There is a desperate peeping sound coming from inside the berry bushes. I pretend that it is coming from somewhere else and continue picking the luscious berries that stain my hands with their rich juice. Yet, the pitch heightens and comes ever closer so that I cannot deny there is a little soul in torment in the bush. I look into the heavy branches. It is difficult to see the source of the crying through the many green leaves and the generous strings of red berries blocking my view. A good place for a nest, but now it seems deserted, except for this one little crying soul that cannot find its way.
It hops onto my garden slipper, fighting fear by taking a chance. Like most young birds, it is tiny, grey-white attempting to spread its short wing span, but still unable to control the movement and finding it harder than it looks. “All around they are flying – why can’t I?” it wonders. Who hasn’t felt like that? I sympathize with the little bird. It jerks its head this way and that, hopping onto my other slipper, tired of feeling alone, winded from the shrieking for help and fatigued by the magnitude of the challenge. How will it all end?
I dare not touch the little bird and stand still, not moving my feet lest I scare it off or, even worse, tread on it. I’ve taken in wild animals before. Taking it with me is unlikely to result in its survival. And so we wait for the call from above. What is next? Then it comes: the deeper, more controlled call of experience from the mountain ash tree. Mother shows her presence by winging her way from one branch to another, calling out her location all of the time.
I look at my slippers. The tiny bird has hopped off and is standing next to me, darting its head back and forth, looking for the source of comfort. Time for me to leave and let them find their way to one another. My bowls are full of berries in any case. Greed serves no purpose. I step away slowly, but take a bit of the grass underfoot with me. The little bird tips over and, by instinct, spreads its wings. “There – you can do it!” is my thought. The little bird flaps and flaps, lifting slighty off the ground, but not quite mastering the laws of aerodynamics as yet. It will soon, it’s obvious. Time and practice solve most things.
All of the happenings around me in my island wilderness are a mirror of life. Things can get very desperate and lonely. We shriek and fall, either because of the inexperience of youth or the fragility of age. Life is frightfully hard. Yet in the moment of falling, most of us learn to spread our wings in some way. The promise of love and eventually love itself is what keeps us going, keeps us trying. Life is a tyrant and life is a wonder. In this way, it will never be resolved.
Living in Sweden? Take advantage of the special offer available on Julie’s books just now by visiting www.julielindahl.com. If you live elsewhere, visit the site to learn about where you can purchase her newest award-winning book, “Rose in the Sand” about a decade lived on a Swedish island.