I have a cool canary who sits in his cage in the greenhouse window in our kitchen, making the most of his present incarnation, at least within the limitations of his artificial enclosure. When I come out in the morning to make coffee, he tweets and I whistle back. We go on like that for a few moments, then resume our private thoughts as we carry on with our business. It works just fine, unless I happen to whistle the theme song from the Andy Griffith Show. That tends to stump him for a while, then he may suddenly burst out with a staggering series of trills and chirps to show me unequivocally who’s the boss in that category.
Likewise, if we should discover that the universe (in which our particular solar system is a mere speck lingering on the outskirts of a relatively ordinary galaxy afloat among billions of comparable others) is itself akin to a kind of science experiment conducted by nerd-like beings in a surrounding universe, inexplicable beings whose own universe is itself contained within that of another, like exponential Russian Babushka Nesting Dolls, we might pause and show a little more humility when moved by our habitual arrogance to expound and explain some piece of so-called wisdom to a fellow ignoramus.
Still, we will generally persist in spite of all that, simply because we are human, and that is a popular mind game we play with each other, for no particular reason, except to confirm our own tenuous self-sense in the midst of the incomprehensible unknown mystery which constitutes our brief but all-important (to us) existence. We’re rather predictable in that regard, and quite happy to share our carefully crafted opinions when the opportunity presents itself, or even if it doesn’t.
Yes, we imagine we’re something special, and we want our fellow somethings to know all about it. It’s not unlike the alpha-type hummingbird who lives in our front yard. We have several hummingbird feeders, but that one hummer tries to dominate them all. He spends so much energy darting from feeder to feeder to protect his territory, that he doesn’t have much time to just kick back and enjoy the totality of the universal manifestation as it all comes down in elegant harmony!
In any case, the years run on, and we keep making the same blunders, only with different people, but in eerily similar circumstances, until perhaps with a bit of merciful grace we raise our head from its customary soupy stupor and look around, as if for the very first time. Was that a whistle we heard? We’re tempted to say something, but then, uncharacteristically, we don’t. It is a new sensation, to start to speak but then to suddenly shut up. What a relief, to simply ignore the chronic reactive compulsion to blather. It feels OK, in fact, it feels quite natural! We could get used to this!
(Photo by Mazie Lane)