Even with conscious grace and ease to fold down on my knees I landed with a thud creating small puffs of dust which rose around me and the small bird lying on the ground. At first it appeared she (or he) was dead and, of course with an empathetic heart and curious soul, I needed to be closer to the tiny creature. Because she was lying in the middle of the driveway I expected visible wounds on the bird. Life on the bog has taught me so much, including, critters who naturally are ready to cross will silently and peacefully tuck themselves into the thick shrubbery. Only those who have suffered injury from attack, unable to move into sanctuary, will lie out being uncomfortably exposed.
Upon closer examination, I noticed no visible wounds, brokenness, or damage to the bird. Her eyes were the cloudy green gray color of death. I’ve always felt the eternal energy essence of the soul slips out through the eyes at death leaving this coloration. Oddly, this color reminded me of the sea floor this time of year. When the temperatures are warm a sort of green flora grows on the grayish dark earth of the bay noticeable when the tide is out. A very similar green gray, but in the bay it’s life, here, for this bird, it’s death.
Then I noticed she was breathing. I know this type of breath…not labored, not shallow or deep, not a breath that fully fills the lungs or oxygenates the brain but doesn’t feel as if any part of the physical body is lacking for oxygenation either…it’s a beautiful, peaceful, soft, rhythmic, expansive sort of breath. Unlike breath of life, it is breath of death. A breath that seems to gently open and facilitate the way of transition in crossing over.
Shaking away from those thoughts and the witnessing of her breath, I whispered, “I’ll be right back.” With the same, and still unsuccessful, conscious grace and ease to rise upon my feet, I centered my balance, toddled into the house, and gathered paper towels and dried lavender buds. All the while reminding myself, it’s my duty to assist this dying creature to cross over.
Rushing back (as if I can rush), items in hand, I thudded down again, this time no attempt of grace and ease, and began what I thought to be appropriate for this little birds crossing…what I thought to be appropriate, not giving thought that she is capable of knowing how to surrender and cross, but what I thought only. Isn’t this so counter of what I knelt beside her for?
Covering her with paper towels I carefully wrapped and picked her up. Immediately she kicked her legs, attempted to flutter her wings, and her breath, that sweet gentle breath of death, became erratic. I laid her back down and asked, “What if I just cover you with the paper towels? Shading you from the sun?”
From our hearts the dialog began.
“No, I want to feel the sun shining on me,” she said.
Her breath and body calmed once the towels were removed. I shifted my body so not to shadow the sun on her’s and asked, “May I surround you with sweet lavender?”
“Yes, I would like that,” she responded to my heart. While I sprinkled the fragrant buds around her she continued, “I am one of the song birds who sings the sun’s rising for you. I sang this morning too. I know you’ve heard me through your bedroom windows, greeting the day.”
“Thank you, sweet song bird, for your offering, for your song, thank you for your life here at the bog, thank you for allowing me to sit with you as you cross.” Then I asked, “What are you to teach me? Another lesson on life and death?”
“Yes and no,” she said, “it will come to you. A little more lavender please, then go, allow me to cross.”
I spread a bit more lavender around her little feathery body and left her to journey sacredly alone. All day and night I pondered the lesson, the gift she left in allowing me not only to witness her but to have dialog with her.
The following morning I woke to the song birds greeting the rising sun. Though I knew they were missing one sweet voice, it’s because of her, their song brought the rising of a more vivid understanding within me.
As I've wrestles with what more I can do in the studio, what more can I do for others, what more I can offer in coaching and guidance, what more can I do to remind others of their divinity. I'm reminded I don’t need wrap them in something which seems safe to me, I need not think I know the best way for others to approach a life situation or even a canvas. It’s not about more of me, more of what I think to be appropriate. It’s not about me wondering what more can I do, offer, create, what more, more, more…..
It’s about keeping it simple; it’s about providing a safe place and space for surrendering, releasing, transitioning, remembering. It’s about self discovery and the sacred witnessing, honoring, and validation of our individual, authentic, true, and divine selves. It's about leaving the burdens of more and simply setting free my own song of hope and allowing others to sing theirs.