Nin Meets the Bluebird

When Nin reached the top of the mountain he saw that it was just one of many, part of a long mountain range that stretched far off beyond the horizon. His was a mere foothill compared to the others, and in the morning sun their whites peaks shined bright like daggers of ice.

“A fellow seeker, I see,” came a voice. Nin looked around for the source: a bluebird was perched above him on an olive branch.

Nin replied that he was, indeed, a seeker.

The bluebird fixed its gaze towards the horizon. “All seekers have a different name for what it is they seek. Tell me, what name have you given your longing?”

“The little truth that beats within my heart,” said Nin. “Or rather, that which resonates with it clearly, quietly, easily.”

The bluebird nodded thoughtfully. “That is a good name for it, yes. And the pursuit of this truth is why you’ve climbed this mountain?”

“I have reached the peak but haven’t yet obtained what I seek.”

“You’ll need to go higher for that,” said the bluebird.

“I should climb the next mountain?” asked Nin. “And the one after that?”

“No,” said the bluebird. “You are stuck in the middle space, my friend. Bluebirds and rabbits are often hunted, often killed. We have but two choices to avoid the hawks and the other birds of prey—flit low and hop along the underbrush—”

“Such is the way of rabbits,” interjected Nin.

“—or spread your wings and fly—high, above the clouds, higher than even the eagle dares to soar.”

Nin reflected on this wisdom.

“The ground is good too, make no mistake, fellow seeker. That is where all the juiciest berries can be found. It is natural for rabbits and bluebirds to live in the dirt and the hole and the thorn-bush.”

“I see,” said Nin.

The bluebird sighed. He could see that Nin did not understand him. “Perhaps this will help you on your way,” said the bluebird, and he sang Nin a little song. It was sung in the language of birds. Here is a rough translation that cannot do the original justice:

I was foraging for berries
when the eagle snatched me up
as his claw closed around me, I thought:
‘his talons are very beautiful’

the world
is very beautiful
perhaps that is why we suffer?

Nin was deeply moved. The bluebird said, “This is the voice of the truth that beats within my heart. Perhaps it is the same truth that beats within your heart. Perhaps all hearts contain the same truth, waiting to be given form.”

The bluebird flexed its wings. “Or perhaps not. My truth is the sun, the clouds seen from above, and the feeling of cool wind on outstretched wings.” His eyes met Nin’s. “And how could a rabbit know such things?”

The bluebird took to the air. It flew high and fast, and was soon lost to the blue of a clear day.