He Didn’t Know

That’s for sure. “He didn’t know …”

However, for a waterless non-human, this Ethel Merman-esque high flying bird knew how to catch the camera eye of my friend. My ever vigilant nature-seeking looker happened upon these flights of fancy a few days ago, clicked a few soaring portraits , and passed them on to us via Facebook. Starting off with the words, “Not sure who this is..”, she notes the innocence trailing behind the pack. Some replies follow as closely as he does the white speckles ahead against the clear blue sky. “Blue heron?”. “I’m thinking cormorant?”.

Neither she nor I know. I suspect my knowledge of music and food keep me at greater lengths than her from the truth. If she doesn’t know, then I’m absolutely sure I haven’t a clue. That single spec with wings could be a mini-Batman as far as I’m aware … and that, my friends, is my best guess. I can name birds that meander about for a short time – like chickens, turkeys, and ducks. When one starts naming birdies that flit and soar about against the heavens, heavy gloss starts to overtake my mind. Yes, shiny and new information, but a little too bright and sunny for my bird-brain that isn’t much interested in what kind of bird he is.

What really fascinates me is what he represents … and this gets to the possible point of her post’s comment: ” … but he didn’t know he wasn’t a swan.”

It may not have been her intent. The objective may have been, “Name that bird”. I don’t know. It’s not clear to me. My takeaway, as with most all wonderful whatsits before me, is to think, #1.) Did I take all my meds today?, #2) If I did, are my glasses on my face?, and #3) If both are answered in the affirmative, is what I am seeing just that, or is there another there … there?

Digging down (or, up in this case), we have a “there”. Look! Up in the sky … It’s …

Wanting to belong, to be accepted. Attaching this very basic human need to the personality of a yet-to-be-identified bird. He didn’t know for sure, yet there his wings were – drafted into the same pattern set ahead by welcoming, perhaps even unsuspecting, friends ahead. Still pictures don’t give us the same perspective my friend had as these twenty-something (plus one) in numbers danced their way into her camera lens. She had a first-view account as she immediately accepted them as her friends … an acceptance of them into a world of photographic pleasure she enjoys as one belonging to nature itself.

That’s possibly the “there” here. We belong to nature and are accepted by her. She cradles us if we allow her to do so. The bare grass under our naked feet on a warm, sunny day. A deep, consoling breath of fresh mountain air after a long week of ugh-ness. The crackling and pitter-patter of a stream full of the occasional passerby fish a foot or two below, or maybe just a short nap while sitting on the front porch of your choice … All of these are our swans of smoothness ahead showing the way. We don’t identify as grass, air, streams, or porches, but we can certainly enjoy the benefits of the path they provide for us.

Black swans once were thought to be imaginary. Dutch explorers discovered them in Western Australia around the mid-to-late 17th century blowing that theory out of the water, but not the swans … so relax. That I knew. What I didn’t know was this thing called the Black Swan Theory. To be simple here, it is a metaphor that describes a rare event (or events) that are beyond the realm of normal expectations. It has other hang-along requirements. For purposes here, I’m sticking with that easy, kite-flying definition.

Pretty sure my clicker confidante didn’t arise that morning expecting to find a flock of fancy afoot overhead that day – especially one with a tricky flapper trailing behind. It was a rare event beyond her province of normalcy. What is normal, anyway … right? She looks for certain surprising, remarkable whatsits underfoot and overhead then attaches it to 21st century technology, … and with that, we can live new experiences though her lens allowing us to be slightly different believing anything we want.

… Like acceptance even if we don’t know who we are 100%, or where we belong.

Maybe if we look up once in a while like she did that delightful day, the wait for another picture won’t be so long until she graces us with another.

Here’s to all the black swans who believe there’s a sky for them filled with friends who will show them a way.

It’s Quiet Now

So quiet. This porch.

Save the distant barking of a distressed dog and an occasional tweet of the natural kind – not electronic twitching of opinions, this time brings me such peace. After a long and confusing week, I find sitting here … now … nicely nice. There are a few visually annoying sight lines avoided by simply closing my eyes. Even the smell of grass – cut earlier by a fine crew of hard working young men – still has that fresh smell of greenness attached to the air casually blowing under my nose.

Yes, this is really nice now. Now is a nice place to be. How wonderful is at the moment?

Here, now, is all we have. It is said too often, but not appreciated enough, that we have only moments to live our lives. The hours and days only exist on the canvas because the minutes prop them up on the easel. One stroke at a time, using beautiful blues, reds, and yellows of curiosity and grace, we paint what others see in us. And it renews – over and over again – when we value now.

