Several mornings lately I’ve heard a familiar birdsong as I’ve walked to my car. Not yesterday, mind you, since it was well below zero and no wildlife was making even a peep. But other than yesterday, my avian friend greeted me at least twice last week, sounding unseasonably spring-like, offering hope of things to come.

My morning friend.

It’s definitely been a cardinal paying these visits. And they’ve given me pause.

First, it was the springtime feel of the birdsong. But as I thought about it, I remembered that cardinals are viewed, in many cultures, as apparitions or as messengers from the other side. Since these appearances roughly coincided with the anniversary of my mother’s death, this was striking to me. And, indeed, the fact that the bird’s song immediately garnered my attention made it all feel pretty personal.

So I pause now and try on the idea that this was an outreach from the spirit world. Honestly, it feels a little weird to seriously consider this. And even more weird-feeling to consider its being my mother. I’ve come to see her as not having much genuine awareness of or concern about me in life. So the idea that she’d have developed that capacity in the years since 1975 is foreign.

But what if she is/was reaching out somehow? It’s a thought that I actually don’t know how to hold.

But now I’ve gone there.

So should I assume that the universe is inviting me to try holding it? And how do I need to stretch in order to do that? What unused muscles shall I enlist? What self-protective tensions shall I release?

Opening my heart, even just a crack, to this foreign idea disturbs a staunchly ingrained and long-held worldview.

It lets in air and light.

It unbalances me.

At once disorienting, uncomfortable, and compelling, surely it’s a worthwhile thing to do then. How could something this jarring not be worth exploring further?

Having brought myself to this place, with the help of a small red bird, surely, I’m called to continue…

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2 Responses to Birdsong

  1. Katie says:

    I like all the “pauses” in this post! ☺️ and I love everything else about this post as well. There’s a lot to think about here that relates to so much in life – including grief.

    PS – in my family, a hummingbird is a visit from the other side. I love them and try to attract as many as I can every summer, despite not necessarily believing in an “other side.” Except, maybe I do. More than I’m usually willing to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

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