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Monday, June 14, 2010

Blackbird, fly

There is a red winged black bird who has been visiting me of late.

I have become absolutely enchanted by him.

His visits have become a bit of a ritual. He comes and perches on my window and stays for a few minutes. Then, he comes right up to the window and looks at me. Right in my eyes. Bold. Unafraid.

This lasts for a few moments and then he returns to his perch and starts to sing. It's a lovely little song. Short but quite intriguing. There's something almost hypnotic about it. Something that draws me closer to him. Makes me pay closer attention.

It's as if he wants me to learn it.

He finishes his warble, takes one more look in my window and then flies away.

He returns throughout the day. Sometimes just flying by. Other times, perching somewhere in the yard.

He is, as you can see, quite handsome. I haven't seen his mate but I suspect she's nesting somewhere in the marsh.

I've wondered if he's telling me she's in trouble and needs help, or if he's telling me that we can co-exist in "his" territory if I behave myself.

Then again, he's just being a bird. Flying. Singing. Doing what birds do.

Isn't it amazing how we project our own stuff onto animals?

I've grown curious about my new friend and have been checking out different sources on the net. I'm fascinated by this entry:
Another variation of the blackbird is the red-winged blackbird. This bird has a red path on its wings, with a dash of yellow as well. These colors connect this bird to the level know as Binah in the Quabalistic Tree of Life. This is the level associated with the Dark Mother and primal feminine energies. This bird has ties to all of the creative forces of nature. On the Tree of Life, black is the color for Bnah and red is the color for Geburah (Mars type of energy). Yellow or amber is the color of the path that connects the two, and it is the path of Cancer, the mother sign of the zodiac. The red-winged blackbird is thus a totem associated with the stellar energies of Cancer.

The male red-winged blackbird will lose its luster during the winter. This reflects how the summer is the time of vibrancy and vitality for those with this bird as a totem. It indicates the need to use the winter to go back into the great womb of life in order to be able to bring forth new energy and expressions of energy the following summer.

Blackbirds nest in swamps, marshes, and low brush-usually just a few feet from water. Again this reflects a tie to water, an ancient symbol for the feminine force for Nature. They often use cattails as perches. A study of the herbal qualities and characteristics of cattail will also provide further insight.

Blackbirds are known for fiercely staking out their own territory, and they will often drive off any other of their kind that are in the vicinity. Because of this, the sight of two blackbirds sitting together is often considered a good omen. In Europe, blackbirds came to be associated with St. Kevin, and one story tells of how they nested in his hand. Again because of this association, to have blackbirds nesting in your environment is usually a beneficial sign. St. Kevin was known as a person of tremendous gentleness and love.

Europeans used to eat blackbirds in a pie, as reflected in the nursery rhyme. Most of the time though, live blackbirds were hidden in empty pie shells to provide amusement at gathering. If the blackbird has come into your life as a totem, you will open up to new surprises and to a new understanding of the forces of Nature as they begin to migrate into your life.
I have absolutely no idea what half of any of that means, really, but I find it fascinating. At least I'm in good company with St. Kevin.

This morning, when my handsome, hypnotic friend came to my window, I had a song for him. One as equally short, mysterious and compelling.

I waited for him to sing to me and, after he had finished, I sang the Lennon-McCartney song - named for Sr. Blackbird - to him:
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
all your life
you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
I sang it softly, like a lullaby. To my complete astonishment, he sat there the whole time, listening through the window pane. He kept himself very still, moving his head slightly now and again as he listened intently.

As he continued to look at me, I was surprised to find myself weeping. It suddenly occurred to me that I had been singing his song. The one he had taught to me. The 'human' version of it.

I was awash in an unexpected surge of emotions and feelings that come with the gift of understanding and insight. I was embarrassed and elated, all at the same time. Relieved and energized. Open and vulnerable and beginning to heal.

I am taking my broken wings and my sunken eyes, and I am about to fly, with my beloved kid brother - the one with Alzheimer's - into the light of a dark black night.

I'm still a bit fearful. This is unknown, uncharted territory. It's not my territory. It is the Land of the Blackbird.

I need to remind myself, however, that I am flying over the waters that connect me to the Divine Feminine.

