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THE HUMAN POTENTIAL NEWSLETTER

BEST OF THE MONTH

 
 WHAT MAKES AN AVATAR? - essay by Stan I.S. Law
 OTTO'S PIGS- short story by Jeremy Garwood
  FREEDOM - essay #8 from BEYOND RELIGION vol.I, by S. Kapuscinski
 INDIVIDUATION AS A CHAOTIC PROCESS, by Krystyna Laycraf
 KAY - short story by Barbara Modzelewska

 WHAT MAKES AN AVATAR??

Stan I.S. Law
 

There was a time when but few men, the avatars, claimed to have the "Word of God", the indelible truth, that would guide us on our way back home. Guide us on our way to return to Eden, to Paradise. All we had to do was to listen to them. Alas, all too soon superstructures have been created, dozens for each religion, who claimed supremacy if not infallibility in the interpretation of a particular Avatar's teaching. Since, for thousands of years sacerdotal fraternity: priests, imams, rabbis, swamis, gurus told us what to do, how and when to do it. Whatever it was.

These days, the Internet has taken over. The TV evangelists catered to hundreds of thousands, the web caters to hundreds of millions. While in the temples of worship sermonizers preach to empty pews, the web is filled with countless self-appointed gurus. All but few of them insist on telling us how to think, how to behave, eat, sleep, even dream. They are bent on changing our way of life, our comfort zone, the way we work, rest, behave. They seem quite unaware that the symbol of the Age of Aquarius is a Water Bearer, a man watering his own garden. His own state of consciousness.

For the most part, we seem committed to let others do the thinking for us. They, the proselytizers, deny this, of course. They insist that they only guide us to give us freedom. To rid us of our limitations. Not so. This had been advocated 2000 years ago. "Heaven is within you," said a very wise man. We continue to rely on others, on the self appointed experts, to lead us towards that elusive freedom which always seems to remain just beyond the horizon.

"Be an expert!" I have been told on many occasions. "No, thank you," I replied, "an expert is a person who knows almost everything about almost nothing." Too limiting. We need experts to deal with things. But their expertise should be tempered by the words of Democritus, a Greek philosopher, born ca. 460 BC: "Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion." At the time, atoms were deemed the smallest, indivisible particles of matter. Today, even that turned out to be an opinion

Hence my book, "The Avatar Syndrome." I refuse to tell you what to think. I also refuse to give you glib answers. What I do is to raise questions. You must provide answers yourself. Or not. No one will judge you.

My novel, "The Avatar Syndrome, follows Anne from childhood, to womanhood; from a troubled, taciturn youth, to a world-renowned violinist; from misunderstood recluse, to messiah of a higher truth and beauty." (From a review by Bryn Symonds). No one ever told her what to do.

Those of us, who tend to exert our efforts towards more material aspects of life, associate the concept of an Avatar with very advanced spiritual beings, of the stature of Buddha, Jesus or the presently living Sai Baba. While Sanskrit meaning of Avatar is less imposing (ava - down and tarati - he goes, passes beyond) in Hindu religion the term tends to be assigned to a man who is the incarnation of God and comes down to earth, usually to show us the error of our ways.

According to "The Avatar Syndrome", this is a much too limiting a definition. In my novel I purport, if surreptitiously, that we are all Avatars. Men and women. We are all incarnations of God, even if, the vast majority of us, are completely unaware of this fact. It is the degree of this awareness, or lack of it that sets us apart. Jesus claimed that he and the Father (God) are one. Buddha stated that every man is Buddha, though not as yet awakened. What "The Avatar Syndrome" does is to examine some of the degrees by which our awareness brings us closer to the true reality.

I dedicated my book to the relatively unknown "Messengers of God". I refuse to identify us, in as many words, with divine incarnation. I leave it to you, the reader, to draw your own conclusions. What I do claim is that all who are creative, who contribute to the beauty of the Universe, are, to a greater or lesser degree, Messengers of God. We are, Avatars, or embodiments of the Divine, send down to earth, to create or manifest a better reality. "For no other reason were we born, for no other reason shall we die" assures us Sai Baba. It seems to me that beauty is a natural progression of order and harmony, which is inherent and a necessary prerequisite of evolution. Only when a conscious effort enters the new equation do we rise on the scale of self-realization. As for order and harmony, they are the necessary and inevitable components of art, or music, or scientific progress, which advance our perception of the world we live in.

