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A little bird told me

A little bird told me

A Little Bird Told Me

It happened on a warm spring day at a family gathering when I was about two or three years old.  Family gatherings were always big events with the men hanging out sharing stories and the women busy in the kitchen preparing a feast.  All of the cousins had a great time playing together bickering over who would reign over the coveted hammock and competing for dominant positions in our childhood hierarchy.  Even then, in my young mind I knew that there had to be more to this world and became quite curious that maybe I was missing something.

I found myself alone outside sitting on the front step. As I sat there, I spotted a little bird who seemed to see me at the same time.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly how it worked but the bird and I became friends.  The more I watched the bird the more it watched me, seemingly with great interest.   A connection grew between us as we both moved closer to each other.  Eventually the little bird and I were sitting side by side on the warm green grass.   I gently offered my cupped hands to the tiny feathered friend who cautiously climbed into them seeming to know that I would do no harm.

I will forever remember the moment and the sudden, almost stunning awareness of the world around me and what I had been missing.  It is as if the little bird imparted to me the pure joy of warm sunlight on feathers the freedom of soaring in the air currents, a belly full of the berries and singing about how good life is. Among all of these impressions that this little bird bestowed upon me also came a dark perception, one of fear.  The fear of predators, the fear of the loss of habitat and the sorrow of harm done to it.  The overwhelming nature of the feelings that this helpless little bird conveyed to me are prominent in my mind to this day.

The joy I felt at finding this new friend was so great that I had to share it with the others.  I carefully cupped the small bird in my closed hands as I made my way to the house and the adults.  I wanted everyone to experience the magic that my little friend seemed to possess and how willingly it could be shared. 

Grandfather saw me standing at the kitchen door holding something so he opened it widely to let me in. “And what do you have there?” he asked with inquisitiveness.  I slowly opened my cupped hands to share my new found friend who suddenly, finding itself in a strange environment, took flight causing chaos and pandemonium.   Imagine if you will grandpas, grandmas, aunts and uncles franticly trying to herd it away from the food.  Poor little bird must have been terrified as it escaped through the open kitchen door guided by a mass of screaming yelling and flailing adults.

After this episode I was forever banned from the kitchen on holidays, but I didn’t mind.  I had experienced a whole new depth of knowledge and gained and a much deeper understanding and kinship with nature, all thanks to a little bird.

Jerry Stensing