A cloud of white feathers floated gracefully above the lustrous expanse of green. As I got nearer, details came into focus: pale pink legs beneath fluffy feathers, lucent yellow beaks protruding from sweet little noses, and shining, sensitive brown eyes gazing at me. It was a large flock of baby birds, none older than about 4 months. They were beautiful. Perfect.
And about to be killed.
I had negotiated with the farmer, and he agreed to spare two of them. I don't have words for the mixture of emotions that flood me when I am blessed enough to save some, but have to leave the rest to a harsh death.
We spent a golden afternoon with our beautiful new birds.
Suddenly, they both became still and serious. An ancient knowing entered their eyes and shot deep into my core. The old flock was gone. Softly, I sang a sacred Ojibwe death prayer taught to me many years ago. The ageless yet innocent babies looked into my eyes with recognition at the wordless truth and yearning of the melody. As the song ended, of its own accord, it bled into the universal prayer, "Om, Om, Om..."
Lord, open our eyes
that we may see you in our brothers and sisters.
Lord, open our ears
that we may hear the cries of the hungry.
Lord, open our hearts
that we may love each other as you love us.
Renew in us your spirit.
Lord, free us and make us one.
- Mother Teresa
Photo credit: Screen capture