The Way of the Birdling

by Julie on March 21, 2011 · 6 comments

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Parting. Tearing.
Wanting it to be different. Knowing it’s not.
It is death. The death of our togetherness.

Can I stand alone, completely alone?
Can I put my trust in that which knows of things to come,
Even when it refuses to clue me in?

Can I step off and step off and step off, again?
Pema says it’s the way of the birdling,
A life of nest-leaving.

I seem to like the quicksand of inertia,
Staying in the place of half-in, half-out.
The knife is never my tool-of-choice.
Rather, I select the seam ripper, and break threads loose, one stitch at a time.

Why not the knife?
It cuts clean. It removes what is done. It severs quickly.
I fear the finality of the knife.
Instead, I lounge in garments of in-between.

Burden. Yoke. Saddle.
They’re not even mine.
And not real food for the heart, but,
processed goop, packaged in Styrofoam, empty calories with no life force.

I hear the sound of Your voice
And I follow. My heart perks up.
Joy returns.
I am with myself. And You.

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wholly jeanne March 21, 2011 at 7:45 am

well this is just beautiful. and timely. have just been talking to my son and writing in my journal about how i’m currently slammed up against the hard part of unpacking. the dishes are in place, but today i’m opening boxes of journals, and that’s a problem cause i’ve given my bookcases to andy, leaving me with no – absolutely no – space to store them. i tell myself that’s fine. i mean, who cares about what i’ve been thinking and feeling and processing all these years? who cares what i’ve been doing and reflecting and ruminating about? and when i ask those questions (which are really statements wearing a question mark), it sounds/feels very noble. but when it’s time to put them in the thrift shop area, i find my knife is dull. i can’t make the cut. i can’t sever. moving is hard work. constant prioritizing, deciding, committing. i’m not sure i’m woman enough today. at least not right now. the quicksand has a tight grip on me, and its familiarity is quite comfortable.

Angela March 21, 2011 at 7:53 am

Julie, this is beautiful and heart-tearingly poignant. Where did I get the back-of-my-mind idea that the goal of life was to stay in a somehow-always-perfect, static nest? The life of the birdling and the process of the perpetual seamripper is so different, and perhaps the way to hear and follow the Voice. Thanks for this.

Kelly March 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

“I lounge in garments of in-between.” Love that, love the imagery here, the sense of taking flight. Beautiful.

Elizabeth Marie March 21, 2011 at 8:36 am

Wow. Gorgeous. “quicksand of inertia.” As Jeanne said, this is timely. I think I might have just gone under. Today, I feel a bit like I’m inhaling sand. Interesting the connections that are growing. I wrote about my own “stuckedness” briefly today, before I read this. The seam ripper image is particularly satisfying to me.

Megan McFeely March 21, 2011 at 9:52 am

One good thing about the knife (I am a recent user of it)…is that there is a clean edge… not jaggedy. The boundary has been created and everyone knows where they stand. There are not little tendrils of connectedness keeping both people stuck in a fantasy. I believe it is a kind thing to do. I have had it done to me… and I have to say I could then really work with what was there without any desire of what might be. I had to work with the DONEness and what I needed to learn from the experience.
And I would not say the knife cut is permanent… it means NO to what has been. Once I experienced the sword (what I call it) I knew that was the way.

Barbara Smith Stoff March 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm

This is lovely! … and timely for me, as I have been thinking a lot about birds leaving the nest lately–my children and grandchildren. Does it ever get easy? Time to picture that inner connection of the heart and hold to that, but …”ah!bright wings!”

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