While I'd chosen to describe the incredible talent of a beautiful young girl who swept the world with her magic bow, we would do well to note that the whirlwind world tour of the triumphant virtuoso takes up but a dozen pages in a 364-page novel. The rest, well, the rest you must read for yourself. You might find your own freedom. One reader wrote: "Through your book, you were able to awaken in me my true nature." I didn't ask what is her nature. Who knows, perhaps your nature awaits to be awakened, too.

***

 OTTO'S PIGS

Jeremy Garwood
 

Otto was a good man, a kind father, a faithful husband, and a tolerant thinker, however even his normally placid, kindly outlook was perturbed by the increasingly outrageous behaviour of his pigs. Otto's farm was located in a lush green alpine valley near a nondescript alpine village whose only previous claim to fame had been the rather questionable practice of training farm animals to yodel for the spring equinox.

Now though, there was the matter of Otto's pigs to contend with: His purebred animals had won numerous prizes in local agricultural competitions - his boars had by now sired half of the pigs in the surrounding valleys, and he even had large framed colour photos of some of his pigs which had been sold to prestigious piggeries in Holland and Denmark. Yet now, the pride of Otto's life's work was creating scandal. How could he have known that his best pigs were carriers of the condition now referred to as Porcine Sensorial Enhancement.

All he'd ever done was to try to produce the tastiest, most handsome pigs that his careful programme of selective breeding and nutrition might procure. How was he to know that they'd develop a behavioural character all of their own. He'd only ever been concerned with the quality of their flesh, he'd never considered the question of pig psychology before, and yet now, here he was, subject to the harsh glare of media publicity as the principal source of PSE.

"I didn't know," pleaded Otto, withering before the journalists' massed ranks of cameras and microphones. "I only wanted to be able to give people the best bacon and roasts possible. And the sausages are... were..reputed to be the finest in the district."

"But Herr Fleischkopf, what did you do to your pigs to make them so strange?" Otto looked defensive. "Yes, Herr Fleischkopf, were you aware of the possible consequences for public health of the unusual and irregular practices which you pursued?"

Otto was already well aware of the disastrous consequences that the discovery of PSE on his farm might have, but still he didn't like the implication that he'd been doing anything unorthodox with his pigs. He tried to tell them so, but the journalists didn't want to hear his pleas of innocence.

"Herr Fleischkopf, are you prepared to accept responsibility for the risk to public health which may be posed by the consumption of your PSE-conditioned pigs?"

Otto cracked, terrified by the prospect of being found guilty of menacing public well-being. "I'm just a poor honest farmer," he squeaked, hoping that they hadn't noticed his wife's sparkling modern kitchen and his brand new Mercedes limousine. "I didn't do anything wrong, I was just meeting the demand for quality pork. I was only doing my job," he pleaded.

At this point, Otto was rescued from the accusing stare of the television camera's lights by the arrival of Professor Doctor Wieland Wurstliebe, expert in animal neurophysiology and behaviour from the Goldenhirn University Zentrum. The journalists' attention switched in a flash from fumbling Otto to the confident smooth mannerisms of the expert.

"Professor Wurstliebe. Professor Wurstliebe." The journalists called out to him, each ready with the same two or three questions which the worried pork-eating public desperately needed to have answered. "Professor Wurstliebe, can you tell us any more about the risk to public health posed by this outbreak of PSE?" they chorused in unison.

The Professor looked at them all calmly, then replied in the correct balanced terms expected of an expert in such a situation, faced as he was with the task of dissipating the current waves of almost hysterical fear which the ordinary pork-loving consumer was currently displaying. He cleared his throat and began.

"Gentlemen. Gentlemen. As you know, I have come here today to verify worrying reports as to the mental status of this farm's pigs, and to assess, by extension, the possible risks posed to public health by the entry of such pigs into the food chain.

"Let me, however, first clarify what the facts regarding PSE are as far as our scientific investigations have thus far permitted us to ascertain: First, pigs which have the condition which we now refer to as 'porcine sensorial enhancement' or PSE, display pronounced personality disorders. They do not behave as normal pigs do. Rather they show increasingly unpig-like traits. For example, unlike ordinary pigs, they show a distinct aversion to being led to the slaughter. To this end, they develop all sorts of novel characteristics when it comes to avoiding the trip to the abbatoir, and the number of cases of what we now suspect are PSE-affected pigs which have escaped, often in quite ingenious ways from storage pens and transporter lorries throughout the country are becoming ever more common.

