My Grosbeak

By Barabar Curtis Horton

It is one of those full-of-joy mornings. I watch birds, particularly female grosbeaks (males have already gone south), feeding at the seedling fig tree consigned to our wildlife. My mind, however, turns to a statement made by a participant in a theosophical study group. She said, "My mother says, I know that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing." That small bit of wisdom, both simple and profound, is as true for birds as for humans. Each species, each individual, knowing, sensing, when and where to arrive -- in this case for the ripening figs.

Some years ago I met a baby grosbeak. She had become lost in some deep ground cover. Rather than rescue one who needed no rescue, we did

not answer at once those imperious cries. Finally wading into the cover, I came forth with a delightful companion for the next few weeks.

Profiting from a friend's experience, I knew I must be careful not to keep my bird captive when grown. Her bird was caged by a window. When night came and it could see the stars in the dark August sky, her grosbeak became frenzied. There was a message in the mysterious, compelling arrangement of those heavenly bodies. The message: it is time to fly south and we will guide you.

My bird, when released, took up residence on a clothesline outside the kitchen window, where I fed her enormous appetite. Suddenly she was gone. I was sad, asking what must be her fate with no experienced parent to guide her?

When do grosbeaks return? Like enough it was mid-March of the following year. In any case I was at work in the kitchen. I looked up as I heard strong taps at the window glass. It was a female grosbeak, my grosbeak, giving me a sign that nature had guided her to be where she should be, doing what she should be doing.

It was also a goodbye. From then on she was a grosbeak among grosbeaks. Perhaps even she is, at this very moment, feeding in the seedling fig.

(From Sunrise magazine, December 2001/January 2002; copyright © 2001 Theosophical University Press)

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