I’ve been thinking a lot lately about thought. So much of the time what I am thinking about seems to rise no higher than trying to remember the denouement of this week’s episode of Midsomer Murders, or what was it I wanted to pick up at the library next time I am there, or why is the wind so strong today and preventing me from bicycling? We have these 3 lb. brains in our heads, packed with potential; carrying intellect, emotion, and that which is our spiritual self not by way of electric connections, but, because these thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are ours alone, by means of, in my book, God, who created each of us, blew breath in humankind, each and every one of humankind, and every other kind that inhabits this planet and lives off its earth and water and air. This is not to say that I don’t believe that we are also beings that function by means electrical, mechanical, chemical, biochemical. I do! These are a body’s vehicles for transmission, motion, physical change, sensation, but they are not what give self to a being.
We have a black pigeon who has adopted us. He is beautiful. All black, except for a bright white spot just above his tail, that is invisible when his wings are folded back. He showed up in late August. He has a banded leg, and the band has a number, which we copied down. We researched and called all sorts of pigeon fancier organizations — is he a homing, a racing, a show pigeon? Whose is he? We learned that his leg band is counterfeit (why? why would someone go to the trouble of creating and attaching a fake numbered band on a pigeon leg? What were they thinking?), and, so, there is no way to find his home of origin. These bred pigeons are accustomed to being sheltered in lofts. Go on line and research them.
So I worry about him as winter encroaches, for instance, this morning the thermometer registered 23 degrees farenheit when I checked at 6:30. He has found shelter somewhere. Perhaps in someone else’s eave. I am happy of that. And he comes by every day to have a meal. When he first was here in the warm weather he joined the mourning doves, sparrows, cardinals, robins, and blue jays eating seeds that fell to the ground beneath the bird feeders, and any other seeds that happened to be there. But then he began to visit us on the back porch, so, having discovered that we would not be able to discover his home of origin, we began feeding him his own stash of seeds (not sunflower seeds!! I read up on it. Not edible to him. But yes to peas and round seeds and small nuts) He eats vigorously, and drinks water from the bowl we put out — he steps into the bowl and drinks, then steps out. This morning the bowl had an ice layer. I knocked it out. He drank quickly. I went away for half an hour. I came back, the bowl of water was iced over again. I worry for him. We have named him. Yes, yes, we have. He is called Buddy. How will Buddy winter over? I spend time thinking about this. But I am not solving the dilemma of his well-being. I cannot. I can only contribute to it in the ways I have and acknowledge that he is still here, daily, so he has devised a way of life. (And to marvel at his watchfulness, because often, when I return home from somewhere, he swoops in right behind me onto the back porch.)
Why do I think? Why do we think? Why do I think what I think? Why do my thoughts tip into a certain direction and yours into another? I worry about what I think of someone, because of the evidence in human behaviors since forever; i.e., what I think of that person, the way I think about that person influences my behavior towards that person. Many thoughts, translated into actions, are the outcome of a first impression. A first impression is not merely an sensory observation, it incorporates a thought. Sometimes first impressions are accurate. Sometimes they are not. Whether or not, they do inform my thoughts about you or him or her, or Buddy, or about an occurrence, or about a policy, or a held belief, or, even, about a thought either popping into my head or expressed to me or somehow brought to my attention.. How many times do I revisit my first impression, rethink it before cementing it firmly? How many times should I do so?
I recently heard an interview during which it was suggested that what other people think of you is none of your business. Well, on some level that holds water, but if another person’s thought about me or something I hold dear is acted on and impacts me, it becomes my business and it impacts my thoughts about that person or, possibly, entire population that that person represents to me. Because, again, our thoughts inform our acts (including the words we speak, which is an act). And, as we do not live uninfluenced by where we are, there is not a thought held that does not reflect something, someone, or sometime else.
So I come to another thought. Can there be thought devoid of feeling? I am thinking no. I will give more thought to that. What do you think? (feel?)
I attached the above three photographs of nests, left over from this spring/summer season. I ask, what were the birds who built them thinking when they chose the placement? I know, nest placement and design is instinctual bird type to bird type. But, choosing which tree, under what conditions? Is that not choice? Is not choice a thought act?
|Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.|
|Part One: Life|
A deed knocks first at thought
And then it knocks at will
That is the manufacturing spot,
And will at home and well.
It then goes out an act,
Or is entombed so still
That only to the ear of God
Its doom is audible