Post-mortem analysis of these abnormal beasts has allowed us to establish a common profile for the condition: PSE-affected pigs have abnormally large brains in which the grey matter and cerebellum show the greatest development. Apart from such changes to the central nervous system, the affected animals seem to be in other respects perfectly normal. Quite how the PSE pigs acquired their condition is still not clear although there are some vague indications of a similar condition in other mammals, notably long-haired golden hamsters and the long-living lemming, the latter showing distinctly non-mass suicidal tendencies relative to the normal lemming.

Now, there has been some speculation that PSE may have been transmitted by the consumption of infected foodstuffs, however as far as we know, PSE-affected pigs do not routinely eat golden hamsters or lemmings, nevetheless, since we do not as yet know quite what the infectious agent in this strange condition is, we cannot rule out the possibility that it is transmitted through the food chain."

An impatient journalist intervened rudely. "But what is the risk of infection to the ordinary pig-eating consumer, Professor?"

The Professor raised his hands to call for calm as the other journalists began to join in the cry for more sensational newsworthy information.

"Give us the facts, Professor, tell us the truth."

"Now, now, gentlemen, calm please," he called, then continued: "There is as yet no evidence that PSE can be transmitted to humans by consumption of PSE-infected pork. There is, however, some slight similarity between brains from pigs displaying the condition known as PSE and the brains of abnormal human individuals renowned for outstanding originality, intellectual achievement and all-round genius, otherwise known in some circles as the Enorme Cerveau Syndrome. Yet, claims at this stage that consumption of PSE-affected pigs might result in a transmission of their condition to humans remain pure speculation. Nevertheless, as a precaution, we are recommending the immediate removal of PSE pigs from the food chain until we have more results from our scientific research as to the risk factors involved."

And so, the press conference broke up, and on the television news that evening, and in the newspapers next day, there were banner headlines warning of the major new food scare associated with the unknown dangers of eating pork products. The demand for sausages plummeted, schnitzels remained unsold, people refused ham sandwiches - butchers and pig farmers despaired.

In the meantime, Professor Wurstliebe and his large team of sub-experts continued their investigations at Otto's farm. Their enquiries had taken two principal approaches. On the one hand, they had sought to ascertain from Otto a better idea of what precisely he had been doing to his pigs for the last twenty years, with particular emphasis on matters of diet. Although the revelation that Otto had been convinced of the beneficial effects of music upon porcine muscle tone development, and to this effect had for years been subjecting the piggeries to alternating mixtures of Wagner and Blasmusik instantly sparked another line of research for one of the Professor's behavioural technicians.

The second concern of the team was the effect that repeated exposure to PSE-affected pork may have had on the local consumers. Who, the Professor wanted to know, had been eating Otto's pigs on a regular basis.

"Well, Professor," said Otto, "obviously I and my family have always eaten our own pork. And the local butchers have been very steady customers over the years, whilst any excess has gone to slaughterhouses further afield, although as you know, inreasingly large numbers of my pigs have quite successfully escaped en route, and to this day, most of them have evaded recapture. I imagine they're still living in the surrounding forests."

"Yes, well Herr Fleischkopf," assured the Professor, "the authorities have already organised a special task-force to intensify efforts to recapture your pigs, but for now we would like to consider the possible consequences that consumption of those which did not get away may have had upon people."

Otto would ordinarily have been reluctant to allow such an invasion of his family's privacy, however under such circumstances he was resigned to the need to cooperate for the greater good. After all, something had to be done about this dreadful situation his prize pigs had got him into. Otto and the Professor went to look for his two sons, Fritz and Roland, who were quietly occupying themselves up in their bedrooms.

Fritz was a healthy, ruddy-cheeked, eight year old, and a picture of good health, yet the Professor was rather disconcerted to discover that he'd already read the entire works of Goethe and that he had some very pronounced opinions on the role of Sturm und Drang in contemporary rural society, whilst Roland, his blonde-haired younger brother, was less forthright, but equally well-versed in modern cosmology, admitting after some gentle encouragement to being quietly confident of a future contribution to the grand unification theory, in which the very big and very small forces of the universe could be treated with novel integrated averaging vectors.

"Herr Fleischkopf, do you consider your sons to be normal for their age?" the Professor asked Otto.

"Well, they do keep going on about computers and modern technology a lot, but they mostly lark around with the other village children, playing football and engaging in animated metaphysical discussions."

