Walk through any wood on a brisk day. Birds call from the tops of trees. Some scurry and shuffle from the ground. Yet others freeze, go torbid, and hope to blend just so.
The layers of warning land on our ears, and depending on our level of receptivity, they pass unnoticed, agitate with their cacophony, or beckon with the complexity of orchestra. We are no different.
Shaken, stirred, and activated, we tend to bubble up. We sound the alert. We take appropriate, individual action. We make an awful mess. Then, we wait. We listen. We return to the forest floor.
In the transitions, we may become lost. There are so many ways to move, so many layers. In the chaos, we may never move. Either way is fine. The beating of your wings will feed the movement, however small.
Not sure what to do? Frozen, torbid, or waiting for it all to pass? Remember the work you do every day. The humble diligence of your everyday sacred matters. That work counts.
Your way of bumping up against, and gently off of others out in this wild world–especially others with divergent thoughts, ideas, and behaviors from yours, makes all the difference. And then, if you feel you want to do more, remember how the larger birds, the loudest warriors, got up high–and if that’s where you are called to go, go fiercely, and go humbly.
There is no prescribed size for a warrior, but there is no escalator to the top. That which would break you, but is ultimately not able to, makes you a warrior. It is a transformation through merciless pain and dedication to life–life as precious, and in that, a dichotomy is inherent. Not all warriors make it to the benevolent side, and some, or most, slip back and forth for a time.
Sit, with the smallest of actions, and honor that they are important. Sit, with the acceptance that darkness, and evil, will not be defeated, and yet they will take hits all the time. Sit, with the understanding that those comprising non-dominant culture are not “voiceless.”
Understand, they are the birds in the darkest part of the forest, where the magic and the monsters reside. They are not voiceless, they are knowing, and wise, and yes, some fall down, onto the forest floor, where they are pecked to bits by the others. Understand this: it is not voicelessness, that brings your activism and efforts to bubble up on behalf of those comprising non-dominant culture–it is leadership.
And when you are faced with a leadership so old, and seasoned, you walk to the perimeter. You sit. You listen. You wait, and when you have waited long enough, and proven you are not a noisy jay, a preening peacock, or a predator cloaked in false benevolence, you may be invited into the work–the work of supporting any of a number of ancient movements, with strong legs and classic elegance.
So if you have been shaken, stirred, or otherwise agitated–and you are now off the forest floor and perched, noisily or quietly, on that awkward branch that does not feel like home, don’t fight the urge to alight. Land; and resume the humble work of scratching through the forest floor. And listen; the warriors will call for us when it is time. It is what you, as an individual have to offer–that is what they will call for.
**Photo was taken after this bird hit our window. A friend sat it on the deck railing, as it was fairly dazed. It took its time, and when it was ready, it was able to fly on. This is how I envision a lot of us are feeling right now, partisan loyalties aside. I know I am having moments where I still feel a bit dazed, and I think that is perfectly ok. I have faith in our ability to recover as quickly as we are able to, and to fly again the exact moment we can. Take all the time you need. You will fly again, and even if it’s not in the same way, that is ok.