and the children we once were
Always thought provoking, Chloe: I'm imagining each of us, the same as we were as children, sitting atop a slowly growing mound of dead things - cells (as you've talked about before) and moments and the other detritus of life - there we are on top, the same, if perhaps taller, with a slightly better view.
This comment contains Death and references to animal slaughter.
Beautiful writing, as always. I can relate to that "shift in intensity" when Death is near. I, too, had a rabbit, several in fact, that I awoke to find stiff as a board. Growing up, I lived on a hobby farm. Many of my friends had farms, too. Death seemed ever-present. Baby sparrows fell from rafters, chickens keeled over, sheep were sent to slaughter, horses needed to be put down, etc. One of my formative memories involves walking through a slaughterhouse with my mom. She had to drop off a check or something, and to get to the office, we had to walk past the slaughterhouse floor. At the time, I accepted it as a normal part of life that animals died and we ate them—that was how it went. Seeing it up close, though, really pulled back the veil. I appreciated that no one tried to hide or sugarcoat it from me, but that "shift in intensity" nonetheless stuck with me. As a teenager, I became a vegetarian. Today, I'm mostly vegan. *Mostly* because I shoot with film, which is negligible, and I'm not too fussed about minor infractions, like occasional honey or if there's real butter in something someone provided for me to eat. It's just not the end of the world.
It's beautiful how you describe the response to Death as balletic and how a river of reverence flows under everything. I feel that. I also perceive that Death is often orchestrated and conducted in ways we regularly overlook, either because it's too painful to look at or we're not attuned. Being in touch with Death feels like a necessity, though, if we are to really Live and value life, all life.
Thank you for continuing to provide space to talk about this topic, which you do with so much openness and grace.
I just adore your beloved's response. "You are not in charge of my art" is a much more honest way telling you exactly how he feels. You have to respect that.
"Birds, too, offer portals to this place. They are themselves invitations to momentarily let go of the struggle and, instead, slip into the clear waters of attunement."
So eloquently put...
I do love the spider on the duvet story ❤️
"We are all still the children we once were. Observant, curious, defiant, terrified." Just so. And as we age it becomes more and more manifest. The older I become, though, I find I am less observant, less curious, definitely less defiant. I wish I could hang on to those child-like qualities ! Instead, it seems I am keeping mostly the confusion and the fears. A very thoughtful post, Ms. Hope. Your flight is far from aimless.
So impressed and touched by the ‘The delicate, almost balletic, way’ with which you write. Thank you, I love you.
Beautiful piece Chloe.
There are so many memories and accompanied feelings that so often flash across my mind from childhood that it’s hard to forget that in so many ways I’m still that curious, scared, exited kid.
I can distinctly remember coming across the bodies of dead animals when I was younger, birds, lizards, rabbits and I always felt kinda weird by how fascinating they were too me - I felt as if I shouldn’t look for too long even though I couldn’t help but look away. Your story about the rabbit reminded me of those moments.
And by the way “your not in charge of my art” was hilarious!
Beautiful as always, and a delicate slowness elicited through listening to this (this time on the train on the way to work rather than the way home) whilst reading.
I love David's response 😊
There's a quote in the book I'm reading that mentioned both death and birds in a paragraph and I thought of you. I need to dig it up later and place it here.
Very glad you did. It was very pertinent to your post, but I also particularly like to witness how we change, or not, and who was the child of the adult I am now connecting with.
Wow Chloe, beautifully done
I have missed you and your writing. Stress and busy-ness and a feeling of being a little too simple to engage with the highly intellectual and insightful folks here on Substack (of which you are the most prime example) led to a long break from reading or writing anything on this platform. This was the perfect reintroduction for me. As usual, I love every word. My soul feels stirred, my brain feels gently prodded into wakefulness, my heart feels tingly and curious💚
New subscriber here. I was captivated by the title "Death and Birds" and just subscribed because the two things have occupied my random musings lately.
It seems that recent studies have indicated that many birds live far longer than previously thought (something I always suspected). While there is great diversity of species, each with its own characteristics, some, at least, don't age like mammals. The limitations on their lifespans are due to the fact that being a bird is dangerous business. To generalize, there's a fall-out rate of about 10% a year from flying accidents, disease, and predation - the leading causes of death among birds. If they avoid these things, some species can live 30, 50, 70, or even 100 years. Their capacity to reproduce doesn't seem to be affected, by age, either. Might this mean that, in some sense, they are immortal?
I know better, of course, but I kind of hoped so, and that is the child inside me, daydreaming and yearning for a secure place in the universe.
I could just squish tiny you to pieces. Thank you for bringing her out to play. I love you.
Defiant to the last breath, to live, not to conform. I had a similar experience but in my case it was a hamster and a few years later they built a street and the meadow was no more.
Lol at that autocorrect. “Uncontactable” 😅