A bird in the hand is an idea that has arrived, but a bird in the bush is still waiting to be discovered.
I started thinking about some of my observations about birds after noticing four different sparrow species in the same area. I easily identified two, but the other two would take some research to get to know. People are a lot like that. Some you can tell just about what they are, or what they are like just by looking at them, others disguise their true being and often look like something they aren’t. Some people you like immediately, others either have to grow on you or neither of you ever bothers to get past that first sighting.
When a bird is a nestling it does little more with its life than wait for its food to be brought to the nest. For this to go on forever, the bird would eventually become fat and either die from lack of activity or from the fall when it’s nest collapses. Did I hear someone say; government subsidies or tax breaks for the wealthy or welfare?
There is no warming sunlight, there is very little movement, there are no other particularly noticeable sounds, but then as if in response to the shuffle of your footsteps comes this piccolo sound or a sound like the gentle tapping of a glass bell from somewhere in the dark distance as if the voice of God was whispering for the new day to come into existence and you have no choice but to listen, because the sound is also calling your soul to join what will be the day’s symphony or dance.
A bird’s song can brighten our day, lift our mood, and hold our attention long after the bird has moved on. It can have us sitting on the edge of our lives waiting for more and sometimes, if we are lucky, cause us to break out into a sweat of sheer excitement or ecstasy.
There is something about a bird with a broken wing, we want to protect it, we want to capture it and try to mend it or nurse it back to health. It is more than the fragility of the creature. It is more than our instinct to shield and aid the damaged. It is more than not wanting to see it harmed, to see its injury lead to its demise. It has something to do with the inherent beauty of the thing, as if even that minute loss of beauty in the world would noticeably diminish all that is beautiful, like putting a microscopic scratch on the Mona Lisa. It might not be noticed, but that almost invisible scratch could lead to a crack, a crack that could grow and become conspicuous and change the painting as we know it. In the same way the loss of that bird could grow into a crack in what we see as beautiful whether for us as an individual or for us as a society or culture or species, it could grow to the extent that all beauty and wonder for us is lessened and perhaps changed.
A bird in the hand is a curiosity, but a bird in the bush is like a heartbeat able to sustain a lifetime.