Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Sometimes watching the Bushites in action and the con-job of their neo-cons is more than I can handle, so I go back to Mark Bittner's book, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill to renew my spirits. Here are a couple more excerpts:
"... So in a very clear way, this issue of trust was being mirrored back to me in my experience with the parrots. I saw that to win trust, you have to be trustworthy - not simply most of the time, but constantly. The first time you cut even the smallest corner, doubt enters, which is corrosive to trust. This was a big revelation to me. To some it might seem too simple to be a revelation, but as with every virtue, the profundity is in the difficulty of practice. The issue of trust arises wherever there is temptation. Parrots are obviously tempting to some people. They've been taken out of their free and natural lives, locked in cages, and sold to those who have desired their beauty and personality. I wanted them [the parrots] to know I wouldn't do that...."
After Bittner earned the trust of the parrots, they began to take sunflower seeds from his hands, but one bird was biting his fingers. He didn't want to scare them away but he finally lost his temper:
"Marlon was biting me constantly, and it nearly always hurt. Although I was careful to restrain it, more and more often he was arousing real anger in me. One day, I finally lost my temper. I bent over and yelled right in his face: 'Goddamn it, Marlon, stop it! Stop biting me! I'm sick of it.' I immediately regretted what I had done. I expected the flock to tak off in a panic, but nothing happened. Nothing at all. The parrots know their biting hurts, and they didn't really expect me just to stand there and take it. Marlon looked self-conscious about being the center of attention. He acted as though I were exaggerating. His demeanor seemed to say, 'Big deal. I bit you. So what.' But he was clearly embarrassed. He wouldn't look at me."
I love this book. Buy a copy and help Bittner buy more sunflower seeds for the wild parrots.