Spring is flying into Barrydale.
This week a couple of wagtails (small brown birds with tails that bob up and down whenever they stand still) moved into our garden, presumably intending to set up a nest and start a new life together.
These two tiny birds are pure evil.
They attack my car whenever they have the chance, swooping down to my side-view mirrors in a flurry of wings and feathers and then pecking away at it compulsively. This goes on for hours and hours. Oh, the madness.
You can imagine how thrilled I am with this development.
On the holiness of this Sunday morning I could be spotted running out of my cottage repeatedly like a mad woman, gesticulating wildly and shouting obscenities that would make even a banshee blush, but to no avail.
Bird poop is decoratively spread all over my mirrors and tiny scratches now demarcate the borders of my car windows.
Eventually (in an attempt to save my last shred of dignity) I made some nifty side view mirror covers, concocted from an old shirt and clothes pegs, but it didn’t help much.
Now they simply attack the windows of my car. Or they rip off the cloth. They are intent on doing this. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that I can do about it.
Apparently this is fairly normal behaviour for wagtails in my parts of the woods. They’re aggressive birds, and territorial. They believe their reflections to be those of intruders on their territory and will peck away at their own reflection for hours, to the point of utter exhaustion, or sometimes even death.
They get caught up in the illusion of a threat that they experience to be so real that they will literally sacrifice their lives for it.
I can’t help but wonder:
In Wagtail-World, when the bird dies, does it die a hero? Do all the other wagtails pay their respects, thinking that the bird has died a good death, an honourable death?
Does it ever realise the insanity of its actions, that there was never any threat to it?
Don’t we all do this though?
So many people live purely reactively.
So many of us buy into illusions about ourselves and about life and become so tied into them that we will suffer greatly for many years, sometimes for an entire lifetime, and when we die believe that we fought the good fight.
We die believing that we were heroes, when in fact we spend our lives pecking away at illusions, so caught up in them that life completely passed us by.
Freedom requires you to open your eyes to the world. It requires you to question your beliefs. Don’t buy into the illusions of your own suffering.
Perhaps the biggest threat to your existence is merely a reflection of yourself.