March/April 2002 Spirituality
A Bird Had Been There
by Sharon Kinder
What do I mean a bird had been there? I mean a fragile, delicate, feather
covered, flying being had been in that place, leaving only the tiny
markings of its feet in the sand to give away its secret. She was beautiful
with even skin, slender body and long, raven black hair. But as she
got up to leave at the end of her story, there in the sand, where she
had been, were not human foot prints but the prints of a bird. By the
time we discovered the prints and looked around she was gone.
She had taken her seat at the fire as our guest, moving her skirt in
order to squat in the circle. She pushed her hair into a band in the
back to keep it away from the flames. Everyone there was enchanted by
the beautiful stranger. We had many questions to ask her, but before
we had the chance, our Chief asked if she would tell us a story. With
this request she quickly agreed. It would be her gift to us, she said,
for our hospitality and the delicious meal we had shared with her.
Her coal black eyes sparkled in the night as the reflection of the
flames danced across her face. Her voice was soft and pure, clear and
sweet like honey from the bees when they have feasted on spring flowers.
The group was captivated before she even began.
"Long ago, to a people far north of here, was born a girl. She
seemed an ordinary child although she was more quiet and pensive than
the other children. She loved the Earth and Sun and spent all of her
time by the river, or in a tree, or catching butterflies. It was difficult
for her mother to locate her much of the time and this was cause for
"As the girl grew older, she learned to communicate with the wind
and when the wind was quiet, she learned to speak with the air. At sunset,
she could often be seen in the distance dancing, her arms outstretched,
her feet gracefully floating from side to side."
"Her people were confused by her demeanor. Some were sure she
was wonderfully gifted, while others felt she lacked direction, usable
skills and needed guidance. When it came time for her vision quest she
was rigorously prepared. Then she was taken with great ceremony and
care to a sacred place on the top of a nearby mesa. There she stayed
for two nights, pulled in and out of the spirit world and struggled
to clearly see her path. Her aunt and uncle waited for her at the base
of the peak. Each day and night they prayed for her safe passage and
"On the evening of the second day, her aunt noticed movement on
the mesa above and rushed to get her husband. For the next while they
both stood transfixed, watching the girl dance back and forth in the
wind as the sunset painted the sky orange, then pink and finally purple.
As the last light of day threatened to end the trance, a large black
bird opened its wings, lifted off the mesa and soared into the air.
The aunt and uncle watched in disbelief as the great bird soared higher
and higher, then disappeared from sight into the twilight."
"Her uncle scrambled to the top of the mesa, calling for his niece
as he went. When he reached the top, it was dark. He called anxiously
again for his niece, but there was no answer. He searched in vain until
he could search no more. It was too dark to go down so he prepared to
spend the night. Sometime during the deep, cold night, the uncle was
awaken by a soft swoosh and an unusual feeling of warmth. He saw nothing
but in his heart a voice spoke, quiet and clear, "Please, do not
worry for my sake. I am happy. I have found my path: the guardian of
my people. Watch for me. I will be with you each day. When you least
expect it, I will be among you. I love you."
As her story ended, one of the young boys, soon to seek his own path,
asked her to explain the story. She closed her eyes, then slowly opened
them. "Young man, you are soon to seek your truth. Listen closely
when it is revealed and trust that it is right for you. This story is
one of trust." She then thanked us and retired from the fire. And
there they were in the sand. A bird had been there.
A Bird Had Been There is an excerpt from StrangeLuck, A Diary
Of Spiritual Transformation, ©2001 by Sharon Kinder, available at
bookstores and online at www.virgapress.com.
Sharon's goal is to write and publish books that strengthen our bonds
with each other and the Universe. Sharon may be contacted via email