When news of the exceptionally advanced intellectual development of Otto's sons and their classmates became known, the world's press went wild. This was just the kind of proof that PSE could be transmitted to humans by eating pork which everyone had been waiting for. Hans Kupfker, the budding Heidelberg sausage entrepreneur, was amongst the first to react to the commercial potential of these news reports.

"This is incredible, Greta,"he told his adoring wife, "Do you realise what this news could do to sausage sales? Why just this morning, I heard a couple of vegetarians discussing the need to seriously consider the advantages of eating PSE pork as a means of increasingly their intellectual performance in an ever more competitive working environment:"

However, even entrepreneurs such as this were not prepared for the scale of the response. Within days, the demand for pork had skyrocketed as consumers considered the fantastic implications of catching PSE from eating bacon, ham, roasts, schnitzels and gammon steaks. Poor Otto didn't know quite how to reply to the ever more astounding offers for his PSE-affected pigs. The proposed sums were phenomenal. However, there remained an official ban on trading in PSE pigs and it was being strictly enforced.

As such attempts to steal Otto's extremely valuable pigs became ever more likely and despite, or perhaps because of the presence of the armed security police around Otto's farm, the whole situation soon got completely out-of-hand. There were fears that organised criminal gangs were becoming interested, lured by the huge potential rewards of trafficking in illegal PSE pork, although conspiracy theorists insisted that the greatest menace came either from the CIA or the capitalist aspirations of the newlook KGB.

Otto didn't know who was responsible for the explosion that destroyed his pig farm. All he knew for sure was that whoever had wanted to take his pigs had made a dreadful miscalculation, since whether they had wanted them dead or alive, it seemed unlikely that they had wanted them blown to smithereens and scattered as charred fragments over the lush greenery of his valley.

Several years later, no-one was any the wiser. The scientists had not decided what caused PSE, and their task had become harder with the death or escape of all the affected animals. As for Otto's sons, it seems that the lack of PSE pork may have played a factor in their becoming typically rowdy adolescents, their precocious childhoods forgotten in the rush of puberty. Otto meanwhile, discretely left farming and became a plumber.

From time to time, though, fantastic rumours about the strange happenings in the nearby forests would resurface, although whether these were due to frustrated pig-hunters or to the mysteriously low profile pigs was not at all clear.

***

 FREEDOM

Stanislaw Kapuscinski
 

There are few amongst us who do not recognize freedom as a God's given right. History is abundant with men who preached, beseeched, fought and gave their lives for this most sacred principle of individual freedom. In the Declaration of Independence the delegates to the Congress of the United States speak of all men being endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them Liberty.

Liberty ensues from independence, independence from the spirit of liberty.

The Preamble of the American Constitution speaks of securing "the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity". All the articles that follow are illumined by this preamble. The Bill of Rights declared in force December 15, 1791 defines and further protects these rights with particular accent on freedom of the citizenry.

On June 26, 1945, in the city of San Francisco, a text equally authentic in Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish reaffirms faith in the "fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women... " So reads the preamble of the Charter of the United Nations. The first text in the history of the human race addressing all people, men and women - the world over.

How few delegates understood the meaning of such noble precepts. But we mustn't give up. The charter had been affirmed hardly 50 years ago; a long journey indeed since 1215 when King John of England, at Runnymede, signed the Magna Carta. An early seed for the charters of freedoms to come.

Freedom from whom, from what? Who will take care of us when we're free? Who will tell us what to do, where to work, how to earn our living? Who will tell us what to believe in, what to teach our children, where to send them to school? Who will protect us from the unexpected, the unknown, the unpredictable? What of unemployment? What about our old age? What....???
How dare they give us freedom?

***

Responsibility, no one told us, is the obverse side of the coin of freedom.

781 years lapsed since the singing of the Magna Carta. Are we ready to take on the responsibility of being free? 220 years since the Declaration of Independence. Are we ready for the independence? Are we ready to stand up and walk on our own two feet without the assistance of a king, prince, church, welfare state looking after us? Are we willing to chart our own direction on the turbulent oceans of life and adventure? Or do we demand our illusory rights without paying the dues of birthright.

Freedom without responsibility is anarchy.

Freedom for the select few is oligarchy.

Freedom imposed on children is irresponsibility.

Freedom is a privilege to be earned, not given.

Freedom is an idea.

