I’ve been too busy lately, the dull ache in my head tells me. When this happens I know it’s time to sit outside and do nothing. Just observe. Let the knots of my mind untangle themselves with the help of my more than human relations. Today my special helpers are birds. I notice how they chatter and fly about. Diving from tall evergreens down into the grapevines below. Then up. Then down. Like the needle of a skilled embroiderer making a masterpiece inside their hoop.
The birds do not work in silence. I cannot even count how many bird voices I hear in the forest. And then there’s the “ha, ha, ha” of ducks at the neighbor’s–they remind me of the old men who sat in the balcony on The Muppet Show. “Ha, ha, ha,” they’d chorus after a good wisecrack, witty comment, or joke. I chuckle thinking of those old guys famous for their heckling, just like some of my beloved Elders.
I see one Twískaka (Robin). Now several are poised on the high branches of a nearby tree; their red chests are pretty in the golden autumn light. While I admire these little birds, I can’t help wonder where he is–the big Xwáshxway (Blue Jay) whom I think wants to be in charge of everything. Oh! There he is. He’s landed in the tree now, on a lower branch that can support his weight. He says nothing, for now. He’s such a big, showy bird. I always enjoy seeing him. Yesterday I looked out the window and to my surprise I saw three large Blue Jays together on the ground, pecking at the stone patio. How beautiful they looked in their bright blue attire. They seemed to me kind of classy and kind of fun. Like a cool bowling team with matching blue button down shirts. I can imagine admiring them when they stroll into the bowling alley. I think they have “The Blue Jays” embroidered on the back of their shirts, of course with their Ichishkíin name, Xwáshxway, sewn onto the front pocket.
Back at home, I see Á’a (Crow) gracefully glide by just overhead. Now there are two going past. Their “Caw!” when they flap their wings is so loud and clear. They never struggle to find their voice, it seems.
The birds in the forest are still singing, chirping, and chattering away. Robins gracefully go up and down, up and down, so quick and light in their movements.
I see Blue Jay fly from the grapevines up into the trees. He’s bigger and slower than the others, reminding me of an embroidery needle with thick yarn in it. Maybe Blue Jay will embroider a Kleenex box cover for you. You could admire it just before you blow your nose, or perhaps you’ll grab a spare tissue from it. Tuck it into the chest pocket of your pretty blue shirt before you head out to the bowling alley of life.
I hope there’s always a lane reserved just for you.
Engage more lessons from our more than human relations in Huckleberries & Coyotes. Or write your own stories about your helpers! Join The Auntie Way Writing Retreat–October sessions begin October 9.