The colorful bird sits comfortably in the little snow wall on the edge of the fence behind the house. With small black bead eyes, he looks intently at the door, hoping for some goodies. Winters have not been as severe as they used to be years ago, and if snow falls it rarely lingers long. The bird does not seem to care that much about the weather: it’s never ideal. Sometimes it is too hot, and then he needs a fresh bath. Or it rains continuously, and then he looks for shelter somewhere. Now it’s too cold to waste a lot of energy, so he’s waiting for a quick power bite.
John recaps that the life of this bird is quite simple, as actually with all animals. Daily activities consist of eating and drinking, sleeping, reproducing themselves and making sure that dangers are avoided. That is hard work, but in the meantime they find time to be curious, to discover new possibilities and to anticipate changes in the environment. Of course there are also acts of violence and predators that you have to watch out for. And there isn’t always enough food for everyone. But life has a natural cadence, without too much complexity. Most people actually want that too, longing for peace and a well-organized life. It’s just that they rarely get that. And mainly because as species they do that to themselves.
This is the season of dark days, the longest night, the solstice and the arrival of new light. People are often deceived, and try to make up for that with parties, gifts, good food and lavish decorations. All year round they compete with each other, fight out unnecessary misunderstandings, laugh and cry depending on the outcome, and fall in love or break relationships. And then suddenly, when they have no energy left, it seems like they are repenting. That’s when they are willing to compromise, seek each other out, and bask in each other’s warmth. Good intentions are expressed, although everyone knows that these will not be adhered to. And above all, a lot of money is spent. It seems as if this is a sacrifice to the gods, so that the new year will turn out well.
Commercially we are being exploited. We’re still just herd animals, and the predators among us have found a convenient way to manipulate our behavior. We are confronted with all kinds of moral obligations, and we are tempted with clever but unfair texts to spend our earnings on perishable goods. Money for which we have had to work so hard. As if we are “harvested” at the end of a year of production.
Naive as we are, we believe in systems that we have created ourselves, whether religious, economic or political, and we come up with all kinds of rules and regulations that hinder our freedom to see or do things differently. We then behave completely unilaterally and unnaturally to meet the expectations of such a system. Even if we know that it is a ghost image that we will not be happy with. Man’s greatest achievement, the use of language to communicate, is misused for deception and oppression. For insult and polarization. For the exercise of power and the unbridled increase of personal gain.
John looks at the bird, which is now becoming somewhat impatient. Or is that only John’s interpretation, and does the animal just have cold feet? He decides to give the bird some bread, mixed with boiled egg and fat. Because, like most people, John is simply good by nature. We do not want to behave badly, but we often do not know what to do with the apparent complexity around us. In the winter, when time slows and the sun comes to a halt far away from us, you see that much better than during the turbulence of the other seasons. At that point you come to your senses, you gain more insight into what happens to all of us, and then you hope that the new light also brings a new message of salvation. People have been doing this for thousands of years … But thereby forgetting that you have to shape that hope yourself. By being honest, showing respect, communicating openly and, above all, willingly sharing with each other.