POSTCARD #183: Bangkok: I have to say that there’s not a lot happening here. One bird is tucked away down inside the ceiling fan wire guard and the other bird flies in with two or three longish springy lengths of leaf growth I can’t really identify. The seated bird inside takes the nest-building material in its beak, pulls it inside the enclosure and tucks it in around the space. The other bird watches for a while then flies away. In the photo you can see the long tail of the seated bird sticking up. The bird is inside the wire cage of the ceiling fan and the other one perched on top watching me take the photo.
Most of the day I’m sitting next to the glass doors of the patio, reading my book and a small flicker against the sky tells me when a bird is either coming or going. Strange how this whole thing is happening a second time… some years ago in Switzerland a couple of birds built a nest on the balcony and I encouraged this in the same way I’m doing now; next thing we had a whole colony of pigeons and doves, creatures of the air perched out there on the balcony among old discarded objects and summer furniture. I wrote a few posts about the experience, excerpts follow:
Switzerland, August 29, 2012: Awake at 4:00 AM this morning, came through and switched on the kitchen light; old style fluorescent neon tube-light, flicker-flicker flick. And a bluish white light everywhere with electronic buzz you don’t notice after a while. The light shines through the windows illuminating the balcony of this 7th floor apartment and the pigeons wake up. A very loud sound: croo-croo, croo-croo, croo-croo, croo-croo! So I switch off the light again and they’re quiet as soon as I do that. Now I’m sitting in the darkness, held back in my domestic activities by the wildlife on the balcony. What to do now? Can’t read my book. Stand there in the darkness, and it takes a moment to notice the silence the birds are in. I sit in my chair and fall into meditation state… first thing I’m aware of is entering the quiet space of the perched birds – so silent here, 7 floors above street level. There’s a presence around these birds in roost mode; it takes my breath away, winged animals, so close to me… metta loving-kindness to all beings. I can’t see them but I know I’m very close to a small family group inhabiting the balcony. Two adults and two young birds and there’s another one – the mysterious ‘other’ … the alpha male has taken a second wife? I’m saying this because in the evenings there’s often some extended flapping of wings as they get their places in the hierarchy settled for the night – it’s like who gets to be next to whom. I can’t imagine… return to mindfulness mode.
After a while, and maybe I’ve fallen asleep, the wing-flutter, flap gets my attention, in the light of very early morning. Then there’s an odd silence in the bird group out there; no wing-flap. I get up quietly and go over to see. They’re poised on the balcony handrail; all looking out, little necks extended, heads focused downwards on the space below; the great swimming pool of sky. Still no movement. Then simultaneously they burst into an instant wing-flutter-flap-flick of feather tip flip of flight, and they’re gone. As one unit they drop over the balcony and down. A moment later I see them swoop and swirl in a great arc in the sky then on eye level with this 7th floor and in a direct line away from me, they vanish in the distance.
‘… so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings; radiating kindness over the entire world: spreading upwards to the skies, and downwards to the depths; outwards and unbounded, freed from hatred and ill-will. Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down free from drowsiness, one should sustain this recollection.’ [from: Karaniya Metta Sutta]
I could relate to reading about you kicking it while observing the birds/nature.
You know I might have said this to you before so I apologize if I’m redundant but I look at that as communicating with God. To me, by observing nature in what ever way I do is a way of listening to God speak to me.
Sometimes if i don’t know what to do about something I will focus on the idea that I don’t what to do and have the intent to be told what to do. So as a example I will walk up to a ant hill in my back yard with a chair and touch it lightly with my foot and then let my mind rest and simply observe the ants come out and rebuild the mound.
It is for me a way of escaping the limitations of what I think and connect to a intelligence that manifests life.
It’s kind of funny or scary depending on your circumstances ( I been on both sides of that coin) well when you get close to that “seeing” it, suddenly everything is pointing at it. All you have to do is let your mind rest and look and you can see it.
I feel like a dork saying it like that as I’m not this “Saint” walking through life throwing roses at everyone. Most of the time I’m trying to figure out what my next step is.
