There’s a bird I see, sometimes when I walk the dog, it looks like a heron. Long saffron flamingo legs, white cotton grey bodice, two crested feathers on the back of her head, a yellow long beak. I am not a bird watcher. I don’t know birds, but the Bennu has always been a part of my life. I have taken photos of her on my phone to prove to myself that she’s there, that I haven’t imagined her. I sometimes glance outside the window and look for her, but I rarely see her behind the glass, I have to physically go out. Then, there she is, going about her business, hopping from grass, to branch, to Sycamore tree searching for a worm or a small mouse.
Each departure my heart sinks, the separation feeling like hundreds of years, without guarantees of return, without promises, a frolic, a skip and off she flies – leaving me behind. Where are you going? Do they need you as much as I do? Don’t leave. Stay. As if I could tame a Bennu, or entice a deity with any of my mundane capacities, food, water, shelter. There is nothing I can provide that isn’t in abundance all over the world. I hope, I pray, I beg, for it to find the need to return to my insignificant little patch of jade. I am impatient, and the longer I wait, the more apathetic I turn, hating her power over me, drowning in my own head, and deciding to be blind to all the beauty around me. At my lowest, on an insignificant day, with the rising of the sun, she surprisingly reemerges. From the ashes, I carve soothings words that revitalize my soul. I write stories of the Bennu, for the Bennu, so she can stay. She speaks to me.
I am both the regal ruby gold phoenix and I am the goliath grey heron. I am, sometimes more one, than the other. I am, the exciting fiery deity, the rising sun, soaring, my loud cries undeniable. I am transforming air, time and space into floods of life. I am also the small, common two toned grey heron, perched outside your window, smiling at your confusion, reminding you of the beauty of the drab, the magic of the ordinary, and the importance of being both.
In order to fly forward you must forget about the two feather crest on the back of your head.