Someone on facebook mentioned that once you start watching birds it is a sign that you are officially old, but I don't think so. I think it just means that you are past the age where you think the world revolves around you. To me it feels more like a rebirth, a quickening. Here, E. E. Cummings explains this better:
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old
may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young
and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile
Oh yeah, Mr. Cummings. You can be my huckleberry. Does everyone else get schoolgirl shivers when you read his poetry? Or I suppose I shouldn't assume everyone who wanders to this blog is female... So schoolboy/girl shivers then? Ahem... back to birds and squirrels, shall we?
But mostly what I've learned from the neighborhood animals is that their main point of existence seems to be nurturing and creating. Which isn't a unique observation as the phrase 'feathering ones nest' proves. But it does this mama/crafter heart good to catch a glimpse that maybe this unyielding urge to create... well, anything, is based on a primal instinct verses something less savory, like mania or narcissism.
I like the idea that one of the driving forces in this world is simply creation. Beauty, comfort, laughter, safety, whimsy.... whatever. It is all being created by someone much to the enjoyment of others. The world around us seems support that this is how it should be. Spring conquers winter with the most startling contrasts possible, redecorating with a style that never grows old. Birds and squirrels finding the most interesting places to make a home, then rebuild automatically if need be, teaching their young how to do the same.
I watched a bird that was so determined to get a piece of cloth into his nest he tried and tried and tried and finally went and got his mate who grabbed it when he flew up and pulled it in while he pushed. It reminded me of the several house projects that my husband and I have put each other through, only surviving by working together, each grabbing our end of the material. Though on the flip-side I've also been somewhat scarred by a mother squirrel that I swear is having postpartum issues and trying to whittle down her litter. My husband will be happy when that particular group moves on. I think he's sick of getting frantic texts about falling baby squirrels. Might as well keep it real, not all humans are the most wonderful example of humanity... and not all squirrels are wonderful examples of well, squirrel-hood... squirrelness... Squirreliness? Goodness... do I have a point?
Anyway... that is where my mind has drifted tonight. And then it drifted to this: (Because this post isn't quite long enough yet.) My cousins have created the most amazingly beautiful thing. Last year they started a race in memory of their brother who died of a brain tumor at age 29. Chris was my oldest cousin and his life, though filled with some of the most serious things life can throw at you, was also filled with so much creation. He had the best laugh and the gentlest personality, even as he was an amazing competitor and sportsman. Chris was kind. He was funny. He was fun. And I miss him, I do. This race is a beautiful testament to his life and it is generating funds to help researchers create too. Specifically create cures. Because brain tumors suck, even worse than precariously balanced baby squirrels.
Humans create like we live. Endlessly rearranging that nest when the wind has its way with us. And though Chris's life ended too quickly, his life was beautiful and he lived it well; with optimism, laughter, and gratitude. His sisters have continued his spark and with it created this race. And I am humble to be a part of it and to be part of such a lovely group of people as well.
We don't know how long we have on this gorgeous, tear-soaked planet. But we ourselves were made. We will be unmade. And in all the time that is in between, we can create. And there is beauty in that cycle.
I love, love, love this video. I'll post the lyrics to the awesome song too.