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Wed Sep 16, 2020, 12:35 AM

The Smallest Bird

"Be a good neighbor. If my garden is ready before yours, we should share mine now, and yours later. Too many people don't understand the power of sharing. You have to remember that all of the earth is the Creator's garden, and he shares it with us. That's why I say that sharing is divine intervention.

"And we sometimes miss the song of the smallest bird. We do not listen closely enough. But that song of the smallest bird is the prettiest. It lifts the Creator's spirit to hear her song. Now that is divine intervention that people overlook every day."

-- Chief Paul Waterman, Onondaga Nation


I was thinking about the above quote -- from my 4th interview with him -- after talking to my daughter this weekend. She had been on her daily walk in a Boston park when she saw a man in distress. She told me that other people were making wide circles to avoid him, before learning that he had lost his cell phone. She tried to help him find it, as he explained it is his lifeline. He is homeless, and has a record of non-violent offenses that makes getting employment difficult. So my daughter gave him money for a new phone, and he called her an angel.

Her mother had called her as my daughter was helping the man. Her mother said the guy will probably spend the money on drugs, and that my daughter shouldn't have tried to help him. I reminded her of back when she was ten, and we were out on the lawn talking. She told me that she went to church with her mother, because she didn't want to hurt her mother's feelings -- but that she didn't think her mother or the others at the church understood Jesus's message. I reminded her that the Irish know that Jesus comes to us as the poor, and that Gandhi said he believed in no God but the God of the poor and suffering. And that Chief Waterman, who she considered her grandfather while growing up, said that sharing id divine intervention.

I read something on the internet today, where a person expressed the belief that Trump supporters were mentally ill. I will suggest that rather than viewing them as individuals with a psychological illness, there is more benefit found in considering it as a group behavior best understood in a sociological context of a cult. For while many Trump supporters have what was known as an axis 2 personality disorder in my day, many others are relatively "normal" people.

Cults have a long history in this country, and an even longer one in human history. There are many that form around a charismatic leader, often having a religious nature. Many disolve after the leader's death. Others become somewhat institutionalized, in a bureaucratic manner. Sociologists recognize several general types, including destructive cults (the Manson family), political cults, doomsday cults, and racist/terrorist cults. Thus, when we consider the Trump, we see the blending of the four, as well as the dangerous synergy of this toxic combination.

By their nature, cults must control the thinking of their members, in order to control the group's behaviors. To accomplish this, the cult members must willingly give up an increasing part of their individual identity, and as a result, decrease their sense of individual responsibility. Thus, for example, a person who sincerely thinks they are Christian will totally ignore the teachings attributed to Jesus, and walk wide circles around a human being in need, or be okay with locking children in steel cages .....and, at the same time, dismiss the Black Lives Matter protests and talk about individual responsibility.

Thus, we are not looking at individual mental illness, so much as we are confronting the shared delusions of a group psychosis. That is a distinction that is essential to understand, in order that our society might begin to heal. In order to begin to heal a sick society, we have to start as individuals. That includes sharing, and taking the time to listen to the song of that smallest bird.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Arrow 25 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Smallest Bird (Original post)
H2O Man Wednesday OP
CaliforniaPeggy Wednesday #1
H2O Man Wednesday #10
Docreed2003 Wednesday #2
H2O Man Wednesday #11
Docreed2003 Wednesday #24
secondwind Wednesday #3
H2O Man Wednesday #12
burrowowl Wednesday #4
H2O Man Wednesday #15
Demovictory9 Wednesday #5
H2O Man Wednesday #16
sprinkleeninow Wednesday #6
H2O Man Wednesday #17
MFM008 Wednesday #7
H2O Man Wednesday #18
bigtree Wednesday #8
H2O Man Wednesday #19
bigtree Wednesday #25
malaise Wednesday #9
H2O Man Wednesday #20
spanone Wednesday #13
H2O Man Wednesday #21
spanone Wednesday #22
MineralMan Wednesday #14
H2O Man Wednesday #23

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 12:42 AM

1. This is a truly absorbing post, my dear H20 Man.

There is so much wisdom here........and it starts with the song of that smallest bird.

