Friday, January 01, 2010

34 The Temple of the birds - Finsbury Park

Thursday December 31, 2009:


Just before midnight, I sneak out into the garden. I lower myself carefully into my sitting place amongst the castor oil plant. From here, I feel invisible.

The sky is already crashing and crackling with anticipatory fireworks. They are far enough away not to be bothersome.

“Dad, it’s nearly time!” wheedles a young boy from a few houses down. Soon his father is in the garden, issuing instructions. My heart sinks.

Effervescently, the air fizzes and hisses. Shortly followed by a series of seemingly random bangs, growing ever louder, the relative peace of the neighborhood is rocked.

“Harrumph!” I mutter darkly as I get up and stump in doors. “Next year,” I say, slamming it rather petulantly, “I’m going to go somewhere out of town where bloody jollity can’t find me!”

Friday January 1, 2010:

Morning comes. I take a cupper into the garden to greet the day. The dew has frozen on the leaves. They are stiff with frost rind. My warm curious finger dislodges a thin sheet, which melts in my palm. Icy shards crackle underfoot as I walk.

Peace reins. I sit down in my usual place and am still. The houses slumber behind their closed curtains, like a sleeper with eyes tight shut determinedly denying the dawn. I have the world to myself!

The robin sings in the apple tree. Beyond the fence, the pigeon coos comfortingly. A magpie rattles irritably and a crow caws high up in the sky. I hear blue tits chattering and behind them, the almost soundless tread of a creeping cat.

The undergrowth hisses and rasps softly as something pushes its way through. I can almost hear the tinkle of breaking ice, falling from the shaken leaves and disturbed bare twigs.

All around beings stand and watch or move quietly. I am surrounded and I sit and enjoy the feeling of being observed. I nod my head at them and listen to how a larger shadow shifts, approaches and then is still.

“Tic-purr, Tic-purr, Tic-purr” sings an unknown bird from near the tall hawthorn.

“What on earth is that?” I wonder, listening hard to the strangeness of the song. Behind it, the wind brings the sound of the geese in the park. They are hooting and babbling, quarrelsome as usual.

“What is it that I will do when I grow up?” I ask of no one in particular. It being a new year, it seems right to reflect right now on that question, especially given the uncertainties that a General Election will bring to my career.

The eagle offers his broad wings. I climb upon him and we soar above the earth, see ourselves reflected most beautifully in great sheets of water. Here, I find a world described in words, my words, carved beautifully in multi-dimensions, painted lovingly in colors that sing gladly in the heart, told cheerfully in songs that everyone knows the chorus of.

The dove dances in the fire. Her tail fanned out, her breast succulently plump. But she is not harmed. It is almost as though she and the fire belong together. Passion and love combine, I think as the flames dance about her. That fits. And this year too, I will journey with fire, I remember.

Bobbing up and down on the water, the duck quacks comically and I laugh and join in. There is really nothing else to do but stick ones bottom up and hunt for food. Amongst the rocks, a tall gaunt crane stands watching. The sun sets behind him. His shadow is austere and the warm glow. So there will be joy and contradictions. I hope I will learn from them.

The owl is silent on his tree stump. Serene and still, he looks harmless but his beak and talons are efficient at catching and dispatching his prey. In the dark of the night I can rest. In stillness, I can be with me, gladly. Doing nothing purposefully is as good as unfocussed frenzied busyness. I am not afraid of the dark for “When the owl hoots, expect a bright ‘morrow”

Wings beat vigorously against the bare branches. Softly, the “thwo-thwo-thwo-thwo-thwo-thwo” of their wings soothes and comforts me.

High up on the Parkland Walk, a large dog barks. Peremptorily, his owner calls him to heal. In the house next door, the washing machine begins to whine.

I commence the rest of my morning circle. As I stand in the mountain pose at the beginning of the “Ha Prayer”, the sun gently touches my cheek. And I think about the dragon from the blue moon eclipse working last night.

“This year,” I say to no one, “like the dragon in the blue moon, I will lick out fear and loathing and breath in love. That’s what I’ll do when I grow up!”I walk back round the temple of the birds and place my hand on each in thanks and farewell. “And this year too,” I say to the birds, “I will dedicate this space to you.”

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