I’m thinking about words today, these flitting little finches of communication that roost wherever they can safely alight, hanging on for as much time as needed to accomplish a purpose, then scattering in the breeze only to re-form later in a different version of the flock.
Yes, in an effort to find an extra something gentle as a tonic against the bone-headed obstinacy of some humans, I’ve been contemplating the Madagascar Fodies as they gather in my coconut tree in high hopes that it’s approaching five o’clock … the magic time the feeder fills.
They carry on constant conversations in rapid-fire Fodish, arguing often over just whose turn it is to hog the little perch at the food dispenser, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of listening going on.
Hmmmm. Strikingly familiar today, I must say.
Although it’s arrogant to assume that birds couldn’t have issues as grand as the ones humans burden themselves with, any other perspective would be anthropomorphic in the extreme. Very unscientific, that, and not supportive of today’s ramblings.
For now, I’ll accept that the little birds in the coconut tree are not holding grudges or harboring resentments that render other birds’ chirps inaudible and that every cheep and twitter is heard and taken at beak value.
Harboring resentments. There are a couple of words that go together like ‘soup and sandwich’, but give them an extra couple of taps of the space bar between and a whole realm of thoughts jump up and demand attention.
The verb, to harbor, meaning to shelter, to give refuge to, to protect and keep safe. Such a cozy word, so warm and snug.
Resentments, a noun meaning bitterness, antipathy, bile, hatred, anger. Nothing cozy here, just all hard edges and foul-tasting juices laced with the metallic tang of regret.
Why on earth would these two fine words, both excellent examples of clarity on their own, ever be put side-by-side, and often enough for the combo to go unchallenged in most conversations? And why would anyone seek the state they describe?
Harboring resentments … sheltering bitterness … giving refuge to bile … making a safe place for hatred.
Nietzsche comes to mind. From “Thus Spake Zarathustra” …
“And others are proud of their handful of justice and commit outrages against all things for its sake, till the world is drowned in their injustice. Oh, how ill the word virtue comes out of their mouths!
And when they say, “I am just,” it always sounds like “I am just – revenged.” With their virtue they want to scratch out the eyes of their enemies, and they exalt themselves only to humble others.”
My prescription for peace today: read Nietzche and watch birds.
I feel better already. Great, in fact.
Back to work …