There are always birds at our bird feeder, but one morning I saw them differently. Not just as birds, but as representatives of another viewpoint. I could say I saw them as if they were aliens, and then perhaps you will feel even more the impact of what I felt, as I saw them differently.
If you are a fan of science fiction, you have seen scenes where aliens from multiple worlds meet together, everyone looking completely and uniquely different. That was the scene at the bird feeder.
There was the lovely wren with her tail perched in the air, the recipient of the many varieties of woodpeckers continually dropping suet on the ground for her. Side by side, the nuthatch and tufted titmouse kept busy pecking at seeds and surveying the landscape, the titmouse ignoring the fact that the nuthatch eats upside down.
The bright red cardinal sat with his tawny wife watching over the gathering, and waiting for room at the feeder. The chickadees flew in and out from the pine trees; nobody cared that they never fly straight to anything, but always arrive where they are going.
Each bird was completely different. Different colorings, different songs, different habits, different body types, all eating together in harmony. It is more than the fact that all birds were welcome, it is that uniqueness is the norm.
I compared the birds to humans. We humans didn’t do well in the comparison. It wasn’t just that these birds looked completely different from each other and still got along; they also have different habits, and different ways of providing and raising families. They were so different from each other that each species could have been from a different planet, you know – aliens.
Humans often have to look like each other in order to get along. We can’t have different ways of being, or loving, or raising families. We cross streets if someone doesn’t have the same skin color as we do. We gather in groups where we all dress alike, wear our hair alike, and if someone stands out too much, we ignore, or bully them.
We ban the way others worship, we keep their histories out of our schools, we segregate, we alienate, and worse of all, we go to war over our differences.
Yes, there is the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Oh, for sure they do. If you have ever seen a flock of bluebirds landing on a tree covered with snow, you have never forgotten the sight.
I love that humans flock together too. You have seen them; there are bike birds, and scuba birds, teenage girl birds, boys-on-the-street birds, and suit birds. When I go to the gym, I see girl gym birds, and boy gym birds. Flocks. We dress alike, and move alike, bonding through the activity, or point of view we represent.
Flocking is lovely. It helps build community. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when one flock of humans meets another flock, or one community meets another, harmony broke out?
That’s what birds teach us, how to blend our unique songs together in harmony. Birds play and sing while they work. They care for each other. They sound alarms when there is danger even if they themselves aren’t anywhere near it.
Yes, I could go on and on about being a bird. For now, I am thinking it would be awesome to see us all look like our unique selves, and respect, and love our differences. I am personally working up to being able to go to a gathering where there really are aliens from another planet, and still be able to see them as they are, a representation of the force called Love.
In the meantime, I hope to be more like the birds at our birdfeeder, and see every human as beautifully unique. Heck, if a big woodpecker with a red patch on his head gets along completely with a tiny brown wren with its tail in the air, we should be able to do the same.