

Andrea said...

I suppose this could come off as brief and perhaps inadvertently curt :) but "Thank you!" The responses and words create a reciprocity that means the world to me.