I wrote a poem during my postgrad study day on Sunday in which I talked of re-emerging, coming from that stage of fertile womanhood into the wise old crone and how I now had to just stand and wait for my wings to dry. I meant like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis but when I shared what I had written with my fellow student she squealed “Wow a cormorant!” I got her to explain more.
Apparently cormorant’s have no wax on their wings so after they have bee in the sea they have to stand with their wings held out to dry and only when fully dry is it safe for them to dive in again.
I just found that so uplifting, releasing and encouraging. It is so where I am at the moment. I’ve dived and fished, helped and supported, touched the ocean’s depths of all life could give and now I know its very clear that I am to rest. But I have been a bit scared of this rest because I’ve been afraid that I’ll get old and stuck in it, that I’ll slowly do less and less, that I won’t dive again. For me this cormorant image says that I will dive again, fish, do what I do when I’m in my diving state, but for mow I just rest and let my wings dry full in the sun – and most of all not feel guilty for it. It’s how God made me, to do and dive but then I have to rest. If I dive back in too soon I’ll drown because my wings won’t be dry enough. So now I wait in this vulnerable place, wings held out, still, not able to go, watching the ocean rising and falling.
Matthew 7:21b says “…only those who obey My Father will get in (to heaven).” So often in the Sunday sermon this word “obeying” has been used as a going/doing word, and yet if Father God has told me to rest then I have to obey that. I can’t go off applying for jobs, volunteering, doing really good stuff because that would not be obeying.
Did God make a mistake with the cormorant’s wings? Did evolution let it slip through the “survival of the fittest”? Who knows? But that’s the way it is and it’s learned how to survive. It obeys the rules of God, the rules of Nature, of how it’s made. Why should I think I’m any different? To obey God for now I need to stand with my wings held out, vulnerable, and allow myself to dry. And then I can go from flappy little bird to prehistoric, wise old crone.
This is the poem that came from the observations about the cormorant.
She stands, awkward, wings stretched out
Head down, perched on a rock.
All around the ocean crashes
seagulls scream, continuous movement.
In all this general busyness she stands
vulnerable in the vast active sea.
A freak of nature? God’s forgotten?
Or made to dive and then to rest?
For now the course is to obey
to stand, to rest, able to do nothing until –
the sun’s warmth seeps in to the depths
of wet and tired wings
to dry, to heal, to regain strength.
So even if there’s winter gales
when there’s so much to do
still she must stand, allow the winds
to do their job, to dry her quills.
No diving in too soon no matter what she sees
but wait, but rest, till strong and dry.
And then …
This was the original that encouraged her response –
Original poem – line from Simon Armitage’s “Book of Matches”
Don’t let me be! Don’t let me sleep!
Yes help me rest and realign
To change my shape and change to be.
Don’t let me fix into the shape I do not want to be.
Wake me, help me search to find the shape I can become.
A re-emerging caterpillar as woman become crone
with all the wisdoms I have learned,
to know that even though my womb has ceased it’s purpose
there are still children for me to nurture.
So let me rest, get use to who I am
To see the beauty of this new creation
I am called to be.
I’ll flex my slightly strange new wings
and wait till they are dry.
For now I’ll rest and sleep and then
I’ll come and be again.