I have heard it singing to us, in the darkest night, when the storm and the wind blow hard against us.

We must pause in our quest for warmth and safety, and seek what wisdom that smallest bird can offer us.

Thank you for your beautiful post! And I believe I have the start of a poem here. Inspiration can surprise me when it shows up in the most unlikely places...

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 09:12 AM

10. Thank you!

Paul was an amazing person. I was fortunate to spend so many years as his top assistant. We had some adventures! But my favorite times with him were spent sitting on the groun, next to a small creek, and talking with him. In the series of interviews I did with him for our newspaper, my goal was to share his wisdom with the readers.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 12:45 AM

2. K&R

Thank you for this lovely, thoughtful post...so much to meditate on and work towards, at least speaking for myself

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Response to Docreed2003 (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 09:17 AM

11. Thanks!

It's something that I need to work on daily. It seems especially needed in these trying times.

When I was doing the interview, the US was bombing Afghanistan. I remember Paul saying that it would be better if the US was dropping food and warm clothing for the poor, suffering people there.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 12:10 PM

24. The Chief was absolutely correct

I served as lead surgeon of a forward surgical facility in support of USMC in Helmand Province during one of the most kinetic time periods of the Afghanistan war. I was privileged to interact with many local Afghans and took care of many of their injured, especially children. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of those kids I helped care for. I can still see their faces and I'm intimately aware of just how impoverished, for lack of a better term, their situation was at that time. I usually describe their living conditions as "biblical" because that's a term most Westerners can wrap their heads around. That was 2011 and most of those kids are now young adults. How much different that country would be if we had taken your friends advice. Also, if only Ahmad Massoud has not been assassinated in the days prior to 9/11

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 01:12 AM

3. K&R. This was a fascinating read. Thank you.

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Response to secondwind (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 09:23 AM

12. Thank you!

Paul was a fascinating human being. Some of his (however many "great-" grandfathers had met with Benjamin Franklin and others of the Founding Fathers several times leading up to the Revolutionary War, and Paul used to tell me about these meetings. Franklin's Albany Plan of Union shows the direct influence of the Iroquois Confederacy on the Founding Fathers, even more than the later Articles of Confederation and Constitution.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 02:34 AM

4. Thank you for a good lesson!

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Response to burrowowl (Reply #4)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:41 AM

15. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 02:55 AM

5. K&r

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #5)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:41 AM

16. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 02:57 AM

6. Monday I stopped for a red light and a fellow was holding a homeless sign. He started gravitating

towards my vehicle with no gesture from me. I knew I had to gift him some money. Rolled down passenger window and handed him a $20. Only had twenties. He was so grateful. I did exhort him to use it wisely, God blessed him, and made the sign of the cross in the air. I began to weep as I started moving. A Roman Catholic priest IIRC, said never question when you are moved to give alms to someone as you are led, and then later wondering if you should have, not knowing what their intention. Just do it and leave it at that! I'm not of the Roman Catholic tradition of faith, but what this priest said stayed with me to this day. ➕

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Response to sprinkleeninow (Reply #6)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:44 AM

17. Great!

This reminds me of a story from when my sons were young. Their mother gave $20 to a homeless man in Binghamton, NY. The boys asked her about "what if" he spent it on booze? She said that her giving him money was between her and her God, and what he did with it was between him and his God. Many years later, they both remember that.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 06:49 AM

7. At 61

I stop to smell the flowers.
Sit on the swing and the tiny birds come to drink.
Feel the cool breeze.
The smell of the ocean.
When i was young and limber and
Not overweight i did not.
There were men and makeup and booze
Clubs.....

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Response to MFM008 (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:47 AM

18. Beautiful!

Thank you for that!

