The saying goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” and were I living on the land and hungry I’m sure I’d feel that way. Because of the life I have I’m grateful for the birds in the bush. Only a few times have I held a bird in my hands, when one has gotten caught in the sunroom of my home unable to distinguish window from open door and I was slow enough and still enough to cup my hands around the heart-throbbing frightened bird and carry her outside to feel the force of her life push away and up and up.
Yesterday I volunteered as I do upon occasion for The Gathering Place, an organization that serves lunch to Monterey’s homeless women every Tuesday. About 100 women were gathered yesterday. After lunch we found a quiet place to write together. Ruthie, a tall, short-haired, bare-armed woman said, “A hawk dropped a rabbit right next to me at my camp the other night. I felt honored by the gift and carried the still-warm soft rabbit to the trail. Next morning it was gone.”
There are many small parts of nature I like to have in hand, to feel the nubbiness, or smoothness or edges. If you pick something up from beside the trail and hold it the relationship to that part of the earth and to nature overall shifts. You bring it close. Anything we hold in hand we become personal with. The abstraction disappears. This feather, this flower, this stone, this pine cone. Save the poison oak, I pick up most anything to feel its weight, to bring it close, to shorten the distances between the earth and me.