the birds and the (death of believing)

“The birds love these things,” my friend says to me at a rally. Charmingly enough we’ve both noticed this in our private efforts of involvement and now she shares her observation with me. “Yes, they do.”

The gathering of people together in our huddling groups, from the sky, are rare to these modern, city-birds. When do we collect for them? How often have they seen us come and yell and clap and boo. The city’s pulse has risen up from the underground and gathered on their lawn. The humans are up in trees; they usually rest, now they float. They wander, they wonder, it knows it is feeling what it does not normally sense from us. Our collection, our action.

I am cynical and add to my reply, “They are drones. That’s why it’s called twitter.”

And so, we can no longer trust the birds? We can no longer believe what is called, nature? We know the bees are dying, and prosthetic pollinators are being developed to take-over when they can no longer. And so the air is being militarized by what the human eye can not discern as “real” or “reality.”

This is not my means of saying that the birds above our protests are surveying us; you are doing that by having your iphone there with you. By feeding the corporate archives: I was there. This really did happen. (When your phone is dead, what happens to your memory?) But I feel an ontological disturbance in my ability to comprehend, to even ask the question, that the birds in the sky could be against me. They could be products, machinery, working for something. Not wondrous, not even the capacity of skepticism, but a non-being towards an agenda.

In an early morning back in the summer-time, a backyard-couch sit, my neighbor gardens. He cuts down a sunflower from the brood and passes it over. “Here’s one the birds haven’t eaten yet.” I hold it close to my face. A bee lands on the plume and begins its duty. I watch, as close as I can, this creature taking in what it can of the life of the sun-flower. I will never again be so close to the faculties of life. Today it leaves traces on the plant and on the human hands that hold it. I make, what I felt in the moment, a grand discovery: this is why it is called the birds and the bees! They both need the sunflowers’ seeds! But one eats them, killing the flower. And the other grants fertility.

“As an architectural genius, man excels the bee; for it builds out of wax which it collects from nature, while man builds out of the much more delicate material of the concepts, which he must fabricate out of his own self. In this respect he is quite admirable, but not for his desire for truth, for pure knowledge of things.”

— Frederick Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lying”