I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Henry David Thoreau

The ‘with’ is not just a mode of being-in-the-world, but our transcendental condition.

From the Existence of Communism to the Community of Existence.
Jean-Luc Nancy

Many animals are opportunists. Others, arguably the more intelligent of the species, are more devious. The bird and squirrel boxes of the Russian cemetery's pine and birch groves are a fine place to observe some quality opportunism. I have found adult hooded crows wedged into slats no larger than a letterbox for the sake of a few breadcrumbs, and daring Siberian rooks momentarily embottled in a five-litre water cannister (designed for tits and sparrows) for a measly few seeds. To be sure, most bird tables, or squirrel boxes, will have some kind of in-built security to prevent such bolshie burglary, but you can rest assured it won't be good enough to stop these bestia non grata for long. They will always find a way to squeeze in. The real problem is getting out and, whilst in the box, leaving itself vulnerable to attack. This pigeon (beaneath) wasn't so daft as to keep his head inside the slat for long. He had one eye on me all the time.

As to who fills the feeders, I have only ever seen the more mature Varsovian do this, or, at the other end of the age spectrum, say, a child accompanied by its parents. Those in between 10-60 seem conspicuously absent.

Is it possible that, at these north and south poles of life, one tends to feel ‘life’ not just as a side-effect of one’s self-encapsulated ego, but as part of a wider belonging?

In other words, within these vital polar regions, privy, perforce, to the aurora vitae of life, does one enter into the truth of being individual, as indivisible from all things? Does the dawning (or in most cases the 'dusking') recognition that we share our city with these birds and animals render ourselves, at last, compassionate? Does the simple act of scattering a few breadcrumbs, a few nuts, allow us to partake in this winter as if it were really a winter? Might we begin to comprehend the nature of primal living, and how we have become sedated by choice and comfort, by capital and petition?

Does the 'with' of it all exact and re-enact our presence, all of a sudden, out-with the narrow human context which had hitherto consumed it? And if so, should not also the question be asked - do we really have to wait until we're about to die to realise that we have not fully lived?

The Seeker of Truth. (Be curious, be agile, but get your head stuck in too deep and you might never get it out).

Something tells me this great picture wasn't taken in Warsaw!

1 comment:

Berenika said...

The pigeon picture comment is perfect! :)