I watch Eastern Bluebirds
take their afternoon
drink
at the bird bath.
Gray mottled cat
knows what time
the smaller birds come here
in the afternoon.
She crouches near.
Other days,
I have watched her
leap towards the birds,
despite my attempts to scare her away.
Twice, I’ve seen her hurry off,
a tiny Goldfinch
clutched in her mouth.
Though I’ve altered the birdbath—
it’s now quite a contraption—
I know I cannot
keep her from doing what is natural to her,
despite the piercing of my heart
when she does.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACat has disappeared
for now
as I watch three Eastern Bluebirds
drink.

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I sense tension
as one drinks
and the others watch.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow the one in the middle
and the one on the right
raise their heads to swallow
as the third
seemingly keeps watch.

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Both remaining birds
seem especially vulnerable
now, as one swallows,
head raised to the sky,
and the other dips its beak
into the water to drink.
I see how vulnerable
they are.
They have to drink
or die;
they could die
while drinking.

Interestingly,
I have been reading
(A.H. Almaas,
The Unfolding Now.
Realizing Your True Nature
through the Practice of Presence)

about vulnerability;
that we humans
spend much of our time and effort
defending against
being vulnerable.
And yet,
I learn that ancient teachers
tell us
that our natural state
is to be undefended;
that ego,
which is constantly building walls
to defend us,
is actually arrogant
and delusional—
acting as if it’s possible to defend against
vulnerability.
What’s more,
I learn
that accepting our inner vulnerability
brings to us
the gentleness,
humility,
exquisiteness
of being genuine.
It’s a dilemma:
to be scared
and defensive,
or
real.

And so
this afternoon
I watch
with compelling interest
and awe,
as Eastern Bluebird—
vulnerable,
exquisite—
raises her throat to the sky.