You will never grow tired of the birds. My soul is also in the nest, conquering heights by instinct before the wings are even formed. How is this possible? Because instinct in the human being is constantly evolving out of one thing and into another. It is accompanied on the one hand by memory and on the other by aspiration. One contains depths, the other heights. This is the poetry of the soul – the spirit sings in a deep past and a high future. Instinct swells, joyously, rebelliously, in the nest of the present.
I ask myself, how do I know this? Well, it’s visible when I stop looking. The energy and expenditure of life bring to the surface things which are apparent only when you are still. Thus youth and age both have their virtues. The one climbs mountains of aspiration before they are there, the other draws on deep reservoirs of memory. Instinct nourishes them both. But how can instinct elaborate these two things – as a bird elaborates its flight in the air – unless they are really there, unless they allude to realities? The deep glow of the past dawns on us in age because its truth grows closer – tipping us at last into the deepest reserve of memory, the spiritual light we emerged from at birth. Youth climbs in aspiration because it knows that the goal of flight is a real one – its very muscles tell it so.
Therefore, when I am still, the light of things past and things to be confirms itself in me. There is reassurance in this: in days of dullness and cloud the bird does not completely forget to sing. My friend the blackbird flies to the gable-end of the building opposite and pours out his heart – and mine – into the air. I know his meaning.
My heart itself is in the nest and waits to fly,
when I have mastered every instinct given me.
Cloud and rainfall bury me in thought. Impatient
for the sky, my life will not release the power to rise.
Yet everything is there that’s needed, save the light
to draw me up – I have it in conception, in
the memory of flight, which is instinct’s other name:
never to be forgotten, the heart’s ascent.
And though I neither fly nor fall I understand
the golden heights: they are born in me and I climb
back to them with each passing minute of my life.
Thus age brings only remembrance, and active age
remembers what was never known in time’s embrace.
I move without moving, come down without climbing
and fly by faith alone before the wings are fledged.
Do I envy the bird in the nest? – his soul is mine.
Best wishes, today,
© Landar 2012. All rights reserved
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Author: Jay Landar
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