I know why the lone sparrow chirps

i too feel the need

I just spent about 15 minutes searching for a girl from my past, one I lost years ago, and I found nothing but fragments from more than a decade past. The last message I remember receiving from her was:

“I am on a beach with my husband and children and I can’t be happy because you’re not the one by my side.”

At the time I had no idea how to respond. I am not sure I responded at all. Since then, I too have had those very same thoughts about a woman or two, and I understand now. I want to tell her I understand now. I want to reach out to her and tell her, things I told her once on a balcony in Chengdu, things I didn’t quite understand then – neither did she – but I think I understand now. I want to tell her

she’s carved into my bones
inscribed onto my heart

There’s a little male sparrow who built a nest on the front awning of a house where I’ve been working these past two weeks. At first, I thought his incessant chirping was out of annoyance for all the racket we were making: cutting stone and hauling brick and ripping up old lawn to make way for new lawn. But even when we were quiet, when we sat on the steps and ate lunch to the breeze, he chirped and hopped, hopped and chirped. I asked around and learned that he was looking for his mate. His nest was built, his yearning was ripe, and his voice strong enough to carry up and down the block.

One day, I saw two female sparrows stop by and check him out. He got so excited. He puffed out his chest and flicked his tail feathers, he fluttered and hopped and went to his nest and back, chirping like a madbird. I watched the ladies eye him and his little nest up and down. Would they choose him, I thought briefly, but before I could sit with the feeling inside – that I knew these two weren’t for him – both ladies flew off. He gave chase, but only to the next tree, or the next roof, before he returned to his little perch above my head, on the awning where he built his nest. After a brief pause, and maybe a shake to get the sorrow of rejection out of his mind, he resumed chirping. He hasn’t stopped since. I have not seen any ladies come through. It’s been a week or more. I’m rooting for him …

I gotta say I know addiction to the divine feminine. I’m coming out of a four year long haze of obsession and I want now what I never had then; I want what the little sparrow wants, as badly as he does. I have chosen to embrace this longing of mine, instead of stowing it away. Why would I stow it away, you might ask. Well. According to all the sages, contentment is internal, detached, all loving, acceptance of each moment and celebration as those moments come and go. Partnership does not equal contentment, because no human can do for me what I can only do for myself.

And yet.

And yet I yearn and pushing that down makes me act only fruitier. I’m a connection-seeking type. A social connector who responds to texts, texts others, sets up dates, organizes things, reaches out … someone who wants to hang with homies at every opportunity. Does this mean I am anxious and in need of my peoples, maybe too much? Perhaps. Probably. Ok mos def.

But also, there can be no denying that connection, relations, partnership, communing, being and laughing together, taking a village to raise a child, dancing and sweating and praying as one, taking over a park as a community and moving together — these things are the juice of life. We are in relation at all times, with each other, with the living beings of nature, with the non-living inanimate, with the spirits big and small, old and new … we are in constant relation to the shimmering web and only this sustains us.

To think that I am strange,
because I need you by my side
on the beach
where we make love under the sun and
hold each other to the breeze off the salty tide,
is strange indeed.

Picture of Sascha Matuszak
Sascha Matuszak

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