When nobody else is around

               For Robbin

When nobody else is around.  That, I found, is when a person shows off his or her stuff: whether they are wasting their lives and the passions of their lives or whether, instead, they cannot live one moment without investing all they have of strength, determination, even blood and the other fluids of the body, into a work, their ownmost, proper, work.

            But a bird reminded me one day as he squatted–it was as if he was chilly and needed to bunch up his feathers like a coat around his slender body–right on my windowsill as I was going about this or that–I hadn’t even noticed the little life observing me–he told me There is always somebody around.  You are never alone, he tweeted, then he flew off, past the yard and into the ether, leaving me, to all accounts–alone.  But perhaps the little bird was on to something: we are never truly alone.  We just might indeed–indeed, for I have experienced it myself–carry around with us the shadows and shades of others as goads and whistling reminders, as nightmarish whispers and echos of songs we once heard, as playful dreams and as inner dramas, even the shadows and shades of the dead–it makes no difference.  We carry them along with us not because we need them–as I said above, our powers just might be given their good chance to shine when we are all by our lonesome–but because they need us.  They need us to show our worth, what we are made of, our stuff that is not merely some private stuff.  So the next time you are at your affairs in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night, or at whatever time, remember that if you say you do this for no one but yourself you are fooling yourself–like a proud fool.  You are showing off, in reality.  And you might not like what it is you have to present to your shadowy audience–when you think of their black eyes staring at your creations they might become rather paltry and insignificant for such observers and judges.  And they–they might not like it either!

            But how do we know this?  How could we ever know for sure?  I gazed out the window, thinking of the bird awhile, of what he had said, then returned to my affairs in the cave of my room, my room made into a cave, with a fearless, ruthless–if stupid for all its fearlessness and ruthlessness–passion.


  1. Those little birds.🕊️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      The skies within us are full of them. I hope the skies without stay full of them, too.


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