Growing older is a curious experience. I take more time to concentrate on the "little" things -- in part because I move so darned much slower, in part because I find things more meaningful.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 06:57 AM

8. I know a song

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Response to bigtree (Reply #8)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:48 AM

19. Thank you, bigtree!

A person spoke about this song on a facebook group where I posted Paul's quote. I wasn't familiar with it, and really appreciate that you posted the link!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #19)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 12:33 PM

25. My father taught me the value of giving to folks asking for money on sidewalks, median strips...

...he did that by simply stopping and giving.

Now, I had considered myself an enlightened youth, and hurried past a misfortunate fellow one day while walking with Dad. I looked back, as he was basically my ward at that point, and he had fallen back to put a few dollars in the man's hand. I understood at once how I had not only misjudged the stranger, I was also a stranger at that moment from my father, and my own self, as well.

I'd assumed that my staid father had elevated himself above all of that. Thought I knew the Lt.Colonel who took no visible flack from the inner city, but he taught me that important lesson that day by his example. That's what leaders do, and he was certainly a leader in his lifetime.

In this neat song, the Tanyas sing of seasonal migration - in their case, individual human migration, following dictates of heart and soul, and the rest...

Well, I feel like an old hobo, I'm sad, lonesome and blue
I was fair as a summer's day, now the summer days are through
You pass through places and places pass through you
But you carry them with you on the soles of your travelers shoes

Well, it's times like these I feel so small
And wild like the rambling footsteps of a wandering child
And I'm lonesome as a lonesome whippoorwill
Singing these blues with a warble and a trill
But I'm not too blue to fly, no I'm not too blue to fly

'Cause the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs
The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs
The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs
And the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs


I was watching a hummingbird who had taken ownership of the nectar-producing flowers in our yard, especially the lobelia, or red cardinal flower, drinking voraciously in preparation for his incredibly long journey back to some tropical climate.

I've been watching and listening as some birds have already left the neighborhood, headed out I'd suppose, for warmer weather, and more abundant growth. The catbirds flew the coop, but one male always loops back once or twice to eat a few more purple beautyberries (slightly fermented, I think) and cry after each nibble. Waaahhh! Waaahhh!

I wonder though, what the hummingbird must feel in his solitary flight. Highly territorial of their flower gardens against other hummers and other intruders, I'd guess they're just fine with their own company. Still I can't help but think there must be some twinge of anxiety and reticence when considering leaving the thriving environment they had called home for a few months.

Or maybe just anticipation of the flowery fields ahead.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 07:00 AM

9. THIS

we are confronting the shared delusions of a group psychosis.

Very thoughtful OP

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Response to malaise (Reply #9)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:54 AM

20. Thanks, my Wonderful Sister!

Frequently -- almost every day lately -- I talk to someone or another who says that they cannot understand how a relative, neighbor, friend, or co-worker can support Trump in the face of the clear evidence that he is a shithead. Many of these people they encounter seem "otherwise normal" -- whatever that is! A number say, "You know psychology -- what is wrong with them?" Sometimes you have to see the trees in the context of the forest.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:12 AM

13. ⭐️⭐️⭐️K&R ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks H20 Man

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Response to spanone (Reply #13)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:55 AM

21. Thanks, spanone!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #21)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:56 AM

22. Thank You H2O Man.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:26 AM

14. Listen to the song of the hummingbird, slowed down



We hear far less than we know. Here's another one. Wait for the slowed down part:

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #14)

Wed Sep 16, 2020, 11:59 AM

23. Thank you for this!

It reminded me of the first time I encountered a humming bird. I was a small child, playing in a field behind our house, when I heard what I assumed was a giant bee. It was a humming bird, which was something unfamiliar to me. I ran to the house, and attempted to explain my encounter with this curious being to my brother. He explained humming birds to me, and I've remained fascinated with them ever since. I have a series of feeders around my house, garden, and pond.

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