image via In Obscuro
"Each person has a unique way of seeing and being in the world that reflects the myriad events and life experiences that make one person’s autobiography different from another’s. Even if we are adherents of an orthodox religion, the sacred often appears to us in odd and intimate ways that may seem meaningless or trivial to an outsider. Those pivotal moments when we are wonder-struck, love-struck or terror-struck tend to be so private, so idiosyncratic that we don’t know how to talk about them. We stutter in an effort to put into words an experience that is ineffable.
But what cannot be said straight can be told on a slant. The experience of the sacred can be sung, chanted, danced, put into a poem or embedded in personal narratives, autobiographies and stories. We may point to ways, places and times in which we have glimpsed the Infinite in some finite disguise. Poets have caught a fleeting glance of it in “a flower in a crannied wall” or in a ‘tiger, tiger burning bright in the forest of the night” Norman McLean’s family found in fly fishing the enacted metaphor of grace and love. It has appeared as a holy man or woman–shaman, prophet, healer, avatar, Bodhisatva–or as a snake, bear, cow, pig, horse, river or spring. An Indigo Bunting no less than Jesus or the Dali Lama may become a living metaphor of the Divine.
This brings me to the feathery messengers who have been my private angels. As I explore the epiphanies and metaphors that have been central to my life I often turn back to an enchanted time in childhood when I wandered freely in the woods. It was in these wild places that the love of birds and the quest for G– intwined to fashion the double helix that has informed my journey.
I have not always been swept off my feet by the appearance of a Black and White Warbler or a Bald Eagle. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a bird is just a bird, not a metaphor. But the sightings of some birds have opened new vistas, inspired my mind to ask new questions, my imagination to soar, and my spirit to expand."