Comets smell awful. Isn't that profound? I heard that on NPR yesterday.
The robotic space probe "Rosetta" was built and launched by the European Space Agency. Rosetta and "Philae," its lander module, are performing a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. And the comet smells awful, like ammonia and manure and dead things.
I picture a comet streaking through the sky and looking beautiful... And yet it's light does not come from within. It's light is just the friction of its dark mass. It is bleak, without light or warmth. And now we know it smells bad.
And yet here WE are. We have birds here.
There is an amazing bird called the Stork Billed Kingfisher. I have only seen a photo, and in case I do not have the right to show the photo, let me draw him in your head. His beak is striking. He has a bright red, long, almost "flashy" beak. I am sure it is not just for show; it is probably the perfect tool for this bird to use to eat and fashion his nest. He arrived here with it. He has a soft brown head, a sunny yellow breast, and a gorgeous jade green wing. That is beauty enough. But he also has a sky blue tail! All this splendor looks like he could sit in your hand. Isn't he amazing, that he even exists? That he arrived in a smooth oval egg?
Did you ever think that nothing had to be colorful, smell good, or sound harmonic? All is so right in the world, really. We are such funny human creatures that we mess it up so much. The world around is NOT ugly and harsh in so many ways. Why, there is music and art in every bird. Our dogs and cats have unique personalities and are actually a comfort to us. We have mountain peaks, vast oceans, palms and pines, desert sands and shifting icebergs. Never mind the gifts and amazing grace of our fellow humans. The gifts, and amazing grace, of our magical planetary companions. You know, all those warm beings filled with light that shines from within.
We could live on a bleak, comet-like smelly planet near the sun. But we do not.
How do we not awaken every morning with our eyes drinking in the beauty all around? How do we not gather like the Who's on Christmas morning in Whoville, clasping hands and raising voices and ringing bells in celebration. How are we not like Ebenezer Scrooge Christmas morning, marveling at all with glee. We arrived with tools! Most of us have all of them, still! We can see and smell and taste and touch. We have unique gifts on a most beautiful planet with amazing things all around.
If I see you suddenly
dancing on the sidewalk,
or singing on the subway
or smelling honeysuckle with your eyes closed
or holding hands with a n y o n e
or looking at a tree with your hand on your heart
or wiping a tear away at the site of a fresh sun rise, a beautiful omlette, children on swings, a couple laughing together, the bow of your kayak gliding past a heron, a fire truck racing by with clinging firemen to assist in an emergency, the sun gliding away to end the day, an infinite night sky of twinkling stars
If I see you wiping a tear away over a stork-billed kingfisher...
I will know why.
(If the photo of the beautiful bird is present, it is from Dipankar Bakshi Photography, their inspirational Facebook page, "We Love Birds." Obviously they inspired me. Treat yourself to the beauty they capture!
A special thanks to our cousin Maryann, who posts beautiful birds and other things all the time.) ❤️