And ideas are power. Yet to impose one's ideas on others is equivalent to the practice of the blackest Black Magic. We infuse others with concepts that are not yet ready to flourish. We cast pearls before swine; yet swine remain blameless and we are the guilty. Great ideas are sacred and we must cherish that which is holy. Yet we must be so careful. To withhold knowledge from one seeking it is paramount to refusing food to a starving child. The greatest teachers always offered, never imposed their knowledge.

The greater our understanding of freedom, the more responsibility we take on for our brothers. We truly become our brothers' keepers. We begin to perceive that we all are little more than tenants in this world. That we did not create it, that we did little to enhance it, that we hardly deserve to be in it. That up to now we were no more than carefree tots in a magic kindergarten, and that it is time to stand up and look over the edge of our playpen. The world lies outside. A world we have never seen ­ till now.

It is time, finally, to leave our private Garden of Eden.

We have tasted of the tree of knowledge. We become as gods, knowing good and evil. We learned discrimination. The phase of carefree, irresponsible, wasteful life is over. And as we increase the seeds of our understanding, we begin to take on responsibility for the conditions around us. Our eyes slowly open. We realize that though we cannot be perfect, we can try to do the very best we can. In all walks of life. We make sure that each day, as we retire, we leave the world a slightly better place. Just slightly. Just a little better. Perhaps ­ a little happier. Perhaps, a little more responsible.

And as we look beyond childhood, we begin to savour the divine, wondrous, intoxicating attribute of freedom.

*****
Essay #8 from BEYOND RELIGION vol. I.

Individuation as a Chaotic Process

Krystyna Laycraft

 Presented on 15th International Conference of Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and Life Sciences, Denver, August 2005
 

Carl G. Jung introduced the term of Individuation as a process of man's potential, psychic development during the second half of life into a unique and complex personality. He realised that in order to advance our understanding of the psyche; we would have to view it within an interdisciplinary context.

The human psyche is a complex system, and its dynamics is virtually unpredictable. Three principle parts of the human psyche are consciousness, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. Consciousness is composed of perceptions, memories, thoughts, and feelings. Consciousness has a threshold, so that all elements that are too weak or incompatible remain in the unconscious. It is intensive, concentrated, transient, and directed upon the immediate present and the immediate field of attention. Consciousness analyses - breaks things down into their component parts.

Stability and order refers to consciousness, whereas instability or chaos refers to the unconscious.
The unconscious contains not only all the forgotten material of the individual's own past, but also all the inherited behaviour. The unconscious contains all the fantasy combinations, which in the course of time and under suitable conditions will enter the light of consciousness. It is highly extensive, synthesis components into new combinations that are synergetic (they exceed the sum of the parts). These combinations are not predictable, so they challenge the limitations of consciousness.

Consciousness and the unconscious form a complementary pair of opposites similar to order and chaos in the chaos theory.
The relations between consciousness and the unconscious are regulated by the movement of psychic energy. Using the language of the chaos theory collaboration between consciousness and the unconscious is through loop of negative and positive feedback. Each new content that comes up from the unconscious is altered in its basis nature by being partly integrated into the conscious mind. The unconscious through some symptoms like no tangible mood or depression, dull discontent, a feeling of resistance, boredom or emptiness gives signals for some changes in our psyche. They are positive feedback.

Consciousness is trying to oppose or disregard these signals through negative feedback.
If the unconscious is continuously suppressed it could be serious consequences like stagnation or one-sided character. But when consciousness allows some flow of energy from unconscious it activates some images and raises them from unconscious. Sometimes the creative activity of the psyche transforms the chaos of the collective unconscious contents into such images as appear in dreams, fantasies, visions, a every variety of creative art. Jung believed that cooperation between consciousness and the unconscious is essential to humankind's evolution.

Stage I ­ Preparation

Tension, conflict, confusion and suffering characterise our descent into the unconscious.
Entering into a state of chaos must always be the first step in any process of creation, which is known as individuation in the creation of one's Self. We create the new by bringing order of chaos. When our ego becomes enmeshed in unconscious dynamics, experiences instability. The instability is characteristic feature for complex system approaching the bifurcation point. Some fluctuations in system combine through positive feedback loops, becoming strong enough to shatter any pre-existing organisation. At this point the self-organising system reaches levels of complexity at which it spontaneous reorganise into new and complex structure that exhibits novel features.