I've only been waiting for this moment to arise.


Mary Beth said...

Prayers for you and your brother as you walk the path with him.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Mary Beth

Paul said...

A beautiful post and quite moving. Prayers for you both and all the family and all our relations who journey with us.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You are such a blessing to me, Paul. Thank you.

Jane Priest said...

SHE is there in that light in the dark black night and even as your brother's memory fades for everything else, I believe (and this comes from being a chaplain for those with dementia), I KNOW, that he will know God and all will be re-membered. Peace to you.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Joie, for your hopeful words. I think you saw my beautiful Sir Blackbird when you were here. He's come back twice since I posted this. It's become a lovely expected surprise visit.

IT said...

I am glad that the Blackbird is visiting. I love their warble, which is a sign of spring and hope.

Sending all good thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

Blessings to you and thanksgivings for you and this gift of beauty. My partner, Roger and I often walk in the wonderful undeveloped areas of our Staten Island home. He does wildlife photography and, while we haven't seen as many red-winged blackbirds as usual this year, a few years ago one put on a wonderful mating display right in front of us, and he was able to get a few photos of it. Amazing creatures.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, IT. The prayers are deeply appreciated.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Jevcat - Thanks for your blessings. We have so much to learn from nature.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Yeah, we might be projecting our own stuff, but critters give me "messages" all the time. I have learned to pay attention to what they did just BEFORE they stare at me, and/or what they do just AFTER they stare at me.

Here's my belief. The same instinctual part of "dumb animals (and birds" that tells them how to get to the same place every year, that tells them how to live their lives, senses something in the energy of our own ruminations. We have too much frontal lobe to deal with it in the same way they do. But they either hear this, or smell this, or their little gyroscopes move to it or something, and they really are trying to "teach" us something the same way they teach their own young.

In short, I think we simply commune with them in a way science can't explain, and our own large "thinking" part of our brains drown it out. My belief (and that's all it is) is that it is the same part of the brain we use when we hear God. So I do try very hard to hear what these "dumb critters" might be expressing!

RevMama said...

Elizabeth, thank you for a beautiful post. I agree with you and Kirkepiscatoid that birds and animals have things to tell us, if only we will listen, more with our heart than with our ears.

We have red-winged blackbirds here. They like to hang out in a marshy overflow area and perch on the cattails. I will pay attention when they sing.

You and your brother are in my prayers, that in that dark black night you both may be held in the Light.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Rev Mama. Your prayers are my hope.

susankay said...

We also have much loved red wing black birds these days. They love the love I give them by the bird feeder. And we both have Alzheimers' family: my love's Mother and my Father. They are both dead. And we wait.

Blessings, Elizabeth.

it's margaret said...

How deeply uplifting.

My Native American friends would say you have a Spirit Relative for the journey. Amen.

Kirstin said...

May you always find the courage to keep singing.

Anonymous said...

Spring is heralded by these guys - Yay!

Colin Clarke said...

Hi!!! Great picture... Love the info feedback on Redwings. I am retired and live in Oakville.... My hobby is bird feeders & I get frequent visits from Redwings + many others. Colin Clarke

Anonymous said...

My mum passed away 5 months ago and it has been very hard. I have been visited by a native australian bird at my bedroom window for probably nearly 2 weeks now on and off. Ay first i thought it was just a bird getting the insects from the window but now i really struggle with that thought. I often wonder if that is my mum somehow trying to communicate with me by showing itself so boldly and then flying away , but always coming back a second or third time before it leaves.I suppose i will never know for sure but i would like to believe that through this bird is my mother trying to communicate with me and it only turns up when i am upset and i am thinking of her. For whatever reason this bird comes i really look forward to it as i think i am closer to my mother than not believing tHE SIGNS thank you and good bye

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I think, at the very least, God our great creator is providing comfort for one of her own creatures by one of her own creatures.

Perhaps that is your mother's spirit. Perhaps it is one who senses the absence of her spirit and finds some comfort in your spirit.

It's a lovely thought, isn't it? Which is what really matters.

Sextant said...

I have only one thing to say:


I am glad you were not too embarrassed to share your story with us, it was quite beautiful.