Last weekend I was walking along a small lake in Orlando Florida and came upon a dead wren suspended by it’s beak from a cattail reed. It was somewhat bloated and desiccated, its feathers disshelved making identification of it difficult – perhaps a sedge or marsh wren. What was more perplexing was how the bird came to be in this position. Did it get its beak jammed in the reed, unable to free itself? Did a shrike do its impaling thing by stuffing the bird by its beak into the small crevice? Or did a human come by and find a dead bird or even an injured one, and hang it by it’s beak as a unbidden, subconscious ritual harkening from million years of primate evolution? I walked away from the bird with more questions than answers, for the life of the wren and for my own life.
How do we get to be in the positions we find ourselves? How do we live in the unknown, mysterious liminal world where we hang between birth and death and knowing and not knowing, unable to affect the outcome or know what the outcome will be? There are moments in our lives where we are suspended from our daily concerns, often in times of confusion and pain, and we can but swing in the wind like the wren, beauty caught in some mysterious pattern with decay and death all around. Will your end come from bad luck or unfortunate accident, a force or natural process of nature, or from intentional mal intent from our own species?
No matter where we find ourselves I wonder then if in the unbidden tragedies or our life, we can let go to the mystery, so deeper connections of beauty and compassion can emerge.
A wren on a reed
Signals we all have a need
Longing to be freed
Cowritten with my sister Linda Joyner