Sunday, February 1, 2009
You never know what you will find when you just go along for the ride. When I head out with no particular agenda or destination in mind, simply focused on taking things as I find them, the 'sight-seeing' is usually unforgettable. This tree and this bird were two of the unforgettable moments captured during a recent stroll along a portion of the Chattahoochee River.
The day was gray and chilly, rather gothic, so naturally the gnarly tree was an interesting piece. The mistletoe knotted up in its barren branches whispered of Druid rites and 'big medicine'. (The Cherokee were driven from Georgia in the 19th century, "Trail of Tears".) The bird was reluctant to be seen as long as my husband was near, but once he moved along the trail the bird sat for me, not in any way that I could capture any identifying marks, but still, it sat.
I was enchanted by these images and considering how best to show them when I heard these Led Zeppelin lyrics: "There's a tree by the brook/With a songbird who sings/Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven." ('Stairway to Heaven')
Don't I know it! For any of us there is no shortage of critical nay-sayers in our lives. Be they parent, lover, friend, boss, colleague, child, whomever, they seem to think that they must save you from yourself. They remind you of all the 'shouldn'ts', 'can'ts', 'don'ts', that come so easily to the tongue until finally, sadly, you take up the refrain inside yourself. Then they pat themselves on the back for an intervention well executed and anarchy averted.
They sit around your table and declaim the way things ought to be while their eyes "fix you in a formulated phrase/And when (you are) formulated, sprawling on a pin,/When (you are) pinned and wriggling on the wall" you might protest, but only for a moment because they hit right back with the assertion that "you don't know what you're talking about". You are naive. The world doesn't work that way. It's a jungle.
Personally, I am out on a limb with that songbird.
Those formulations are mis-given and sometimes the truth "lies on the whisperin' wind". If you listen very hard you may catch the whisper of truth from a Voice who sees beyond, beneath, before, behind and above this world and those formulations. You may catch the whisper of the Voice of a Botticelli Madonna, I sometimes imagine, so gentle and sweet yet strong and irreproachable. If you listen very hard you may catch the whisper of the Voice urging, "Come on. Show me. Let me see what you would do."
I hope you do.