a minor bird

beautiful pink sky and moon this morning!

I went to the Apple store in Albany yesterday to have my iPhone checked because I seem to be missing calls. It took me 15 minutes, of driving around the mall, to find the right entrance to this gigantic complex. Jack and Luke waited in the car. I walked into the mall and very loud music was blasting throughout. I felt myself tighten and thought, “I hate these big, impersonal places”. Neither Jack or I have liked malls. We expect not to feel good there and are never disappointed in our expectation. But yesterday, the words to a poem, that a friend had just send me, suddenly came to mind and I stopped.

How does this attitude of judgement serve me? How does it serve others? The implication is that I am “right”, by thinking that malls are loud, and that everyone who likes them, and the music that they play, is wrong. Small petty thoughts never attract large expansive experiences. How did I forget this?!

I started saying, as I resumed my walk to the store, “Thank you for this wonderful place. I am very grateful for all of the people here.” I wasn’t noticing the music anymore and was in the store a few minutes later.  A very nice man greeted me, told me that they’d call me when someone was available to help, and  5 minutes later I was walking out feeling wonderful. The mall had not changed.

A MINOR BIRD  by Robert Frost

I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;

Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.

The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.

And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.

17 thoughts on “a minor bird”

  1. Gorgeous picture…wonderful message…great Robert Frost poem. Perfect together…and the crows that woke me up this morning will have a forever reprieve! Starting at this moment I will appreciate their ‘song’! Thanks, Mary!

  2. But, I really, really hate malls and find myself overwhelmed by the sheer number of goods and rampant consumerism evident there. The mindlessness of shopping, people trying to make themselves happy through their purchases, drives me crazy. While I understand I am making judgements toward malls and the people who shop and work there, I just don’t know if I could ever put a positive spin on malls. I don’t know if I could ever say “thank you for this wonderful place” and wonder if I even should say those words.

    I am not doubting your words of encouragement to view all things in a positive way. I think it is certainly the right way to live, to stay in the light. I guess I just have been picking and choosing what I want to judge, deeming that it is OK to judge those things that really go against what I believe in. While I have moved away from judging most things in my life, I do have a few holdouts. Your words today have encouraged me to rethink the whole idea of judging and is making me reconsider my desire to do so under certain situations. Thanks for pushing me in this area.

  3. Oh, Yes! Thank you for this reminder. You opened my eyes even more to my own judgments. The judgments I put on any person, place, or thing that I decide isn’t enlightened, calm, peaceful, positive…..whoa, Mary, thank you for taking the blinders off!

  4. love this post
    just because I am uncomfortable and overwhelmed (tautology!) I often hide in the “underwhelm” world
    easy to put down, hard to take in the blessings offered

  5. Beautiful picture today, Mary. Malls are not my favorite place either, but I do appreciate them for the purpose they serve. Sometimes it is just more efficient to go to a place where many choices are gathered together. I will remember your mantra next time I am in need of something at the mall.

  6. Every day, Mary, your blog opens my eyes to another way in which I am sometimes mindlessly going through life judging things without realizing it, although like Darcy, I, too, have a few holdouts. Thanks for another eye-opener today! And I love the picture. It’s where I want to be right now.

  7. “Consider it all joy” comes to mind from scripture. I love the idea of giving thanks for everything, though it may be in a surrounding (such as a mega-mall!) in which you may not feel comfortable. And yet, I don’t feel we are judging when we simply acknowledge to ourselves that a place or a group of people is not where we best thrive. Again, back to “bloom where you are planted” – We have the choice to decide where we best bloom. I sense for a lot of us here, we cherish quiet and nature. Big crowds tend to overwhelm me I know. But in all places, even the mega malls or noisy airports waiting in a sea of strangers, there is always the sanctuary inside of us all, where we can retreat, observe the chaos, but dwell in inner peace. Gorgeous sunrise Mary! Love to all.

