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Friday, May 11, 2007

Opening the door to happiness


Ok, that last post was nice, and happy.

But this one, this is . . . well, it’s just CRAZY!

It’s Friday, coming close to the end of my week off at home. I’m sitting on the couch with my laptop, working on the photos from my spontaneous trip to Holland yesterday. Through the deck screen door I’m listening to the sounds of birds singing, chirping, hollering, and the blue jays scampering across the deck to the cat food.

Then I realize, some of the scratching and scraping I hear is NOT the blue jays on the deck. It’s closer than that. And I start remembering the story Peter told of being here alone once and hearing a noise in the wood stove. He opened it, and a bird flew out right in his face! Scared the living daylights out of him (Peter, and the bird too, I'm sure).

So, I’m wiser! I know there must be a bird in the wood stove. I grab my camera (ha!), slide open the screen door to the deck so the bird can get out when I release him, step over to the side of the wood stove so I’m not in front of the door and turn open the handle.

Out fly – FLY – not one bird, but TWO! And as they flutter around the room to every window except the open screen door, I begin to understand that these are not just wrens or finches or grackles. These are BLUEBIRDS!



Bluebirds. BLUEBIRDS! Not blue jays. Bluebirds.


This illustration is a blue jay, not a bluebird.


I had never in my life seen a bluebird until we bought the farm in 2003. We saw our first pair in the juniper tree that November, and I knew what a treat it was. They are shy and rarely seen, and they are such a beautiful blue, they quickly became my favorite birds. The female is dusty blue, the male bright royal blue.


You must understand the significance of birds for me. From the time I was young, I have not been comfortable around animals. We did not have pets in our home. Birds have been the only animals I have related to in any personal sense, and over the years, they have come into my poetry in titles such as “Bird Song,” “Migrating,” and “Flying to Uncle Jimmie’s Funeral.” Even my photoblog I named “flying.”

Soon after spotting my first bluebirds at the farm, their meaning deepened for me. Visitations by bluebirds and associations with Krishnamurti, my throat chakra, and speaking the truth were apparent through some experiences I can only call metaphysical. I have left religion behind. But I have had such synchronicities that I can’t help but feel we are multi-dimensional beings. I don’t know what to make of them, and I don’t try to overanalyze them. I just accept them appreciatively, because I feel I have been touched by Life in a way that shows we are all special, along with all of nature. And we are connected with everyone and everything.

So, ok, a male and a female bluebird fly into the chimney of our thankfully-not-burning wood stove. They peck around in there until I pay attention. They fly into our house. They sit on our window sills.




They are terrified and can’t find the open door and window out. They bang against the closed windows, shocking themselves even more than I have already done.

I find each of them huddled in different corners of the house. They can't get out on their own. Carefully, tenderly, I take the male into into my hand, he doesn't even resist, he is so shocked, and let him out the front window. When I locate the female, I try to do the same, but she resists. I finally take her gently in my hand and set her free off the side porch.

The female flies away immediately. But the male sits on the porch as if he is wounded. That terrifies me. What have I done . . . to a bluebird? All the time the words are repeating in my head “You have injured the bluebird of happiness. What have you done!”




As I approach him one last time, he flies to the wire! Happy day!



I hope he is uninjured.



I wonder what this encounter means, to me, to the birds. Will they be more cautious and shy than ever? Or are we more connected than before?

My animal spirit guide book, on the bluebird page, says of seeing a bluebird, “This is a very rare and precious moment, so open up all your senses and simply enjoy this time.”

I have touched a bluebird, held it in my hand. Two of them. I don’t even know how to hold this in my heart.

56 comments:

photowannabe said...

Touching and lovely photos of the bluebirds of happiness. I love the confused look on the males face. Great shots.

Rauf said...

Ah ! bigger fonts, thank you Ruth, bought a new reading glass, the cheap drug store one you mentioned.
sixty rupees, a dollar and a half.

Very delightful and heart warming experience. It was a joy to read. brought cool breeze into a very hot and humid afternoon.

Only once in my life i touched an injured pigeon. i normally don't touch them. In my school days i read somewhere that once we touch them they are abandoned by their society. i never bothered to confirm this but it stayed stuck in my head. They abandon their own chicks if touched by humans. i may be wrong Ruth.

You are very good in catching expressions Ruth, i don't think he is injured. But he's got an attitude. i see the eye contact. he is looking straight at you. What is going on in his mind i wonder. Thank you ?? This must be thank you Ruth. A River Tern chick gave me that look once, but that was not a thank you, it was 'get lost you are getting too close' My mom used to keep a good stock of beaten rice for the birds. She used to throw the beaten rice on huge gunny sacks (empty jute bags) so that they don't hurt their beaks. Then we came to the city.
My mom never liked city life, but she welcomed the TV which came very late to India.

Heather said...

Ah, such a lovely story. Must turn into a personal essay, Ruth. All is fodder for the writing trade. Though I rarely follow my own advice. I love these photos. I love the little bluebirds. I will have my dad make you a bluebird house. You'll have to remove the sparrow nests every year until the bluebirds decide to stay there, but then they'll have a proper home. :)

Rachel said...

