I realized today that blue jays are far prettier than I thought. Far bluer. I might have always held them up to bluebirds and thought they just were not as blue. I know I thought they were not as nice. And so I dulled them in my mind. I am on the winter porch again, trying to see everything.
I pretend I’m in a tree stand, waiting for game to enter the orbit of my vision. I want to become invisible, soundless. In the patches of ground where the snow has disappeared, other birds pick through dry leaves – sounding easily four times their size. Crows make their own huge noise, first by hollering across at least a quarter mile to each other, second by flapping those broad wings so close to me as they cross in front of the porch.
I am not trying to know everything (or I am trying not to want to), just to see everything. My body won’t let me rush head first anymore, at least not with the same results. I have a will that sometimes separates me from my body. It helps right now to stop and witness the earth’s body with all its peculiar citizens.
I see along the river, the river I know is there because the sunrise made it shine several hours ago, a line of sycamores. Sycamores are maples, which I only just learned, and symbolize expansion. I get that; I am in love with the way a sycamore will expand out of its barky skin like an arm stretching longer than its sleeve. Bare, calico arms reaching for the sky. And so the sycamore is also associated with the planet Jupiter, the one that represents for anyone how they will grow and evolve. As I do with most bits of nature, I ask what made the sycamore as it is, the most striking tree (to me) of all. What evolutionary usefulness, this difference, this magnetic glowing emergence.
The river birch is a good runner-up in my mind, but for the same reasons as the sycamore, coming out of its skin as it does. Both the sycamore and the river birch line all the rivers I see, at least where I’m from. They stand witness to water that moves, and stand symbolic of movement outward and upward. River water, sycamore, birch; I feel them together forming a temple, and I will sit in worship there in all seasons, and listen to the crows call and respond, and wait for whatever else will enter my line of sight.