  8. Great photo, a summer gift…I so enjoy learning new words-tautology-
    thank you Pam… the Robert Frost poem was very touchingly accurate …
    sing sing a song. .. thank you Mary for bringing such light and insight
    into my life…

  9. Susan A has a good point about choosing environments that feel best, but learning to find that quiet centered place within in an external places that is irritating, aggravating, overwhelming is good practice for the times when it can’t be avoided.
    Regarding Malls – Good people watching opportunity, but I like shopping on-line the best because I have endless choices and I get to stay home!

  10. I used to hate malls as well, because I have chronic panic disorder. Sometimes I had to stop moving. All people and stores felt as though they were crushing in on me. I now am taking the correct medication for the problem after a great many years of trying different medications and therapies.

    I was widowed 2 1/2 years ago at 61. Recently I met a wonderfully fun and kind man. We are having a second childhood together with children grown and established in their own worlds. One day we needed to go to the airport to pick up his son whose plane didn’t land until 10:45 pm. Since we both have failing night vision, I suggested we go to the city while it was still light. We had supper in the food court at a huge mall near the airport. Then we walked the entire length of the mall stopping to try on crazy sunglasses, entering a contest to win a three-wheeled motorcycle, figuring out our sleep numbers in the mattress store, and looking through 3D glasses at a television set in Circuit City. We just made it a huge playground. I was never uncomfortable the entire time. I was having too much fun to think about being frightened. Lesson learned!

    And, oh, I’m usually awakened by sea gulls and geese. I just bless them and turn over as does my cat.

    1. SUSAN DODGE DUCKWORTH! I think you should win the grand prize of the day for showing us all how to change gears! Whoop it up a notch, and enjoy the moment – I can’t believe you found all that many fun things to do before having to meet a late night flight! To have found a man that enjoys creating such joy and fun as you do! Hold onto that!

      You wrote that you are awakened by sea gulls and geese, – Jon Katz now has a new Wintston, Sir Rooster! I have a little plate I love that I found at a consignment shop, just a single plate, but no matter, I really don’t need a set of four to enjoy my single toast on a plate that says, with a songbird in the center, “Sing To The New Day”. Good night all, from Arizona

    2. After reading your creatively fun adventure to the Mall (or mal?), I think there’s hope for me. I’ve thought for decades that I was the only woman born WITHOUT the shopping gene. But it sounds like you just PLAYED! Thanks for the refreshing twist of focus.

  11. Beautiful morning sky, what a lovely start for the day. Great Robert Frost poem, he says so much with just a few words. At Christmas time, my husband and I used to go to the malls to see all the people shopping, walk around and check everything out, we had a lot of fun. I don’t go to malls much now, but I love to order things on line 🙂

  12. Thank you for sharing, Mary . I shall remember your blog and the beautiful poem the next time I feel as you did when you entered the mall. You are such a wonderful addition to my day.

  13. Mary-

    I will have to try your way of dealing with a loud place in the future.

    I had to laugh when I read the Robt. Frost poem, for I am guilty of just the same thing. Two years ago, during the summer, we had a mockingbird that just LOVED to sit at the top of our roof and scream at me, the dogs and especially the cats, with a very strident, loud and screechy voice.

    The constant screeching just about drove me round the bend, but worse, where Mimi (as in Screaming Mimi) chose to sing her arias or rant her rants was right above my roommate’s bedroom where she was attempting to sleep, as she works 12 hour shifts overnight.

    I willed, wished, hoped and prayed that Mimi would either pick another part of the yard to perch for her soliliquies or move on altogether for about 6 weeks. I stopped short of throwing rocks (fearing they would break a window or hit the walls,) but if I’d had a super soaker water gun, I might have given Mimi a shower.

    Eventually, her nest did not require protection, she got distracted or something else intervened, but the harangues ended.

    Mimi (or her decendant) is still around, but we have not had a repeat of the Screaming Mimi opera.


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