Sleep well Tommy and thanks for this observant truth, other beings in the world, the world and everything. I know what you mean…
Having the coo-cooing of Doves around your home is a glorious way to live with nature. I well know how that fluttering of wings can stir one’s emotions.
I only have 2 doves around at the moment and strangely……I think of them as family. I look forward especially to the young one with its sleek build and soft salmon-pink head looking this way and that through the window and glass door. I’m sure its checking to see if I’m around despite the fact that the glass reflections mustn’t show very much from the outside looking in.
Thanks Vicki, this is it. Looking this way and that… have you noticed that they can turn their heads around nearly 360 degrees, it’s uncanny. And glass windows are a puzzle to them, I think, they can see you moving around quite close through the glass sometimes but they aren’t afraid. It’s like they know about glass being a transparent barrier.
It is wonderful to watch the beauty of nature. There is something living in my ceiling. I think he’s sealed in. Men came to weatherproof and we thought they left but someone is still running over our head and we have no one to rescue him. I think it’s a squirrel.
Nature just on the boundaries of our life. You don’t need to worry about it, squirrels can find a way to gnaw through a barrier and escape…
I hope it’s out and not down landing on me. I do hear him digging. I am girly when it comes to undomesticated animals.
It should find its way out without bumping into humans by mistake, that just doesn’t happen. But you should probably make a call to the pest/rodent people if it doesn’t go away…
good luck with that…
Truly amazing moments. Thanks for sharing these stories with us. This is very rare to have birds nesting so close by that one can watch them. And to you it has happened twice.
Happy new year,
Really nice that you should say that Karin, I’m encouraged now to write a few more animal anecdotes, including the one about the small lizard – there’s a picture on the About page. Let’s see if I can get that into shape…
Oh yes, do write about animal anecdotes. I am eager to read more.
There are a few, maybe it’s living in this part of the world where birds and small animals live close to/depend on human communities
Love the journey. I was right there with you Tiramit. Happy New Year to you.
Best wishes Dave, the journey goes on…
Thank you for the bird update! Imagining you sitting by the glass door reading and being aware of the comings and goings sounds so peaceful. I was delighted to read your excerpt from the Karaniya Metta Sutta. I memorized it over a period of months and recite from memory daily, often twice. It brings me joy to connect with the very true advice it contains. Maybe before I die I will have adopted more of its teachings. Happy 2016! ❤ Sunny
Thank you Sonnische, the Karaniya Metta Sutta is a favourite of mine, so many versions. I think I pefere the Access to Insight translation. I shall be watching the birds again today as the family usually leave me to have quiet time while they go off swimming and skating with M and her friend who are 11 years old.
What I love is that the birds don’t seem to require a “natural roost.” They just go about their business in the ceiling fan shroud like it was any other nook or crook suitable for a nest. And the way they lined up together to take a peek at the sky before take-off, there’s something beautiful about that. Your writing, as always, brings me right to the sensations I imagine were present there– the sweet and delicate electricity of being seated in the darkness in the “presence” of winged creatures. Such a glorious feeling!
Thanks Michael, these last few years I’ve living out of the dense urban areas where there are trees and plants, hedgerows that grow so fast they need to be trimmed every few days, trees are continually in flower, new branches, new leaves – no seasons just sunshine and rain all the time. The cities have no natural enemies that birds need to be aware of, except crows. The excerpt where they were lined up together on the hand rail ready to fly away, I think they were waiting for there to be sufficient light to be able to see the crows and the danger. They’re clever… this is their world as Tom says…
Doves mean peace Tiramit, so I hope they’re sitting up there ready to drop a big bundle on you for 2016! happy New Year!
Thanks Jude, well they are such gentle creatures and seem like they’re lighter than air, best wishes to you for 2016
I’ve always loved birds. That’s why one of the reasons parrots live with us. Birds rock! They say that this is the age of the mammals… and that the dinosaur age is over; but there are more birds (that are actually a form of dinosaur) than there are mammals today by almost double (species-wise). It’s still their world! 🙂
Thanks Tom, yes it’s interesting, now you mention it, birds are a form of dinosaur, ancient beyong belief. And there are more birds than mammals almost double. They are more physically adapted to this environment. I wonder how they view us wingless creatures….