In feathered robes the choir collects;
until one Singer interjects…
“I am a common guest
at houses around the globe,
yet I am seldom noticed
in my drab and earthy robe.
Appearances are deceiving,
and size is no measure of worth.
Accept no less than your true value
for nobility can be found
in those of basest birth.
Awaken and give voice to joy
that wells from heart and throat!
Assertion, humility, co-operation and hard work
will help you hit the highest notes.”
The next voice arises
like an amiable shout.
This Teacher keeps Truth
from simply flickering out…
“Do you accept Truth with a smile?
Or do you deny, hide and pout?
It can sometimes seem brutal,
but that is not what Truth is really about…
Truth is a Joy,
lying hidden in plain sight!
Truth is a Healer,
that can set all broken things aright.
Truth is a Warden
freeing you from bonds you didn’t even see.
Put on your black cap of Wisdom, and think hard
upon the truths Mother shares with thee!
Expressing Truth, like a cheery song,
is one small lesson that you may learn from me.
Modest scholar and Teacher,
robed in black and white…
Great ideas begin as small inspirations,
and Truth shared should be a welcome light."
A third voice lifts in liquid song.
Hooded in black, cloaked in gray,
Wisdom hidden ‘neath it’s scarlet vest,
hear now what this Teacher has to say…
“Do you feel challenged by Change?
Without it, your garden would not grow!
I’ll help you plant new seeds of thought,
and tell you when to strive for the next
Compassion drove me onto the thorns,
that his torturous crown I might relieve.
I may teach you to manifest Creator’s will
in all you that you say, do, or believe.
Knight Errant for the lovely Springtime,
I herald Renewal,
Joyous Change and
manifesting the will Sublime."
A brash fourth completes this Quartet,
bearing lessons we best not forget!
“Like the Magician, I teach you
how to bring your tools to bear…
to balance between this world,
and the blue road of spirit,
with tenacity and care…
How to use in proportion
your talents, learning, and intuition…
that you may reach your full potential
and become a virtuoso musician!
Although I sing of universal powers
and spiritual connection between
paternal Sky and maternal Earth…
I am a Robber Baron and few see my true worth..
My song is seldom held in high esteem…
my expression is oft perceived as an agitated scream!"
From first light to last
these Singers are there…
playing their games.
Who can tell me their names?
For those new to the game, each poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; a star, stone, animal, plant etc that holds lessons of Wisdom. This poem features four Singers who might be found raising the sun with their songs one morning. The Singer highlighted today has their verse marked out in bold. Can you guess who is singing? (Congrats to Shay for naming this Teacher!)
"The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.” Anais Nin
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” Maya Angelou
“Whosoever wishes to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.
Knowledge is not intelligence.
In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected.
Change alone is unchanging.
The same road goes both up and down.
The beginning of a circle is also its end.
Not I, but the world says it: all is one.
And yet everything comes in season.” Heraklietos of Ephesos
The Black-Capped Chickadee belongs to the Genus Poecile which includes other chickadees and tits. This particular chickadee can be found throughout Canada and most of the U.S., especially the northern states. During the winter, Black-capped Chickadees form flocks which may even contain other species, but during the breeding season they separate, stake out and begin defending a territory. For our purposes, I will be speaking about Chickadees in general and the Black-Capped Chickadee specifically.
They are monogamous birds and are known to form long-term bonds. Considered cavity-nesters, these birds build their homes in woodpecker holes, nest boxes, and a wide-variety of natural cavities from cracks in cliffs to house gutters. They will dig out rotten wood to create a cavity in which to build a nest, and while both males and females will engage in preparing a site, only the female builds the nest. Chickadee people also prefer monogamous relationships, long-term associations in which they feel a part of the whole, closely connected yet unrestricted, with clear, open, and cheerful communications. They operate at their best when their home space is secure.