Stage II ­ Incubation

The process of individuation similar to process of creativity usually goes underground for a while to unconscious. We can call this stage - incubation. It has often been thought the most creative part of the entire process. The unconscious manipulates those wholes to produce new constructions, new patterns. Free from rational directions, ideas can combine and pursue each other every which way. This uncontrolled sate of mind can be described by chaotic process which is attracted to some states - attractors. Jung suggested that within us we have images, which come from our instincts and become powerful forces of attractions. He called these images - archetypes - repetition of similar experiences and forms. There are as many archetypes as there typical situations in life.

During the second half of life, the ego is affected by the shadow and the anima/animus archetypes. The shadow represents everything that has been repressed or gone recognised. It contains anger and sexuality, but also joy, spontaneity and creative fires.
The anima is personification of all feminine psychological tendencies in man's psyche, where the animus is the male personification of the unconscious in woman. According to Jung, synchronistic events are associated with the archetypes. He suggests that they are often generated by heightened emotions. Emotions lower threshold of consciousness while strengthening the unconscious. Synchronicity pushes us toward individuation by speaking to us in ways we uniquely understand.

Stage III ­ Illumination

When a conflict situation arises, the corresponding archetypes will be formed in the unconscious. Since the archetype posses a specific energy, it will attract to itself the contents of consciousness - conscious ideas that become capable of conscious realisation.
It felt as an illumination. The insurgence of the shadow is part of corrective effort made by self to bring personality back into balance. The positive function of the anima occurs when a man take seriously the feelings, moods, expectations, and fantasies and when he fixes them is writing, painting, sculpture or musical composition. The positive side of the animus can personify an enterprising spirit, courage, truthfulness, and the highest form, spiritual insights.

Stage IV - Self ­Realisation

The last station on the path of individuation is Self-realisation. It leads the individual to know himself for what he naturally is, as distinguished from what he would like to be.
One of the highest path is creativity - man's tendency to actualise himself, to become his potentialities. The more I know myself, the more of my potential I can incarnate and the richer my experience of life.

Maslow speaks of creativity as a "universal heritage of every human". The individual who gains mental health as he goes through the developmental process exhibits increasing creativeness. Creativity transforms both the creator, through the personal experiences of the process, and others through the impact of new knowledge and innovative artifacts. Verbal creativity, as distinct from non-verbal creativity, is a most important component in the process of individuation. It is important to test out our thoughts and feelings with others.

Summary:

The individuation is a complex, non-linear, and dynamic process that transforms the chaos of the collective unconscious contents into order in consciousness.
or
The Individuation is a spiral, repeated pattern of becoming conscious of the presence of various archetypes, separating them out from the unconscious, and the reintegrating them into the conscious psyche.

Through this process we experience an enrichment of consciousness, new growth, a new level of being, new interest and creativity. We become more complex, holistic, adaptable, open and sensitive.

Jung states:
Man becomes whole when and only when the process of individuation is complete, then the conscious and unconscious have learned to live at peace and to complement one another.

Biography:
Jung, C. G., (1933). Modern Man in Search of a Soul, A Harvest Book, Harcourt Inc. First published 1933
Jung, C.G., (1971) The Portable Jung, Penguin Book
Maslow, A.H. (1962) Toward a Psychology of Being, Princeton: D.Van Nostrand
Prigogine, I., & Stengers, I. (1984). Order out of Chaos, Man's new dialogue with nature, New York: Bantam
Von Franz, M.L. (1968). The Process of Individuation, Part 3, Man and Symbols, Laurel

*******

\

 KAY 

Barbara Modzelewska 
 

 They were almost home. The last few miles seamed to have had no end at all. But now the green patches below formed a well known pattern of fields and forest they flew around every day to hunt frogs as every summer.

It was a mild pleasant early May and everything was as it used to be any other year. Along the way they saw small gray dots hopping around below them and they knew the people are cheering at their return. And finally they saw the well known large tin roof gleaming in the sunlight on top of the highest hill around and behind it as large a roof made of old straw with their nest on the far end of the ridge.
Everything was as usual after the winter and they new that after a shortest possible rest they will have to clean the debris, remove broken straw and start repairing their old home with new bits of branches, feathers and new grasses picked in the fields , before the farmers go out and start their work. They settled on the nest after making two circles around the square yard and surrounding it buildings. Today they had to rest. Even water and food will have to wait until early morning, when the work will begin.

