#AdventWord #Messenger

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Excerpt from

Wild Geese

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. 
--Mary Oliver

An anhinga is not a wild goose, of course, but its guttural call sounding over the bayou pulls me in every time. I snuck up on this one in my kayak.

Both I and another woman I know have had conversations with our deceased husbands visiting us in the form of a bird. Call us crazy if you wish.

One day I walked almost 5 miles down the 10-miles of white sand that constitute the west end of Dauphin Island. Once I got past the public beach where the houses end, it was just me and the birds. They were great company. Once I glimpsed a figure standing on the beach and thought for a moment it was another person. It was a great blue heron. We said a silent hello.

That was the most liminal space I have ever been privileged to dwell in for a time.

One of my graduate school professors had done research on birds among an indigenous people of a remote land. As he diligently worked to create a taxonomy of birds in that place, his host and informant became frustrated. “To you they are birds,” he said to my professor. “To us they are voices in the forest.”

Consider the possibility that birds, unencumbered by earthly things, carry messages between worlds. So it seems to me. I do not always understand, but I listen intently.

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