Saturday, December 20, 2008

Am I a Man Dreaming I Was a Bird...

or am I really a bird dreaming I am a man? I paraphrase the metaphysical lesson of Taoist patriarch Chuang Tsu (Chou). Here's several translations:

On the evening of December 18th, 2008, I dreamt I was a bird for the first time in my life. It was among the more vivid and lucid dream-experiences I've had. And it was awesome!

The dream started near the crest of a long-sloped hill. An enchanting palette of Autumn carpeted the view to the horizon in all directions. I burst out of a tree, into flight, accompanied by a smattering of White-winged Doves.

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)
Image online here

Fluttering nearly straight up, we attained a cruising altitude of a few hundred feet quickly. With powerful swiftness, we made our way downslope. Others soon joined the flock.

Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)
Image online here

A noisesome little character took the lead. It stayed there long enough for me to identify it as a Budgerigar. It was a yellow variant. I couldn't see its cere  so I never found out the gender. Of some note: I don't remember being able to see colors flouresce on the budgie, from UV spectra, as birds would. A few moments later, he hung a hard left and I followed. The "piteousness" of doves disappeared. I glanced down; and perhaps in moment of humaness, get queasy with vertigo.

We continued to wing much higher; at least to several hundred feet. With much concentration and willpower I overcame the unbirdly spell of vertigo.  I began my descent. Not halfway down I spot a new flock heading my way. Huzzah! It is a "company" of macaws, and a few other indeterminable passerines. After a few moments flying together, we began a counterclockwise circuit toward a roost in the forest below.

During these moments of relative calm, I took stock of my new compatriots in detail. The macaws were preternaturally, colored; a feathered rainbow. Most have a base of bright scarlet, a few blue or purple. There was a single green one, but none of any other colors.

Crimson-collared Grosbeak (Rhodothraupis celaeno)
Image online here

More and more macaws join the vortex as the treetops rise up to meet us.  Two passerines are identifiable: a male Crimson-collared Grosbeak and a male Lawrence's Goldfinch.

Lawrence's Goldfinch (Carduelis lawrencei)
Image online here

The roost below straddled a part of the forest recently drowned. Several acres are defoliated, though the bark is intact. Moments before I alighted among the upper branches, I heard a human wordlessly gasp in delight.  The woman then excitedly told someone else she had just seen a very rare bird. Looking around I saw the two passerines, mentioned above, nearby. 

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri)
Image online here 

Turning again, I saw two Cockatoos perched on the lowest limbs some fifty or so feet away to my left. The pair was breathtaking beautiful. I glided down to within six or so feet of the 'toos and the senior couple.  In rapt fascination they slowly reached out to make contact with the birds. I was surprised when the 'toos obliged, allowing them to gently stroke the feathers of their crest, head and neck. The Cockatoos are an intense indigo from bill to retrices, with sheening highlights of purple along their backs and scapulars. Tail feathers are long and teal. Their crests display a soft-marbling interplay between indigo, lavender, purple and white.  The closest resembling real world species is the Major Mitchell's Cockatoo. 

Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens)
Image online here

I run through the possible identities of this species. Erroneously, "Magnificent Macaw" came to mind first.  I then settled on "Emperor Macaw".  Ooops! The "magnificent" perhaps came from a superficial similarity with the Magnificent Hummingbird. "Emperor" I can only imagine was my attempt at equating the birds' aesthetics with regal presence. 

I then noticed myself reaching out toward the birds. Ironically, instead of feathers, I see my very human left hand move slowly into view toward one of the 'toos' heads. Before I could make contact, the dream faded to black. What a wild ride!

No comments:


count visits
Apple iPod Touch 8GB