Three weeks later people below in the yard cheered again . One stork stayed in the nest. That meant the eggs have been laid. Now for weeks they will switch places over the eggs and go out to feed one at the time. Then both parents will fly out and spend their entire days bringing whatever they could hunt down and feeding the black constantly open beaks until they grow enough to start their flight schooling. People noticed that there were more little necks sticking up from the nest than usual but they were not surprised ­ the summer was warm and with good amount of rain there was enough food for all the storks around and other birds. The parent birds thought so too, what they did not think of was that they may not have strength to bring food enough for four hungry black little beaks and for themselves too. And if they do not eat enough than the small birds will get less and less food and they will not grow fast enough to learn to fly before frost comes. The entire family may perish. They had to make a quick and ruthless decision, but it had to be done.

Kay, a happy little stork , one of the four little thin necks sticking up from the large nest on the roof of a barn had no idea of the impending doom. He ate everyday and he flopped small wings that were now ending with tiny but already hard feathers and cuddled every night under warm wings of two large birds that protected him and his brothers and sister.
And here all of a sudden the large birds, representing so far for weeks all the god parts of life, safety and warmth, came in the nest and beat him with those wings and tried to push him out of their nest and down into the abyss of the wild and thorny raspberry bushes below. Kay fought very hard. He had no time to figure out the story behind this strange behavior of his parents. He had to fight back and he did. Finally he won. They did not manage to push him down. He lay in the nest with the whole world spinning in his head. What happened? What did he do wrong? The next day nobody bothered him , but when parents returned with food it turned out there was none for him. He fought his brothers to get to the regurgitated portions but they were stronger and the parents protected them. The next day he tried also but it was even harder. Only from time to time they let him pick up some tiny bits that happened to fall closer to him and they weren't large enough for anyone to bother to fight him for .

The next two weeks he was getting weaker and weaker still trying to understand what all this meant and still trying to pick up some leftovers when it was possible. Than the two brothers and the sister flew out of the nest after few days spent on walking the ridge to and from and hopping up along it for days. They came back and parents came to feed them but from this day on the whole family would fly out in a morning and come back only to rest and fly out again. There were no more spilled bits for Kay. He looked up at them more and more sadly. The hope he still had in his heart was beginning to die out. He knew they did not want him there but nobody bothered to throw him out so he just would lay there and watch them. They were so strong and magnificent. No wonder they did not care for him. How could he even think he deserved any attention? It was obvious he could not measure up. One day they

click-clocked their beaks curving their long white necks into loops and than they circled the roof twice and flew away. Kay looked after them , looked and looked until they became tiny dots at the horizon. This was good- by. The days were still warm but the night caught him unprepared. It had gotten so much colder and there was nobody he could cuddle up to. In the morning he felt so cold he could not move. He put his entire effort to pick himself up and he tried to stand and straighten out his legs. He almost fell out . He settled in and started to wait peacefully for the unavoidable.

The little girl walking around in the yard looked up at the nest the storks left yesterday. The summer was over. One could feel the chill in the morning air and see the leafs turning bright yellow. She liked to watch the old railway worker who was tending now to this yard , the animals and other things. She liked to watch him chop the wood and steam potatoes and kitchen leftovers for the piglets in the barn. And she liked to listen to his stories.

-Mr. Suchecki - she went on - are the storks coming back today, do You think?
- No child - I don't think so. The fall is setting in now. They'll be back next spring, You'll see.
- But there is still one there. I saw it. Won't they come back to get him?
- Yeah, I know it is there but he will not live. It was too weak. They left him there to dye, I think.
- But this is not possible. They could not have done that!
- You see the birds know these things. He is probably sick and they could not let him delay a whole flock.

The girl thought for a while and than ran home. She did not go to any of the women of the house. She knew better. The only person that could help the bird was Uncle. Uncle was a priest and he was not her uncle at all but she knew he would be on her side. He was the one bringing home birds with their wings broken in the storms and little rabbits caught by the edge of a sickle and kept them in his room. He would understand that if there was a lonely and sick bird up there on the ridge of a barn than people have to take it down and try to save it and if they can not heal it , at least pet his head so he does not dye alone. They did that for a rabbit. They sat there with him until he fell asleep for ever and they both felt there was a little soul there that went to heaven even though Uncle could not talk about it with her for the Church told him animals had no souls. But they both new better. And she was right.
This afternoon Mr. Suchecki pulled out a long ladder used only to lay new straw on the roofs and climbed up to the nest with them both watching intently from the yard. The bird was still alive.
Now, that the coalition for the rights of the bird was formed the women ­ the grandmother and the aunt could be included in the event

The Aunt was a real aunt and the grandmother too. The girl new that they were related somehow with the Uncle but she knew also that He was so different, this could not be a close relation. But they were practical enough and she admitted they were good to have around. The bird was weighted first- Mr. Suchecki came out to tell that this bird may live but weighs only 0,20 kg and even so most of that weight must be flies and lice on it's feathers. After this he demanded a large can of insect killing specific and a bath and money for new clothes for himself. The girl and the Uncle decided this was not a high demand for the service.