I think the male trusted you. That is why he allowed you to pick him up without resisting, and that is why he stuck around. He was curious about you- wanted to take a long look so that he, too, could treasure the experience.

Ginnie said...

This is the second blessing, Ruth, to now read the words and see the pics you described to me yesterday on the phone. I can only imagine how this experience has been written on the walls of your Soul!

It's a powerful story!

lesleyanne said...

what an amazing experience mammas!

i simply adore the last photo. cracked me up, that he looked directly at you. as if to say. what the heck was that thing?

you truly connected with these beings. how wonderful.

love you and happy mother's day!
xo

Ruth said...

rauf, I was thinking of you when I made the font larger.

These bluebird visitors are hanging in my consciousness like jewels, and my dreams are full of activity. I think I'm beginning to understand.

Ruth said...

Photowannabe, thank you. It was odd to be clicking away with my camera while at the same time feeling frantic to help them get out of the house. But I'm glad I did it, and I knew I would want to have the visual memory.

Ruth said...

Yes, Heather, the houses are great. We have two, and we want more. I'd love to have one from your dad. I'll never forget the bluebirds at your gazebo for the wedding reception. So brave and lovely on that gorgeous summer day.

Oddly enough, what you write -- that I should write this up -- I think is the point of their visit. They represent (apparently) speaking the truth, voicing what must be said. I'm starting to get it.

Ruth said...

Rachel, it's wonderful to think that. I guess I'll never know.

Ruth said...

Ginnie, it's so much in my psyche that I'm dreaming of it. I feel blessed beyond measure.

Ruth said...

Lesley, sweetie, I missed you so much yesterday! Thinking of you alone in a park in NY made me sad, and I kept wanting to talk with you. I hope you weren't sad.

Yes, the visit by these fragile little beings has made a profound impact. And I'm still figuring it out.

Ruth said...

rauf, I meant to tell you that I have heard that the belief that birds are shunned in their community if touched by human hands is a myth, now discredited by studies. I hope he is right! I will be watching these little blue friends to see if they behave differently. One good thing is that they do not live in community the ways other birds do -- just in pairs, and since they were both handled by the human farm woman, hopefully they would not shun each other in any case! Both tainted. :|

Amy said...

What an amazing set of moments, Ruth! I love the way you shared this story with us and the photos you captured of these beautiful creatures are just wonderful. Your mind must still be swimming with whatever meaning(s) that encounter might have. Thank you for sharing such intimate moments with the one animal who touches your soul!

Ruth said...

Amy, thank you for your comment. And yes, you're right, my mind is swimming. :)

isabella said...

Ruth, do you know the poem "Bluebird" by Charles Bukowski:

"there's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there,
I'm not going to let anybody see you."

I think your poem might begin with : there's a bluebird in my hand that does not want to leave me...;-)

Amazing story and photos! And they do bring happiness - if you let them...

(But may I suggest a screen for the flue?)

Rachel said...

Awesome poem Isabella!

Ruth said...

Isabella, no, I had not read that Bukowski poem! It's sweet that he wrote that, and it totally fits him, of course. Yes, we do need to repair the screen at the top of the chimney apparently!

Sharon said...

Very lovely story and photos. I'm glad Rauf from Daylight Again Blog sent me in this direction. Today I've been lucky enough to find some really interesting & beautiful bird blogs.

The bluebirds are amazing... you were lucky to have encountered them and they you!

Sandy said...

Oh wow, thanks to Rauf who gave me the link I found my way here. Gorgeous pictures. I will definitely bookmark this and be back...I'm on a three day get away so am not on the computer as much right now.

I loved reading about this and seeing the pics. Wonderful

Gwen Buchanan said...

I just found this story linked on your sidebar.. so selightful.. I only saw a Bluebird once before I moved to St. martins.. But since living here.. we see so many more varirties.. the Bluebird especially has taken a liking to us this summer.. they love perching in high places to have a good view.. they rarely spend much time on the ground.. just fly down, get what they need and back to the look out.. they like to sit on the gable and tower peaks ... I adore them... they are amazing flycatchers.. twisting and turning in midflight to catch a bug and back to the roof...

the very first one I saw here landed on my shovel handle after I had shoved it in the ground and gone to the house for a drink.. I look back and there it was perched.. beautiful birds...
I always feel so lucky and blessed as you do,to be interacting with them...

this was a wonderful story you wrote... and the pictures!!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

pardon all the spelling errors.. I need glasses and I am tired.. and that's my excuse!! but it's true..

Ruth said...

Dear Gwen, I'm glad you found this story. It's my favorite. Sadly, we didn't see that bluebird couple the rest of last year. We had bluebirds back in 2008, but I don't know if they are the same family. I did feel that something very special had happened.

They are indeed a joy to watch. How great that you have them there! What you described watching them is pure delight.

Morna said...

Beautiful story. I think the male sat there for a bit because he was interested in you, but not willing to be captured by you, so he flew to the wire. Interesting that he easily allowed you to pick him up when he needed help, but not once he was in free territory.

