“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a story.” Maya Angelou
“When the wild ducks or the wild geese migrate in their season, a strange tide rises in the territories over which they sweep. As if magnetized by the great triangular flight, the barnyard fowl leap a foot or two into the air and try to fly. The call of the wild strikes them with the force of a harpoon and a vestige of savagery quickens their blood. All the ducks on the farm are transformed for an instant into migrant birds, and into those hard little heads, till now filled with humble images of pools and worms and barnyards, there swims a sense of continental expanse, of the breadth of seas and the salt taste of the ocean wind. The duck totters to right and left in its wire enclosure, gripped by a sudden passion to perform the impossible and a sudden love whose object is a mystery.
“Even so is man overwhelmed by a mysterious presentiment of truth, so that he discovers the vanity of his bookkeeping and the emptiness of his domestic felicities. But he can never put a name to this sovereign truth. Men explain these brusque vocations by the need to escape or the lure of danger, as if we knew where the need to escape and the lure of danger themselves came from. They talk about the call of duty, but what is it that makes the call of duty so pressing? What can you tell me, Sergeant, about that uneasiness that seeped in to disturb your peaceful existence?
“The call that stirred you must torment all men. Whether we dub it sacrifice, or poetry, or adventure, it is always the same voice that calls. But domestic security
as succeeded in crushing out that part in us that is capable of heeding the call. We scarcely quiver; we beat our wings once or twice and fall back into our barnyard.
“We are prudent people. We are afraid to let go of our petty reality in order to grasp at a great shadow. But you, Sergeant, did discover the sordidness of those shopkeepers’ bustlings, those petty pleasure, those petty needs. You felt that men did not live like this. And you agreed to heed the great call without bothering to try to understand it. The hour had come when you must moult, when you must rise into the sky.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars; 1967translation by Lewis Galantiere; Harcourt, Inc; Orlando, FL; pp212-213
Are your feathers ruffled?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Every day begins a new journey. You start with Self at this moment in time and progress through the challenges and refreshments until the day’s end, to which self has grown to a greater or lesser degree.
What’s the point of it all? “There’s nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc 1:9)
In the Bible, this is the transition between Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. (Solomon went seeking wisdom, and look at the perks!) This is when we need to imagine that we are writing (or painting, working, creating) for someone who listens to us with the thrilling attentions of a lover. Someone who wants to discover all there is to know about us, all we have thought, even all we might soon think. That lover is God the Creator, Who does not find you dull, but endlessly interesting and utterly delightful. If you don’t believe me, see 2 Sam 22:20; Prov 8: 22-31; Zeph 3:17
The daily distractions of survival create a dullness that eases us through the shocks of life, and we slip into quiet complacency without even sensing the shift. It takes a determined effort to make the time to connect, to pay attention, to clarify our understanding and put words to our thoughts. It takes an effort to notice things. We become comfortably numb before we realize what’s missing.