Birds | Culture | Philosophy | Stargazing

The Birds and Stars Remind

Let’s face it, the days between the US National Election and the events of January 6th were some of the craziest we’ve ever witnessed in our lifetimes. Not since 9/11 have I been so angry and distracted as I was on the afternoon of January 6th, 2021. And it can be easy to wrap yourself around the pole of ongoing coverage and online opinion and speculation. I let myself indulge in some of that too.

And then last night I took a walk outside on a brilliantly clear night and saw Orion poised above me. Orion has seen it all before and recognizes the smallness in our human lifetimes. This is big by human standards, but we’re like ants to the universe, and not the big ants but the tiny little ones that you have to squint to make out the features on. Orion whispered “This might be a big week for you but this ain’t nothing to the universe, kid.”

Earlier this morning I waited for the water to boil for my morning jolt of goodness and watched the birds flitter about from the feeder to the ground, ground to the shrub, and back to the feeder. This crowd featured bluebirds and cardinals and mourning doves and sparrows. Mostly taking their turns at the feeder (except for the mourning doves who rely on scraps falling to the ground), but sometimes impatient with each other to get a move on so they can have their turn. This frenzy continued on well past the coffee being ready. Small little things fighting for their share and a little bit more. Perspective is where you find it.

This week we saw people acting like squabbling birds at the feeder not wanting to take turns, while others pounced on the scraps below. It was maddening, and the days ahead are fraught with peril. But a walk or a glance outside offers lessons in perspective. We have work to do. A lot of work. But the worst of this will pass if we work together to make things better. Generally humanity is moving ever so slowly towards a better place. We might see this if we break our focus on selfishly fighting amongst ourselves. This ain’t nothing to the universe kid. This too shall pass.

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