Saturday, December 30, 2017

Lessons From A Sparrow




© Susan Marie

Birds are interesting creatures. I adore them so.

Thankfully, I live around varied wildlife, however, the birds simply astound me. 

Every morning I am greeted by birds. They flit about, landing on my balcony, hovering in trees, on branches, gathering atop chimneys, swan-diving off the balcony, and choosing to settle in the crawlspace in my bedroom ceiling during cold weather. Those are the starlings. I do not mind this at all, nor do they cause a problem or damage. I enjoy it.


  © Susan Marie

I can hear them up there scurrying about with their little bird feet trying to stay warm in frigid temperatures. They sing to me and talk to one another and I hear them through the ceiling and that brings me peace. When that first occurred years ago, I thought: You are finally going stark raving insane

Not so.  

I think.

Observing wildlife this morning, birds specifically, brought profound existential realizations. We are not separate from nature and wildlife as so many humans think and feel, in fact, we are a mirror of nature itself. I have always felt this way, however, most do not. Today, this was proven to me. 

Let me explain. 


© Susan Marie

I live in a park-like setting. There are Japanese maples, maples, elms, oaks, ash, pine and cherry blossoms, to name a few. There is one particular tree, an adolescent among the rest, where all the birds attempt to take control of daily. Sitting here now, watching them, as if a thunderbolt struck my right temporal lobe, I thought: The birds are doing exactly what we do to one another in society. 

© Susan Marie 

I watched all the birds present, Coopers Hawk, sparrows, starlings, crows and bluejays and noticed that only certain birds were on the balcony rail or in a tree at the same time.  
The Coopers Hawk is typically in control of everything in this micro-sphere. Unless the hawk snags a baby crow, then all the crows go after the solitary hawk. In turn, the crow is then in control when the hawk is not present so far as going after squirrels and bullying other birds to remove themselves from the tree or balcony.  

 © Susan Marie

After that, the starlings are in control. They come in flocks and take over whole trees and my balcony all at once. If another bird happens to fly on the rail or on a tree branch, the starlings make sure that bird removes itself. I saw two starlings snuggled up with one another on the rail and then one pecked at the other.  


A single bluejay hopped up onto the rail and the starlings chased it away. Bluejays are not birds that easily give up either. They can be quite aggressive. The bluejays are new this year. They live in one pine tree, an entire family. There are about 5 of them right now compared to 20 or so each of sparrows and starlings. 


 © Susan Marie

Today was different. 

Today, I noticed something quite impressive.

The sparrow is able to move within all the birds and critters.

I was watching the tree that all the birds attempt to control. It was full of starlings. The crows were strutting about as they do, flying from one tree to another and cawing on the ground in the snow, but the starlings and bluejays were vying for control of this one tree. One bluejay flew into the tree, then another. When two were there, the starlings dispersed. Another bluejay flew into the tree. They had control of this tree. Then the starlings gathered around and all of them flew into the tree chasing away the bluejays. 

The sparrows remained in the tree throughout this fiasco. 

The sparrows are always there, on the balcony, the rail, in the trees with squirrels, bluejays, crows and starlings. Not the hawk. I saw the hawk carry away a robin and a small crow once, however, the sparrows are not out and about when the hawk appears. They hide deep in the thorny bushes where the large hawk cannot fly into. Smart.  

Meanwhile, all the other birds are out there flitting about trying to control everything.

 © Susan Marie

The sparrow is a small non aggressive bird compared to the others but that is not why the sparrow is different. The sparrow exhibits the middle way. You see, the sparrow is concerned about now, collecting food, making nests, gathering what is needed for existence. The sparrow is not concerned with control. The sparrow is mindful.


The sparrow is able to communicate and be around all species, birds and critters without being a threat. I have yet to witness any creature attack a sparrow or cause a sparrow to leave. I have never witnessed a sparrow being aggressive towards another living thing.

 © Susan Marie

To me, the sparrow represents those of us in this world that do our best to walk the middle way.  The other birds represent those of who have no control and attempt to take and gain control of others or those perceived as weak. 

Observing birds this morning, I witnessed all of us, society everywhere, pecking at one another, attacking each other, trying to control one another. Then I witnessed the sparrow, going about its day not bothered by the chaos of the other birds. The sparrow is not affected by this repeated game the birds play, the games that we, humans, play. 

The sparrow, to me, is by the far the strongest bird of them all. 

Today, I learned lessons from a sparrow.

 © Susan Marie




 
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