Darkness, be my laundry detergent

The mirror cracks
loud enough for wrists
to bleed; “only one of us
must remain ugly,”
mumbled he.

Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches seem like angry birds. I have seen them enact 1950s gangster movie scenes with flycatchers and minivets. I can’t speak their language but it seemed as though the nuthatches had started most of the fights.

They also appear to be frowning all the time.

Velvet Fronted Nuthatch

While in the company of Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches though, I have learnt about containing my own anger.

These beautiful paper cup-sized birds, robed in violet-blue, move quicker than hiccups. I used to get frustrated because of how difficult it was to photograph them. Over time it occurred to me that I just needed to make sure they weren’t in an angry mood. So I figured the sort of trees that were likely to host more grubs. And I would wait until a flock of nuthatches go grubbing on a single one.

In large numbers and with food in abundance, they seemed calmer. Slower in movement too. Suddenly, they weren’t so difficult to photograph. And I wasn’t angry in their midst anymore.

Velvet Fronted Nutthach

It then occurred to me that I had ignored the reasons behind these temper tantrums of theirs. Even if Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches get angrier than the average bird, it wouldn’t be without purpose.

They could have been fighting for territorial rights. Trying to appear belligerent to ward off predators. Or just being intense about finding delectable grubs inside the barks of trees.

Anger after all can be a terrible thing to waste. Too precious to be tucked away without dignity; too intense to be spilled forth in haste. But it needn’t be a monster with curse words for racing shoes and clenched fists for concupiscence.

It can be a channel for creativity or a cause to find new ways to connect with the world.

(Photographs – Kodaikanal / Thekkady)

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34 comments

  1. Beautifully written and, yes as has already been commented upon, a reminder of the positiveness of expression how one really feels. As Sarah McLaughlin puts it: “…and if I feel a rage I won’t deny it…”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Anger after all can be a terrible thing to waste. Too precious to be tucked away without dignity; too intense to be spilled forth in haste. But it needn’t be a monster with curse words for racing shoes and clenched fists for concupiscence.

    It can be a channel for creativity or a cause to find new ways to connect with the world.”

    Quoting from you is the best gift to give your words and birds for you say it better than most of us here 🙂

    Birding and wisdom. Nowhere else to be found.

    Thank you. I so needed to read this today.
    🙂 God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anger has a distinct purpose in its upset, but we all use it for the wrong reasons most of the time. Experience teaches us to delay anger until only absolutely necessary. There are plenty of other ways to get a heart pumping — I prefer martial arts to anger.

    I feel that birds are keenly aware of any frustration we may have residing within us and act accordingly. When I am calm and relaxed, my feathered friends have no problem flocking around me — like my Cardinal family is doing right now!!

    Another great piece. Thanks for bringing it to the foreground (I like to honk that you are reposting these gems just for me because I missed them earlier). Cheers, Christy!

    Liked by 1 person

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