Simple traffic noise in the near, distant space is far enough away to filter through the few trees between us. It is a mere swaddled sound as it reaches my ears.

The distressed barking has stopped for the moment. Something, or someone has calmed the canine concern. Birds continue their songs in the trees, however, as I expect they should. Nested little ones need to eat, husbands and wives must communicate, and predator warnings are necessary. These are neighborhood nows that continue forward without the recognition of self-reflection …as I sit in a recliner on this shady, comfortable porch. They move their miracles forward, regardless. I am simply another brush of color on their palate of life.

So many shapes and sizes around. I can close my eyes and see a variety of not only physical beings, but also ideas as well. From big and tall notions changing the world – like vaccines for pandemic viruses – to small proposals such as smiles, hugs, and handshakes. Both are connections to the world outside ourselves and so important to the now we are experiencing together.

I have little to taste now except for the Arby’s roast beef sitting casually by my side. In all likelihood, it is less fresh than it was a few minutes ago when I first entertained the idea of sliding it over my lips. Fortunately, one was already consumed prior, so this second sandwich is not a tragedy. The diet Pepsi is flat, unfortunately, so I am slightly disappointed in my beverage choice. Humidity is less drippy compared to days past and I get the impression folks around these parts are settling into a late summer / early-August routine.

This is now. Now is Covid-19, masking, the last day in July of a ridiculously crazy, little over three months from an election, out of one’s mind, take a deep breath, … 2020.

We have to keep our senses about us, right? I have mine. Today is all about what I see, hear, smell, taste, and … can say to you.

Enjoy the now. You are special. The now is here for you to have, hold, and cherish. Pull up a chair next to me on my porch.

It’s quiet.

Words of a Feather

More than one happily danced on the sidewalk the other morning when I went to work. Back home hours later, I saw this single feather look up at me without any hope of returning to normal. It seemed lost. Although detached from a gracious host hours – possibly days – earlier, familiarity among its peers that morning must have provided some hope. Now? Alone on a sidewalk.

Where did the other friends go? One can guess with the wind. This would be a logical assumption as much needed rain has been pushing through the area lately … and with it, breezy heat-relieving cooling sensations. Today, light rain continues. It is another early morning quiet and that beautiful feather has been tickling my imagination since I carefully stepped over it yesterday.

Words of a feather … stuck together in my mind since that chance meeting. Why now? Why this small, almost weightless object before my eyes on a semi-hot, light breezy day in July?

It is a symbol of things. What else could it be? A representation, a reflection, a return. A “What R we trying to get back to in the midst of all this confusion?” kind of thing.

This feather, alone, with very little guidance save the occasional kind puff of freshness passing by to urge it forward. A breath of fresh air that will, most assuredly, not return it to the very similar looking friends nestled around from its youth. That innocence is gone as are all the familiar long-looking gray, black, and white ideas holding hands with it.

I do not know why this feather detached from its host. Perhaps tragedy or a simple act of nature? What I can gather from my amateur detective senses, is … it looked like a crime scene. Maybe a larger preditor – perhaps a neighborhood cat – was involved? I simply don’t know.

This is our story as well in 2020. We, simply, don’t know.

We are simple feathers.

This is a time we represent a separation from what we knew as normal. Our ordinary lives shed us like yesterday’s news and replaced moments with masks, unknown futures, and closed minds. We reflect back to a time when our friends friended us on Facebook without bias or preconceptions about race, gender, or religious beliefs. A return to normals like feeling comfortable in our favorite cafe or caring for a stranger by a gentle, “I’m here for you” hand on his shoulder is desired by many.

We R the simple feather now, representing our individual lives the best way we know how. Replacing old normals with new ones while trying to reflect recently matured views about how society should be … as birds of one United feather, we need to stick together. Gray, black, white and all colors in between. On all the sidewalks in every neighborhood … in every city, town, and borough.

My words are simply those … words. Predatory forces are out there willing to separate us from our friends and family, beliefs, ideals, and fantastic individual strengths. Stand strong with more than words – together, 6-feet apart if necessary – and live the new normals with renewed energy.

The early morning rain hasn’t dampened my spirit as I will head out to see if that special feather is still there. If so, picking it up to eventually place it among the reminder/knick-knacks at my desk is so much a possibility.

Possibilities are all we have, right? Remind yourself of them frequently. “Tickle your fancy” with an imaginary feather once in a while. And, if you’re lucky enough to find one at your feet during an early morning walk, remember: words of a feather stick together.