Birds of a Feather (Day 10, Year 4)

Last year, a group of researchers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (the bird people!) released data from a study around the social habits of birds. They found that the more social the birds, the less competitive they were individually. However, social birds were highly competitive, together. If a traditionally social bird, like a House Finch, was alone at a feeder it would struggle to bump off the more solitary and aggressive Blue Jay. But when the House Finch had its pals, the Blue Jay had no choice but to watch and wait for a bird feeder opening. 

I think the lesson here is that you should never be caught at bird feeder without a flock of friends. 

Sometimes, I find myself alone and facing something challenging. It could be a parenting thing or an elderly mother thing or a cancer thing or a work thing or just a fucking difficult thing. I often try to power through it or pretend it isn’t happening. But, then, usually, I fail at powering through alone. I end up sending an SOS text to someone or calling them or finding my husband and sharing my hysteria. 

And then you know once I reach out, I figure out whatever the thing is. It isn’t always because someone says something really helpful or offers sage advice.  And it isn’t because they actually do anything for me. It is just because they are there and part of my flock. When I include them in my struggles, I simply feel whatever the opposite of alone is—maybe that’s loved. Yeah, that’s it, I simply feel loved. 

And love, well, it really does make everything better, even the worst sort of things. 

When friends flock together, there isn’t anything you cannot fly through, even if the skies are stormy.