The Spirit of Birds and Trees

Watching the magpies watch me today, in their way of leapfrogging from tree to tree to fencepost to shrub to shrub to post up the slope, always 70 metres apart, always keeping at least 70 metres distance, I realized in a flash that there is a magpie mind that is not just the magpie.

Instead, it’s the sum of all the watchful eyes of all the magpies. In the weaver ants of the grasslands, this sum of points of observation becomes the chemically-controlled mind of the hive, a living brain in which the neurons are individual ants, living out the community centred around their queen (but fully able to replace her if need be.)

In the birds, though, and this is the beauty of it, there is no queen. Among magpies, there isn’t even a flock. What there is, though, is a fluid grid of attention cast over the land that the magpies, singly and in series, observe, re-observe and react to, which becomes the spirit of magpie in the air. It’s the same for the other birds of the grasslands. Here’s a robin mind of this kind.



Here’s a couple of synapses in that mind. They have memory, which sustains the spirit between them.



Here’s a flicker, caught in the energy flows of the tree and making out of them a perch that is both flicker and tree together.


Here are a couple of starlings at the point of moving the point of observation along the line of trees — multiple perspectives, that’s the thing.



Bees do this trick, but they use multiple eyes, linked together (much like ants to a queen), to create this intelligence.

Birds, though, are able to expand and contract the scope of this space.


It can be the spirit of the air …


… the spirit of the hill …

P2140274… slyness, mirth and cunning …


… the spirit of the trees …


and so much more. We all live together on physical earth, but we all live together in this earth of spiritual or observational interactions and relativities as well — like the resonance effects thrown off by the earth’s core, that move continents through the deep seas. This spirit, this memory, both its physical form as bird (or human) and its carrier of ecosystem relationships and innovation stretch deep into time and space …


… and beyond them. We live in that world, too.

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