Shofar

Having opportunity to listen to birds calling, I’ve heard

Big songs coming from quite small birds that are striking.

I was wondering, what miracle gave them that gift?

Daring to be so loud and broadcasting[1]!

But then why take such risks –

“You never know who’s listening”…

When its nearly the dead of winter, for example,

why should a bird sing loudly?

I heard this on my recent trip up visiting Anchorage, when birds were precious.

The fair-weather birds were gone, like sparrows,

and the trees were bare,

so the small flock of hardy black birds was noticeable, especially if you were looking.

It was entertaining to watch them jump and flit en masse- one tree after another, as they worked their way through a row of trees foraging for insects not yet hidden under the snows of winter.

Always on the move -searching and searching-and mostly squabbling[2]when they weren’t finding-or so I could imagine. They sure made a lot of noise.

I consciously savored their cheerful cacophony[3]while pausing to breathe in the pristine air.

After a while, one song rose above the others.

This song came from a slightly larger bird

Perched on the tip of a branch,

Though he looked as nondescript as the rest.

All at once he started singing

An aria with trills followed by

Carefully executed decrescendos-

that each seemed to last seconds.

I could sense how he controlled his breath.

Like an organist playing a Bach[4]invention, 

There was the exquisiteness

of the sacred.[5]

Here I was standing alone on the sidewalk witnessing his production.

Was he[6]seeking my attention or just randomly showing off? 

It seemed early for mating calls-with longest days of winter nights to come.

I wondered, as he sat there intricately vocalizing, right there by my head.

It inspired me to look up their song organ,

The Syrinx

it turns out its name is.

This is what I found (much abbreviated).

*****

The syrinx sits in the center of the bird’s breathing apparatus – a box with a reed that receives air from the air sacs separately; with this mechanism some birds can sing two songs at once. They have a larynx too, that sits near the base of the throat.

When you look down right into the line of sight of a goose’s long neck[7]– you see concentric rings and walls of white lucent cartilage that might go off in the distance.

This cartilage is not bone.

It has no crystal; it’s mostly water.

It is formed by our lineage, but our words are our own.

What you say, and how you say it, reflects you and what you represent.

In the linear world of time, our responses affect the future; in the quantum field past present and future are simultaneously affected – both yours and the to whom person you are speaking.

Maybe it isn’t fair that the person you ‘touched’ with your words, can’t forget what you looked like- especially those differences which we are hard-wired to see. Sometimes it’s best to wait for stillness-

Before you open your mouth.

*****

The syrinx lies right over the heart, which gives a slight bend in the tube,

Just so

That even in their song,

The heart is tailoring the message.

Just as, in what we say there’s “always” bias (some would say lie),

Our words save our face and cover our ass

We weave truths to serve us.

And this is our prerogative as humans with free will.

Though we wish our voice could be clear like a trumpet’s calling,

Such that looking on in, we’d see a serene and central opening.

Instead it’s always a bit off;  

The actual view is truncated and eccentric.

And with it’s curving,

Breath laden with moisture blows over those curves and condenses –cooling as it leaves the body[8]

Providing opportunity for spit to build up, congeal, and create blockage[9]

It feels so good

To vent and scream-

And yet, doing so

Creates gooey Karmic thickening!

That collects on curves inside and out,

Both for the recipient who ‘gets’ to hear the rant, and on us

Weighing both our ‘caramel’ down a bit – or its opposite,

If the words have been ‘uplifting’.

Did you know too, that shofar, often made from a ram’s horn,

It is alwayscurled with one or two turns[10]?(at least according to scripture)

It is our shofar, our voice, not only curved ram’s horn,

That calls G-d to the service and to sit in our homes.

Our voice calls to Him with our wishes and blessings[11]

To come into our lives and be clarified and tested.

Syllables resonating on our tissues,

Create realities inside and out.

There are those who hear the words that aren’t said,

Even if he’s sitting ‘in the back‘, and nondescript.

With its announcements,

Our song reflects our will,

Of what we do and say

No matter if subtly-

and not just when unguarded[12].

I used to be upset that my song was persevering. “Lighten up”, my friends would say -and I’d look at them and wonder, WTF is that? Especially when everyone else was “having fun”- why did I have to be so serious? Now I know, it’s the way I was “made[13]” and I am finally feeling a bit lighter with writing these days – see I took your advice!

May it be so that we can celebrate our voices with happy noise and leave the shrill out.

May we cultivate a bit more ease in our speech every day in every way!  Happy Easter!


[2]A study of bats revealed that 60% of communications were about 4 needs -food, sex, space, and sleeping order in nest (and closeness to alpha). These are necessary communications between those with gender and mobility.

[3]I don’t hear much background conversation anymore, covid-19 put a cabash on those activities with ‘happy noise’ around me; even the grocery store is quiet these days.

[4]Many of J.S. Bach’s compositions reflect his conscious praise to G-d. 

[5]I’d never heard anything like it quite honestly.

[6]I’m guessing it was male since that is what biology favors; looking for a mate would be unusual in December, it so it would seem?!

[7]Below the head- unfortunately decapitated-I used to serve a Christmas goose. This was my chosen way to celebrate festivities.

[8]Moisture and water are symbolic of emotions – changes in our feelings from polarized connections – moving us from our actions, as they were once planned out.

[9]Masks are helping us keep our mouths shut and so share less mucus and making our speech a bit more conscious in the process. This is a good thing. 

[10]  A curve each for man’s will and his ‘family’ too, as his words reflect both.

[11]Including the one’s that seem like curses.

[12]There’s prudence in doing business with people you respect. Maybe that’s why some business deals are signed (only) after there’s been drinking -when the truth of a person is more easily revealed and with less provocation. Is that not a good thing to do business with people you respect? That is, if you can choose? A less guarded self more clearly reflects values of one’s character; like in a place of “casual corruption” (I refer to this in the poem, “the Good”). 

[13]Even though it took an intercession to get me here via my Love Angel, as I’m now referring to him.

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