A bird

“You’re just an empty cage, girl, if you kill the bird” – Tori Amos

Hold everything. I drew a bird. Or what is loosely a bird; I’m no visual artist. It happened while I waded through January’s liminal space. In the shallows, the bird. A sparrow/phoenix mashup? Here it is, my Frankenbird set free (thank you, Sia):

(Note: it’s not Sia’s fault. Or not legally.)

I’m not sure why the poor bird flew into my skilless realm – or why I’m sharing its landings, as someone scared of my own shadow. (Extreme self-censorship running the show, anyone else?) Whatever the reasons, I’m enjoying the bird’s presence. It’s reminding me of how first drafts want to land, in my writing life. They want to be let loose. To flap onto pages like terrible birds – terrible, formidable birds set free before anyone tries to tame them. Allowed to be nameless for a while, like this bird.

I’ve been thinking about the bird’s origins.

As 2021’s narrative ended, I stayed on a houseboat for a week. During the trip, I spoke with a fierce and beloved woman named Jan about the power of wild waters and woolly skies. The magnetic energy of standing at the margins of nature’s transitional spaces, where water meets land, lightning rips or clouds burst. How proximity to wild spaces feeds us. I immersed myself in our floated conversation and pecked at the river’s treats. Full to my spirit, like a water bird.

When we humans turn to the elements to fresh our spirits, we often spend time along a water’s edge, sometimes walk in the rain or rising wind, or sit in the breath of a storm to let our storms unleash. (Free some terrible birds.) We go to our river, the places that help us connect with its flow. Wade, stretch our wings. Feel the power of earth, wind and sky. Remember our yearning to be unrestrained. Hear the inner voice flapping in, urging us to remember our elements: strong, intuitive, wild – that bird.

It’s from the river.

#set that bird free

Late note: I reckon a few of the bird’s feathers drifted in from a painting I’ve had in storage for years and which I’ve now reinstated to my study wall.

2 thoughts on “A bird

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