There was a bird in the bathroom yesterday – a Sparrow who had gotten in to the ceiling space through a crack, was presumably attracted to the light and warmth of the interior of the house through the permanently open trap door, and was now stuck.
She fluttered around the tiny room in terror, bashing her wings and head against solid walls as she totally failed to leave the way she had arrived.
This morning, as I showered in a stall newly divested of bird, I looked up through that open trap door (and thank you, Standard Bank home insurance, for your inept contractors who also completely fail to leave the way they arrive, and grant us an open trap door in perpetuity) and think I catch an orb of light within the darkness of the ceiling space. It’s a trick of my eyes, no doubt. But how many times and how much fear is invested into giving the dark a face with glowing eyes and curved talons – a face which grins at us through the years of childhood and, subsequently, from the screens of the media creations throughout our lives?
When I said “I have, to be absolutely honest, nothing but contempt for the people whose thoughts reach no higher or deeper than material wealth” it was, of course, partly self-disgust speaking. Disgust with the self who had been bred in this materialist culture. It’s not as if I don’t know how survival can trump almost any other concerns. I have been there myself.
And it is the experience of having been reared in Civ which leads me to discriminate between the dark-related shadows and fantasy figures which humankind has always seen, around the fire of a Winter’s evening, and the shambling, moaning creations of our mass hysteria now become projections into the daylight world. Where we, armed with stake or bullet or biological weapon, may slay them out of hand.
And the Sparrow? We removed the dogs from the house, threw open all the doors and windows, and cheered as she winged it out of captivity.