I really didn’t want to do this. However, after our Wednesday meditation we were discussing what would happen at the Late Planting Sunrise Ceremony on Saturday morning and Three Arrows said, “You all need to go,” then looked at me, pointed his finger and said, “especially you.”
It’s 4 am Saturday morning and I finally get out of bed. I’m mostly ready so by the time I get in my car it’s exactly 4:30. The ride is flawless with almost no traffic and almost all green lights. As I enter Mattapan Square I notice several seagulls fly across my path, left to right and right to left, as I start up Blue Hill Ave.
I arrive at the Brookline Reservoir and discover that I’m driving right behind Aziza. I make a U-turn at the light and park across from the Reservoir. I get out of my car to make sure she sees me. She does and parks right in front of me. I go across the street to see where the entrance is and a tall man with a Collie dog walks up and greets me. He asks if I’m here for the Sunray Meditation and I say yes. His name is Jim.
As he walks on, I return to Aziza and we decide to put our bags in the trunk so we have less to carry. I give her a walking/ceremony stick and with folding chairs on shoulders we walk across the street, along the fence and up to the opening where we can enter the park area.
We navigate down the steep grassy slope and appreciate the mildness of the morning and the beauty of the sky. As the ground levels off I see to the right four big grey-black feathers lying close together on the grass. I pick them up and bring them to where Jeanne is setting up. There’s a single feather lying on the ground in front of her so I place the four feathers on the ground in the four directions around the central feather. Then I see on the ground 3 more, smaller feathers nearby. I gather them up and place one next to the central feather but in the opposite direction. Now one central feather represents pointing to heaven and Father Sky and the other represents pointing to earth and Mother Earth. The remaining two feathers I place in the northeast and southwest.
We begin the ceremony using our sticks for The Dance that Sweeps Away Illusions. Carol Ann joins us. Then we do the Dance of the Four Directions, 9 times. Jeanne sets up an altar and we do the Sunray Basic Meditation. We finish by making prayers and cornmeal offerings.
As we prepare to leave, I gather the feathers and offer one to each person. I say that I think they must be goose feathers. Then we say our goodbyes and depart.
As Aziza and I make our way back to the opening in the fence I notice two tiny baby birds, each with a white ring of feathers around its neck, sitting at the bottom of a double trunked tree with green growth in a couple of spots. I point them out to Aziza thinking what a beautiful picture that would make.
As we stop to admire them the one on my right flies toward me. I have a momentary flash of remembrance of being a small child swinging on the swing in my back yard. A hummingbird flies over and hovers, buzzing in front of my face. I screamed in terror thinking it’s a huge bug and run away.
This little bird flies right up to me and lands on my left shoulder. I stand very still. Then it flies up and sits on the top of my head. I can feel its tiny claws on my scalp. It stays there for about a minute and seems to like it up there. I'm in a state of quiet disbelief that this is happening to me. After a while I put my finger on my head and try to get it to step onto my finger but it seems content to just sit where it is. I walk over to the tree and try to gently sweep it onto the tree but it doesn’t move. Eventually, the little bird decides to step onto my finger. I see how truly tiny it is - about the size of a golf ball or avocado seed - and notice that it must be a baby because its feathers are still fluff in places. Baby bird and I greet each other face to face before it flies away. I asked Aziza what happened to the other one and she said it flew away when this one came to me.
Aziza and I are both awestruck. She says, “It went right to your crown chakra. This is very auspicious! I’m going to look up birds in my medicine cards book when I get home.” Nothing like this has ever happened to me, ever. I was deeply moved, honored, humbled. Tears of gratitude and awe welled up in my eyes and heart. I stopped a few more times as we ascended the hill to look at her and say, “Wow!”
Seagulls. Goose feathers. And I can still feel the baby bird’s claws on the top of my head. I wonder what happens next with all this bird medicine around me.
P.S. This event showed me that I have evolved to a place of centeredness and inner peace sufficient enough to attract this baby bird. It has not yet learned to fear so it came to commune with me.
CODA - June 18, 2010 - 5 days later:
I look out into my yard from the kitchen window and see a dark lump in the grass. I go out to investigate and discover that it's a live bird, dark feathers, round bill, webbed feet. I'm not sure if it's a duck or a young goose. It sits still as if it were sitting on an egg. I touch and gently stroke its head asking "What's the matter? Why are you here? Are you injured?" The answer that comes into my mind is that it was separated from its flock by a hawk.
When it gets up and starts to walk around I see that it's about 12 inches high, has a set of striped feathers on either side that are deep irridescent blue-purple with a white and black border. Eventually it walks away and I worry about its safety.
So, twice in one week I have been in physical contact with a bird. I'd love to hear your comments on what that might mean.