Considered permanent residents within their area, it takes 12-14 days to incubate Chickadee’s 6-8 eggs. They often appear to let us know that an issue which comes under their influence will be appearing or coming to a head soon, usually within a two week period. For example, they may appear to let us know that our skills at communicating honestly and cheerfully will be challenged.
New endeavors undertaken with this Teacher can “hatch” within a week. Two and half years is a typical Chickadee lifespan, but the oldest known Chickadee is recorded as twelve and half years! This indicates that major endeavors undertaken with this Teacher should run their full cycle in about two years. They do not allow winter’s harshness to drive them from their homes, and this is a reminder to stay faithful to that which shelters and nurtures us in a good way. From living in greater harmony with the natural world to placing faith and trust in only those worthy of these gifts, the Chickadee is an excellent helpmate in all matters of faith, and they are as often symbols of faithfulness as they are of cheerful truth.
“No one would talk much in society, if he knew how often he misunderstands others.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“A world community can exist only with world communication, which means something more than extensive shortwave facilities scattered about the globe. It means common understanding, a common tradition, common ideas and common ideals.” Robert M. Hutchins
“Being vulnerable doesn’t have to be threatening. Just have the courage to be sincere, open and honest. This opens the door to deeper communication all around. It creates self-empowerment and the kind of connections with others we all want in life. Speaking from the heart frees us from the secrets that burden us. These secrets are what make us sick or fearful. Speaking truth helps you get clarity on your real heart directives.” Sara Paddison, The Hidden Power of the Heart
One of the fascinating thing about this tiny Creature Teacher is the complexity of their language. Not only do they have distinct predator and contact calls, they code information into their calls on what kind of predator, how many, position, and level of threat! Predators in flight evoke a different warning than a hidden predator, and more agile efficient predators like kestrels will cause them to add more “dees” at the end of their “chickadeedeedee” call so the flock knows to send in more to defend! This audacious bird will organize a defense, mob a predator in numbers and actually drive them out of their territory! Who would have thought that the sweet and tiny Chickadee would be driving off owls and hawks?!
Thus, this Teacher is an excellent one to turn to for issues of Communication, especially Truth. The Chickadee is the Master at Truth cheerfully and positively expressed. Ever heard the phrase “brutal truth”? Chickadee says that Truth is never brutal, only our delivery or perception of it fits this description. She asks us to not just express, accept, or recognize Truth, but to do so in the best way possible so that Truth may bring Healing, Enlightenment, Growth, Freedom or any of the other constructive aspects which Truth may bring to our lives.
When we treat Truth like an invading enemy, it’s impact on us can feel quite harsh. Only when we open the door and invite it in like a member of the family can Truth unfold with gentleness and love. This is one of the Chickadees’ greatest lessons for us. This is easy to understand as a concept, intellectually, but living it is literally a daily lesson. From self to society, Truth is found in all things. It is what remains when personal perception is removed. How we perceive, receive, and express it can have profound impact on our lives, those around us and the World at large. Which is why the wise flock of Chickadees can drive away a fierce and impressive predator like the Hawk or Owl. Size does not matter to Truth.
“Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.” Demosthenes
“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinem
“Truth comes as conqueror only to those who have lost the art of receiving it as friend.” Rabindranath Tagore
A Chickadee diet consists of: various insects, spiders, the eggs of either insect or spider, berries, seeds (especially sunflower seeds), fruits, caterpillars, and even fat scavenged from carrion. They are regulars at any bird-feeder, and their cheery disposition even throughout the harshest winters has been a great inspiration to humanity for generations.
Chickadees gather food in a variety of ways. They can glean insects even while hanging upside down on a tree limb, catch insects in mid-flight, make frequent stops at local bird-feeders, and probe through grasses or foliage to gather seeds, berries and fruits. They hide food in a variety of stashes to help them get through the lean winter.
It can become crucial for them to remember which sites they have already emptied, as well as which cache holds how much and what kind of food. They can remember and retrieve food from these caches for up to 28 days. Along with their complex language, Chickadees have a hippocampus that is about three times larger than birds who do not store food. This portion of the fore-brain is critical for memory formation, memory storage and spacial learning.
