Sunday, 14 March 2010

Early Evening - with blackbirds, crows and owls

The present moment – not so much a moment as a mood, a feeling, a canopy of mingled peace and a gathered alertness; it is also perhaps, a time of year and of day – when the light changes texture and becomes almost translucent, letting in something that is other than itself and because of this, it becomes more visible in itself, rather than making what it falls on, visible. Birdsong has a slowed-down, reflective quality to it, as if it too, is lingering in the mood that I can only call this sense of presence. It becomes so pushed aside when we pursue or focus on something that carries us through time, through crowded streets, through shopping arcades, bearing – or being borne on – our singular wave of intent.

The birdsong folds into this tinted light, falling, as notes do, as anything will, let loose from the throat or hand or any part of our so substantial selves, while birds feel, in this twilight cape, like a flicker of a tree's branch, like the solitary crow I saw watching from a tree-top, a sentinel and messenger, a silent marker. Rosy bands of light glint through tree-foliage. One rough crow-sound loops across the evening sky. While the blackbird is like a star-burst, a spiral crackle of sound. And a light wash, a sound of sea, ripples through the trees, then subsides, then gathers in momentum and in breath, then sighs out of earshot.

It feels as if there is nothing to be done except allow oneself to be caught up in this rolling sound, this mood of present-ness. While there is something of peace in it, it is a peace that vibrates, stirs, brushes across the senses, a more subtle desire than longing or excitement. Something finely-balanced between regret for this – why do I ignore this, almost all my life? - and the impulse to ignore again, turn away, continue with the busy-ness, the imperatives of life, the things that must be done, or so it seems, because one thing leads always to another and another – it's only in the gaps, like this, between the chunky baked bricks that our lives lay out – look at the road I've built behind me!– and the pathways I'm still heading in! – that some more subtle sense of who we are slips into this cape of evening and knows that this nameless linking – for it must stay nameless – is when we touch the hand of some being who carries our self for us while we are busy being who we think we are.

Is it this then? This listening and becoming, in the evening? The soft velvet furring call of the first owl? Is this who we are? Not the plans and purposes at all, not the tangled ropes of memories, the laid-out tools to carve the future, not the values the beliefs or principles that we have carved from rocks that we both lean against and push against, depending on –
not our desires or fears, shaping our attitudes and our perceptions –
but this – a swooping of the evening, a tentative embrace -

If so, it is both fugitive and fleeting, this sound of birds and wind and trees, this secret in the ebbing of the light, that unfolds itself and reveals ourselves to us.
The chill of evening comes in the open door I cannot close. The wind gathers the pine-needles in a rush of sound and nearly drowns the owl call.

1 comment:

three sea horses said...

i miss that so much. dont get it here shut up in brick and stone, noise and artificial light.
thank you for writing it tho.