What is your animal spirit guide book, please?

Ruth said...

Morna, I think/hope you are right about Mr. Bluebird. Oh, he was so sweet.

The book is Animal Spirit Guides by Steven Farmer (here)

ve said...

Beautiful photos, great blog. All the best to you!

Ruth said...

Hi, Ve, thanks a bunch. Love your album covers!

moonshark said...

Lovely story. I'm happy to have found you and your blog...I had a beautiful time visiting...

Ruth said...

Moonshark, I just felt the same reading yours. It is a wonder to peer into someone's heart and mind and feel better about yourself.

Rondinella said...

I'm....very happy to read your blog..and the post about the blue bird is lovely. I have one Blue Bird and he live in England. I live in Brasil and in my house is full of blue birds called Sanhaco. You are sensible woman...like ME! kiss. Raquel

Ruth said...

Hi, and welcome, Raquel. I Googled the Sanhaco, and it is a sweet, delicate blue bird. Thank you so much for your gentle and kind visit.

J and Z said...

ooo Ruth - a kindred spirit!! I know how it feels to be visited by the bluebirds...hence my blog name. I grew up in MN and before we bought our little parcel of meadow, I had only seen one bluebird in my entire life. After we bought our land in WI, we discovered that we had two bluebird families that raised their young in the houses in our meadow. Our neighbors are expert care takers and we since have erected 3 more houses and my favorite thing to do at the camper is to just sit and watch the bluebirds...thank you for sharing your sweet story...

Ruth said...

I wondered, J and Z! I should have asked you about it. They are very special indeed.

Bel.Ishtar said...

I love to look at bluebirds. A tiny hummingbird flew into my open garage several years ago. He flew over the door. We had a terrible time helping him out, but we did manage to do it without injuring him. Thank you for sharing.

Ruth said...

Bel.Ishtar, thank you. I wonder what these birds feel when they're trapped like that. Must feel something like the child in your poem today.

J.R. Baldini, plein air painter said...

What a great story...

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, J.R., your paintings are gorgeous. And I'm so sorry about the plagiarism you discovered.

California Girl said...

Rauf said "you are very good at catching expressions" and that is the truest thing I have read. Your birds all speak to me. I fancy I know what they are thinking. What a gift! God must have wanted you to share.

Ruth said...

Thank you, California Girl, but I think it is the birds who speak, nothing to do with me. I click clicked away and was fortunate to get a couple that caught them. I was there, present in a wonderful hour of strange beauty.

Jill of All Trades said...

That is just beautiful.

Debbie said...

What a wonderful post. The pictures are beautiful, and the story is incredible. Bluebirds! I had a wren that persisted flying into my screened in porch somehow and couldn't find her way out. I would have to offer my rake to her, and she would jump to it and perch there until I could release her outside. Sometimes took many attempts, but we eventually would succeed.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Jill, I will never forget it.

Ruth said...

Debbie, what a sweet story about your wren.

♥ Braja said...

they are SO adorable! what a sweet post....

Ruth said...

Thank you for reading, ♥ Braja.

Alina said...

Coffee please, milk, no sugar :) I just love your story and the photos. Bluebirds are one of my all time favorites!

Ruth said...

Thanks so much for your 'visitation,' Alina.

wesslea said...

Such a fantastic story.

Ruth said...

Thank you, dear Wendy. So glad you came and read this!

Elizabeth Westmark said...

Wonderful story and photos. I just found your blog through The Alchemist's Pillow (who I found through my friend Deb at Talk at the Table). My husband and I live in a Longleaf pine forest near Pensacola, Floria. This has been our year of the bluebird. They REALLY want to come in the house, and even though they wake me up each morning knocking on the glass doors or peeking while I'm in the shower or working at my desk, I just love it when the bluebirds of happiness act like this is a place they want to be.

One of my archived "bird" stories is called Up, Up & Away. Here's a link when you have a moment to read a bird story with a happy ending. http://www.switchedatbirth.us/2008/04/up-up-and-away.html

Your site is so lovely.

Ruth said...

Hello and welcome, Elizabeth. I so appreciate Lorenzo's friendly nudge.

That is quite incredible that your bluebirds want to come in! They tend to be very shy here, and we usually only see them way in the back meadow.

I loved your Up, Up & Away story! I was holding my breath.

mystic rose said...

I just had to read this post! :)
I do envy you, what an adventure! Those birds are so lovely. And I guess it must be the male looking straight at you. He seems to be taking one last look at his saviour.

nollyposh said...

i too ~Love~ the Bluebird... How wonderful <3

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Quite a journey for these two bluebirds: from the hearth to your heart to mine

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Ruth,

I believe that no encounter with life is by chance. Each encounter has a purpose and a meaning, even the most seemingly inconsequential. An encounter like the one you describe in this post is unusual, intense, and well worth the contemplation you've given it. Thank you for a good read.

Margaret Bednar said...

I've seen this photo on your blog, but never read the story attached to it. Just wonderful. You do hold this in your heart ! and now so do I. This story has filled me with such happiness and wonder. Thank you!