Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Being known

I washed my back door windows yesterday. They are French doors, I think, long expanses of glass. And, perhaps because I don't spend hours keeping them clean, they are rarely the site of bird dazings. Bird dazings are those sad happenings, when you are sitting in a room and hear a soft but significant thud on your window, and look out to see a bird downed by its own reflection.

I may have made up the name, but the phenomenon is definitely real! 

Alas, my clean windows provided the perfect spot for a bird dazing this morning. As I was sipping (no, really, I was slurping--hot coffee is more often slurped than sipped) my morning caffeinated beverage, I heard the tell-tale sound, and ran to the window. 

It happened again, and again, the bird beating against the window! I watched. Finally, it fluttered to the ground. I sat and watched some more. It was a new bird, to me, at least. So I hopped up and grabbed the ubiquitous bird book which, miraculously, was where a kitchen bird book should be when you need it (on the counter!) 

As I began flipping through the pages, I started to berate myself. "You really shouldn't be doing this. You've got Your List. You need to work out, clean up. You need to call caseworkers and email attorneys. You should finish spackling the bathroom wall and paint it. You should, you should, you should . . . ." 

But I looked out of the window and gazed at that little bird. So very tiny. And I wanted to know it. It seemed important, somehow, to know what it was. Someone should know, particularly if it was beyond dazed. Beings that are to be buried should be known.

It was tiny, chickadee-sized. Mostly gray, but with a lovely stripe of gentle yellow on its forehead. And one of those tiny, thin black beaks, which make me think of warblers. 

After much flipping, I found the Golden-Crowned Kinglet. She (for she was definitely female) was a lucky sighting, I think. My bird book notes that "(t)hese diminutive creatures are a delight to watch--if you can follow them." 

The bird dazing was her loss and my gain, I guess. Fortunately for her, after several moments of stillness, she slowly turned to look at me, then fluttered off into the trees. 

But our encounter wound into my musings about funerals and death. We've had what feels like more than our share of funerals of late at Grace. And, because I am working at home, I often sing at services. I count this a great blessing. Because these services provide me with a moment to slow down and know these people who have passed. 

Some of them I know, and am personally grieved by their passing. And some I do not know, and can only watch and be saddened by their loved ones grief. But the services offer an opportunity to mourn the loss to their families and community. And to know them. Because the last thing we can do for a being when they've passed is to know them. And isn't that what most of us long for, to be known? 


Blogger katykay said...

To know them and to keep knowing them by remembering them. Yes.

6:56 PM  

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