I have a beautiful friend who is very gifted. Her ability to see and communicate with Spirit is profoundly amazing and humbling. One of the things I learned from her is about how birds can carry messages. Spiritual beings, including deceased family members have an ability to noho, or perch, upon an animal, or insect for that matter, such as a butterfly, and communicate through a variety of ways through the temporary host. Even our ancestors, could willingly choose to be a host, a haka, and have an ancestor noho on them and deliver messages to the whole family through the medium. Birds have often been profound messengers in my Life.
Recently, the introduced species of Rose-Ringed Parakeets have been my signs. I have had many encounters. At the recent opening of the legislature which also was a day of rallies and the Ku'i Kalo event, I was taking photographs most of the morning. I am constantly moving, led by Spirit, to go here, go there, shoot this, shoot that, notice this, notice that. It is very draining. I am still trying to get my health back on track and run out of energy quickly and sometimes end up in excruciating pain.
I took a break from the festivities after about three hours of shooting to go feed my parking meter several blocks away. My arm was sore from a new heavy lens I was using. As I was walking along the sidewalk to my car, worn out, and thinking about just calling it a day, I heard a loud squawk above my head. I ignored it as I was too tired to even look up for a bird that sounded like it was right above my head. I took a few more steps and heard an even louder squawk. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked up. There was a parakeet in the tree next to me. The closest I have ever been to one. I immediately said "Hello!" as I noticed some people traversing next to me slow down to see whom I was talking to in the tree. When I lifted my lens up, more people slowed down as they passed, straining to see what I was photographing, as I could see them peripherally in the reflection of my camera viewfinder glass which was held up to my eye.
I wholly expected to get one blurry shot off before the bird would bolt out of the tree and up into the sky. Especially with people slowing down and looking at the bird which wasn't more than ten-feet away.
To my surprise, I was able to take quite a few pictures as the bird turned from side to side, as if posing. I was still in disbelief, and talking under my breath, saying, "Thank you Sweetheart...thank you..." thinking to myself that the people around me probably thought I was crazy talking to the bird. After what seem like a short Eternity, I dropped my lens down and stood there looking at the bird. The bird just looked back. I was humbled and just savoring this Beautiful creature and the chance to be so close. I couldn't believe the usually skittish bird hadn't flown away yet.
In humble gratitude, as we looked into each other eyes, I said, "Thank you..." still not caring if anyone passing by saw me having a conversation with a bird in a tree. I knew many politically powerful people and government leaders were walking past me between the Capitol and the Kalanimoku building, as I had passed and greeted many, but I didn't care at that point. The bird was more important.
No sooner had the words of gratitude left my lips, the bird looked at me one last time, then quickly bolted up and out of the tree and flew fast and high up in the sky past Kawaiaha'o Church and out of sight. It was the last surreal confirmation. Nothing to startle the bird. Just a sincere "thank you" and the bird took off. As I continued on my journey, I really felt recharged with energy and in a slight euphoria from the Beautiful encounter.
I fed my meter and decided to stay as I headed back to the Capitol. I was glad I stayed a few hours longer because I had more beautiful encounters with old friends and captured some images that not only fulfill and Heal my Soul but allow others to have keepsake memories of themselves.
I always feel like I am the happiest man in the World. I wake up every single day happy and can't help but smile to everyone. I am humbly grateful. However, I have recently lost some Beautiful friends and miss them terribly. There has been a succession of transitions lately. That doesn't include the loss of my Mother, Sister and Father in the span of several years, nor my own constant health battles.
I realized that I still yearn for the Spirit World and my loved ones there. I have such a Beautiful family in this World and so many Beautiful Friends, yet sometimes there is a deep sense of loneliness that permeates my Life. I am often filled with so much Love, that there is a yearning to explode into a cascade of millions of Stars, beacons of Light, to rain down on this Earth and People, to Heal it All. One Time. Finished.
Yet I realize that it is the individual and collective Journey that we all share, that gives us the lessons, the growth, the deep understanding of our Origins, and our Destination, which are truly one in the same.
I kept meaning to post this bird photo and the story, but was too busy and the words didn't flow. Yet, yesterday, when I was leaving the Kamehameha Schools back gate, I drove down the road, and as I turned the corner, I heard the loudest squawk I ever heard in nine years of driving that route, and as I looked up, I saw a solitary parakeet perched on a telephone wire, looking down at me, as it let out yet another loud squawk. I drove past chuckling to myself wondering if this was another hō'ailona for me, reminding me to write out the story before I forget. I decided it was coincidence until I drove down to the next corner and turned that corner. I heard another loud squawk. Incredulously, I looked up and out the window as I drove past and there was a parakeet on the telephone line of that pole, looking down at me, while letting out another loud squawk as I passed.
I didn't know if it was the same bird who flew from one pole to the other one, or a second bird. Either way, I knew it was a hō'ailona and reminder for me. Don't dismiss what happened at the Capitol so quickly. Don't be jaded. Appreciate the gift and Blessing. Reflect on it. The Message of Hope.
I intended to write this story out last night but was too tired again. So tonight, a Beautiful friend posted a photo of a tree full of these parakeets that ended up on my Facebook feed. I knew that was that last message. So here I am writing this out.
I realize that as much as I Love People and Humanity, I am truly a loner. I find great comfort and solace in Solitude, for it truly isn't Solitude. I commune with an entire Spiritual World and Universe which surrounds me each moment. It is the deep yearning to return to this Spiritual place that threatens my existence in this World. I have tasted it in July of 2012 and returning to my beat up body was probably the hardest thing a Soul has to do once freed.
But I know I still have much kuleana in this Life and World to finish. So I must take care of my health, especially for my wife and children, and especially for the children of the World.
Now my teeth have issues because of going through a period of chaos over the past few years where I focused on everyone else instead of taking care of me. If it isn't one thing in Life, it is another. I met with my Dentist and it was my avoidance and aversion to dental work, and focusing on everyone else, that led me into this predicament. He shared with me the options to save two teeth that are cracked but possibly beyond saving. I shared with him, to his fascination, the Hawaiian practice of ho'omānewanewa. The act of mourning and severe grief that led our ancestors to knock out their teeth, tattoo their tongues, eyelids, or cut their hair in bizarre patterns. Acts of scarification and wanton abandonment. To express deep grief and memorialize the death of a loved one.
I told him that I have lost so many loved ones, that I don't mind losing a few teeth. My Mother. My Father. My Sister. My Best Friends. My Kupuna. Lots of 'ohana. Co-workers. Beloved People sharing the Journey with me. Dental surgery complicated by a mandatory blood thinner for my Heart artery stent, that makes my teeth bleed so much during a dental cleaning that the hygienist can't see what she is cleaning because my mouth bleeds so much from the thinner. Now I face possible tooth extraction with even more bleeding issues. But I brought this upon myself. That is a lesson too.
So we shall see. I shall continue to take each precious Moment of Life one at a time. I continue to express my Love to others constantly at every encounter so nothing will go unsaid should either of us part ways into the Heavens. And I will patiently await the next piercing attention-getting squawk, the guidance, from my little green feathered Oracle. Thank you truly my parakeet friend. For lifting my Spirits. Encouraging me to carry on. You may never understand what your Squawk meant to me in the deepest depths of my Being. Then again, you probably already knew. Yes. You knew...