To Be Alive is to Be Vulnerable
I haven’t posted anything in ages. It’s been a strange couple of months. There have been changes within and without. The inner changes are I think due to the fact that I am fast approaching the age of 40. A process of reassessment and taking stock has been taking place, without me actually going out and looking for that to happen. It’s kind of been foisted upon me, and it’s been raw and sore at times. And will continue to be for some time to come, methinks.
Anyway, so I haven’t felt I’ve had much worthy to share in the midst of all this messy rawness. Mindfulness has often felt desperately clung to and not very adequately achieved … if mindfulness is indeed something ‘achievable’.
Work (financial survival) and parenting have been taking up much of my attention, and sometimes I have felt quite distant from my home and the non-human beings around me … cut off, disconnected. I noticed this on my return from a flight to Melbourne to visit my sister and attend a Fairy Tales conference … and wondered whether the flight was what did it (superstitiously enough) … weeks and months have gone past and still my sense of at-homeness has not fully returned to me, my sense of grounded connection.
A few weeks ago I had one moment of choiceless connection and relationship. I was lighting the fire and I heard a desperate quacking coming from the creek. It took me a while of hearing it before I really listened beyond it being mere background birdnoise and heard the desperation in that voice. It prompted me to go outside and listen harder. That’s when I heard other voices, tiny, peeping voices, just as desperate as the louder quack. Quietly, quickly, I made my way down the bank to the creek’s edge and upstream a little way I spied five or six tiny, and I mean TINY baby ducklings … they looked freshly hatched. All striped and fluffy and being buffeted by the unseasonally strong stream (we’ve had another wet winter … and don’t get me started on THAT!). God, the motherly pang that kicked in my breast at the sight. The mother was nowhere to be seen or heard and I began to feel their desperation also. Maybe she was hurt, why were they separated from one another, what had happened? Was there a wild dog or cat nearby? I crossed the creek and got my sneakers wet in the process (was just about to head to exercise class) to see if I could spot the mother. Blundering like a great big troll, super-aware of how frightening I must’ve been to the ducklings but feeling I must try to do something anyway. Then all of a sudden there was a startled flapping and the mother emerged, doing that thing that mother ducks do – they act wounded so as to attract predatory attention to themselves and away from their babies. And I realised I was the predator, in her mind, and then I felt like even more of a great big noisy scary troll. But at least I was reassured that she was still there, and fine. I kind of knew she wasn’t really wounded. I just knew, and I quickly removed myself so they could reunite. But overall what I was left with was that sense of being seen as the predator, of not being seen as being friendly, connected in a good way. This sense of disconnect has been hanging around for weeks, as I said.
This morning I went to a breakfast at our local hall to celebrate the achievements of the Landcare group and their project on Branch Creek. My dear friend Emma has been instrumental and indefatigable in this work. Such an inspiring, deeply connected woman. I went to celebrate her as much as to celebrate their achievements. But celebrating connection and achievement when you yourself feel in the midst of disconnect and non-achievement, is a pretty tough gig. When someone asked me how I was, I honestly answered ‘Vulnerable, like most human beings’. I didn’t last there long, ended up walking home alone with the dogs, trying to honour my vulnerability, feeling fed up with my disconnect and aloneness, but not knowing how to bust out, whilst still honouring this truth of vulnerability and rawness.
On my return to the gate of home, I suddenly heard voices. Voices I’ve been hearing for days but haven’t really tuned into. Too busy, too caught up in my frustration and disconnect and aloneness and general busyness of life, getting by. I realised though, then, on hearing them, how quiet the walk had been and how noisy with life it was here, at my very own door. What a racket was being made and it was time I found out who was making it. Quietly I made my way down the side-path and squatted at the edge of the stand of bamboo, where the voices were coming from. There were at least three distinct voices, coming from different spots. And then I saw her, right in front of me, perched on a black, rotting, fallen piece of bamboo. Her throat was a beautiful rusty red, her wings a brindle of black and dusky browns and they shook as she shrugged her shoulders and belted out her piping song, that was being answered so fiercely by the others nearby.
She was a Logrunner. And for a moment I didn’t feel so disconnected. For a moment, I felt welcomed home, despite my largeness and human trollishness. For a moment, I simply marvelled at her beauty and boldness, making herself so heard, despite her smallness and vulnerability.
I know that there is a power in vulnerability, that is the message I’m starting to hear. It’s early days, early moments yet, but I am starting to listen beyond it being my own inner background noise, my own fierce, desperate inner voice, crying out and wanting to be heard, not ignored. I am starting to listen, I am trying.
More on Logrunners: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Orthonyx-temminckii
Posted on June 16, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged aloneness, Australian wild ducklings, desperation, disconnection, home, Landcare, Logrunner bird, loneliness, mindfulness, vulnerability, Whian Whian. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.