the event of a thread — Day 4

today marked my first Saturday shift at the event of a thread. welcome to wild weekends at the Armory!

up until this point, i have been so appreciative of the way that people have interacted with this exhibit. i was stunned by the environment that Ann had created. somehow, through her care, meticulousness, and attention to detail, i felt that she had succeeded in creating a space where there were very little rules enforced and yet the audience was so respectful of it. even when the audience was high energy, no one was climbing all over the exhibit, poking at the pigeons, or particularly active in our personal areas. at least, i hadn’t experienced this, until today.

because it was the weekend, there were a lot of kids. and those little buggers love to hang all over the table. perhaps the subtlety of the circle of light around the readers is lost on people so young and the desire to embrace nature so high that it seems perfectly acceptable to touch animals in a cage, but trying to perform a focused and calm reading in this environment was very difficult. and it’s not just children either. there were many adults hovering and active in our spaces. i suppose it is confusing when some of the exhibit is interactive (the swings) that other parts (the people, the pigeons) aren’t necessarily so. but still, i can’t help but feel that a certain decorum was lost today. and i feel oddly protective over our feathered friends. perhaps it is part of the call of duty, but we were only instructed to read to them. no security detail was ever mentioned. my suspicion is that i feel a connection to these birds as i have always felt with small animals. the world is chaotic and scary. it is so easy to trample over the small things, to lose track of what we can’t see, and to stop to listen ever so carefully to the sounds beneath the surface. perhaps this is why Napoleon tried to exert so much influence; he was secretly worried that no one would pay attention to him because he was small. instead, he made his presence known far and wide. while there is discrepancy about his actual height (French vs. English measurements, etc, etc.), i am not going to rule out the theory.

and on a practical note, i don’t understand why so many people want to touch these birds when they wouldn’t dream of touching the ones on the streets. i mean, they are particularly beautiful pigeons, but it still feels disrespectful. and i worry about their peace of mind in this hectic environment. it’s like trying to do a stage play while babysitting. the kind of focus needed to attend to both tasks is exhausting.

but the pigeons are oddly calm today despite all this activity. they really seemed to be listening today. i looked up and they would even be making eye contact. one pigeon did a little dance with me. every time i tilted my head, she would tilt her head in the same direction. we went back and forth like this for quite some time, alternating words with movement.

another pigeon breathed with me after one particularly stressful period. his huge, white cage-mate was on a rampage. he kept attacking him and his comrade, even trampling on top of him and biting the back of his neck. when he was satisfied with his conquest he stopped and took a nap in the back of the cage. the recipient of his pigeon rage came over to the corner closest to where i was reading and plopped down, seemingly exhausted. i looked and him and we both sighed a breath of relief. we took a few breaths together and he rested peacefully as i finished the reading.

despite the craziness, there is some peace. even if, unexpectedly, it comes from and for the birds.

: Pigeon. photo by Al Foote III, fellow reader and photographer extraordinaire

: Pigeon. photo by Al Foote III, fellow reader and photographer extraordinaire

Our Greatest Fear

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson—

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Written by lobsterbird