The stork got cleaned, washed, dried and finally there came time to feed it. And the new problem came up. The stork could not eat. He forgot how to open his beak and was apathetic and indifferent to all that was happening. It took two hands to hold his beak open and the other two to massage his neck after some drops of watered down milk was poured down. But the little girl talked to the bird and patted his white head and played with it and he finally reacted and told her his name was Kay and that he was so tired and did not know what to do any more and that nobody loved him and he did not want to live. And day after day the girl talked this sad vision out of his bird brain and the food pushed down his neck with long steady strokes became a bit more solid and helped to form a better mood.

Two weeks later Kay started to walk the yard with the girl. In another week the aunt decided that Kay is strong enough to move in with the hens for the night. This idea did not work too well . The hens, solid but rather stupid birds, tried to kill this long legged thing that pretended to be a cock but was not. The old kitchen on the other side of the house became temporary stork nest with room for people to visit . Meanwhile Mr. Suchecki was partitioning off a portion of a barn for a storkhouse. Kay moved in there in November, but his food was still served in that kitchen , every day at 8.00 at 14.00 and at 17.00 , always half hour before the house meals so the feeding party of the day would have time to wash their hands before the meal. Kay watched this schedule to a T. When one day some guests came over and the kitchen door was closed at 14.00 the surprised guests saw the large bird jumping at the window sills and knocking on a window with his beak and they could not believe the fact that Kay found the right room in this large house and knocked to demand his rights.

Kay grew stronger over the winter but as soon as the snow disappeared from the ground the next part of a training program was introduced. Nearby there was a hill where the church used to be before the war. Now it had only foundation showing through the thick grasses and the new wooden church was at the foot of this hill, nearer to the small village. Mr. Suchecki went to smooth the path and to cut down gray winter grass.

The problem of a starting point was solved. For Kay could not just flop his wings and fly away. He was walking the yard for so long he had no need for flying. It was necessary to take him each time up the church hill and chase him down the path so that he could not run and would have to help himself with the wings. There was still a question of landing. Kay would flop his wings and after a week of hard work was able to fly maybe 5 yards. His food for a while now was changed into strips of chopped meat and fish bits. Uncle decided, that as soon as the frogs wake up the ministrants should go catch frogs instead of mass services. He said he could do a mass by himself but was to old to get frogs so they would have to. And they did. Kay had to learn to catch his food and than eat it.
With frogs for food he found it easier to learn flying and maybe the exercise helped- the frogs did make him move faster. When his parents started a new family up on his home nest, Kay was a very strange looking creature, they could not have recognized at all. He was the only purple stork in the world. Uncle , after a long discussion with the girl came out to the yard and told Mr. Suchecki to bade the stork in kali hipermanganicum.

It was a solution to the upcoming problem with flying lesson. Kay had nobody to fly with him. Every day he was flying a bit higher and landing a bit further away. There had to be a solution for finding him when he would fly further away and could not come back. And in the Sunday mass ending announcements Uncle told all members of his congregation to watch for the purple stork and to catch it and bring it back to his house. And so every day at different hours one farmer or another would show up on the horse drawn wagon and hand Mr. Suchecki or the girl a stork with purple wings and after feeding the next flying lesson would begin.

The summer was getting on to its end and the storks on the ridge of a barn learned how to fly. There were only two young ones this year. Kay did his flying separately and they ignored his efforts. But at the end of August they had gotten together and finally Kay left with them for the winter.

Next May the storks came back to the ridge of a barn and settled in as usual. The weather was beautiful and the little girl and her uncle were outside the house when a second pair of storks came flying and started circling about the house. The girl looked up and yelled
­Look , Uncle, it is our Kay!
-Hello Kay, come say hello! Look, he came to show us his bride.......
And the two storks came down above the two people and circled very close , few yards above their heads. They did not land ; but in flight they tilted their heads back and click-clocked their hello to the two people below. Than they rose up and in their circles and flew away to build a new nest in their own territory.

 

 

 

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