This is a reminder that we too need a variety of metaphorical foods to maintain a proper diet, and we should be just as diligent and resourceful as this Teacher in gather that which feeds us. Setting aside a reserve to draw from in lean times is also useful Chickadee advice whether speaking of material needs, or spiritual ones. If we need help with either the forming of good memories, the storage and adept retrieval of information from our memories, or a better understanding of the placement of resources around us, the spaces between things or the space needed in our lives for a certain goal, then Chickadee is an excellent guide to ask for assistance!
“The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” Helen Keller
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J. R. R. Tolkien
“Cheerfulness is full of significance: it suggests good health, a clear conscience, and a soul at peace with all human nature.” Charles Kingsley
“Cheerfulness removes the rust from the mind, lubricates our inward machinery, and enables us to do our work with fewer creaks and ;groans. If people were universally cheerful, probably there wouldn’t be half the quarreling or a tenth part of the wickedness ;there is. Cheerfulness, too, promotes health and immortality. Cheerful people live longest here on earth, afterward in our hearts.” Anonymous
In certain Native American tales, Eagle gave a special power to this little Singer. The Chickadee is a bit of a fortune teller. When you hear them singing joyfully in a nearby tree, they may be telling you that you are about to get some company! More often than not though, they are warning us that our perception of the truth is about to be challenged.
Chickadee says that bravery and confidence are not dependent upon our size or rank within society hierarchy. A single chickadee may hold different positions within different flocks, and are comfortable with themselves no matter where they are within that structure. This Teacher asks us to trust our selves with equal faith. Her symbolic black cap reminds us to be wise and leave our thinking caps on as we’ll need them! Their gray bodies remind us that modesty and moderation in all things will help us to stay balanced. Their white cheeks are a reminder to make all that we say a blessing, or remain silent.
She reminds us that we, and those around us, most need an optimistic outlook when things in our lives are at their most difficult. Even if you aren’t feeling brave in the face of your own adversity, chin up! Put on a brave face, arm your self with good will, and you will be amazed at how quickly your false courage becomes truth. Above all, the Chickadee invites us to welcome Truth with clear eyes, open arms, and a smile. Balanced Chickadee people are always welcome company. These are most often the people who inspire us with their sunny disposition, their clarity and habit of easy truthfulness. Easy to talk to, they give good advice and are excellent listeners. How does this Teacher appear in your life?
“The north wind is cold
As cold can be,
But I’m not afraid,”
Says the chickadee.
So the chickadee stays
And sees the snow,
And likes to hear
The north wind blow."
from The North Wind by Rebecca Foresman
“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” Abraham Lincoln
“The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. . . . The ordinary objects of human endeavor -property, outward success, luxury – have always seemed to me contemptible.” Albert Einstein
“That load becomes light which is cheerfully borne.” Ovid
Potential balancing energies: Other birds like Robin, Crow, Raven Cardinal, Hawk, Falcon, Owl, Eagle or Sparrow , Animals like Squirrel, Chipmunk, Snake, Mouse, Rat, Cat, Weasel, Coyote, or Fox, Insects like Spiders, Flies, Bees, Crickets, Grasshoppers, Caterpillars/Butterflies (esp Monarch), Dragonflies or Ants, Trees like pine , willow, oak , rowan , apple , almond , cherry, cottonwood , cacao or sequoia, Grasses like wheat or turkeyfeet, Plants like Sunflower , Roses , Blackberry/Raspberry , Greater and Lesser Plantain
Key Concepts: Truth, Communication, Cheerfulness in the face of adversity, Harmony in marriage, Faith, Higher Mind, Mystery, Higher Truth
Associated with: Maat, Kukuri-Hime, Rhiannon, Aleitheia, Astraea, Isis, Anubis, Apollo, Aten, Mabon, Mithras, Ningizzida, Osiris, Ra, Thoth, Sin, Tyr, Varuna