Archive for April, 2010

I used to have songbirds outside of my home. They were fat, seemingly
cheerful…did their uplifting chirping and singing…for whatever
reasons…It was a prosperous time for the songbirds…They reproduced,
pulled worms from the ground, ate millions of bugs, and raised my
spirits on a daily basis…especially after a long winter spent without

When times were good, it rained quite a bit, there were plenty
of bugs for the birds to eat, worms came to the top of the turf and
garden…The birds flourished, the bugs were devoured, the soil was
aerated and the world around me was filled with joyous sounds.

One of
neighbors noticed that along with the songbirds came some less favored
starlings, less favored this, less favored that. But there were but a
few here and there…and still less favored by some…
As time went by,
the rains dwindled, the bugs dissipated, the worms went further into the
soil, and the songbirds were suddenly too plentiful…too dense to be
supported by the land.

I loved the songs, the witnessing of creation
of life, the young birds pleading their hungry cases from nests hidden
away among the branches…Sensing their plight, I watered my lawn and
trees, asked friends to help out with providing a birdhouse here, a
pound of seed there. To water the lawn if I were away, or feed the
songbirds if I ran out of seed. We all cared about the birds, and our
spirits were elated and lifted by their joyful noise. In a word, I loved
the birds…as did a lot of neighbors and friends…we pooled our resources
to see to the tending of the songbirds and all they brought to our

But SOME of the folks nearby, and a lot from not so nearby
noticed the use of water, the use of seeds, the noise and bustle. And
they saw too, the starlings, the hungry squirrels, the bugs, the bumpy
ground from a population of worms doing what worms do…They saw some good
folks doing what they could to help the songbirds survive…And soon ALL
they saw was the starlings, the squirrels, the lumps in the lawns, the
bugs and webs around their porch lights…and soon even, no, especially,
the songbirds became the plight of the land. A burden and a thing closer
to beasts than blessings…Even though they were vital, vivacious and a
part of the larger cycle of life. They were deemed bad, because feeding
them might feed the starlings, the squirrels; bring out bugs and bumps…

my songbirds were left without water, without a mantle of green leaves
and worm filled ground…The songs ceased, the nests were left exposed,
the flowers withered, the squirrels dug out hidden stashes, the
starlings ravaged the crop and hive…and the air grew silent, the ground
left lumpy and dry…and the songbirds vanished after they suffered…

the annoyed souls celebrated and were proud…as the bugs were scarce,
the starlings struggled…and the waters sat behind dams and
reservoirs…just in case of emergency…And the chosen few reveled in the
silence…had flowers delivered, and vacationed in places where green was
plentiful, and birds sang from boughs overhead…that tended to annoy
them, but at least the starlings and squirrels weren’t still being
accidentally fed…

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Just wanted you to know…I’m doing better now. I want to explain some things and hope it helps. I know its all been very hard.

I went on to heaven, a little at a time. I didn’t want to leave you all, all at once.

But in the process, there was a lot of misplacing memories, a lot mistaking faces…There was a lot of letting go…a lot of holding on…But all my precious memories made it here…a little at a time.

It might have seemed to some of the younger ones that I’d forgotten who you were…maybe I thought you were someone else…your parent, or an aunt or uncle.  Let me tell you how this works. The memories I hold inside were sent on ahead of me…a few at a time. If you were younger, there were fewer for me to have gathered in such little time. So if it seemed I’d forgotten you first, oh little one…that’s just not so. The recollections of our precious moments together already waited for me here when I would finally arrive.
Like I said, I went on to heaven a little at a time…and the things I’d known the longest simply took a little longer to be gathered and carried on ahead.

The last things to go were the first things I came to know…the music of my youth, the day of my first bicycle ride…And my first sweetie…my only one…Perhaps a brother, my mom and dad who’d gone on ahead.  All of this stayed the longest there with all of you and me till the end. Older memories take longer to shake loose and be readied for the journey. But all of it was, in the end, sent on to heaven…a little at a time.

As for the moments I spoke to those already gone on ahead…It wasn’t you to whom I directed my words…They were here where I am now, and we convened and they beckoned me to this place, and helped take care of the memories till I retrieved them.  They are all here and called me home as I made that journey…a little at a time.

In the end, I know I was old and it seemed I knew little, as my memories were already here where I am now.

And in the end, I knew you’d gather on a weekend, and I hoped the sun would shine…And a little at a time, I hoped you’d forgot how it was in the end, and that you too would begin to see things the way I had…and recall when I, and you too, were younger…and those gone on were still around…And a little at a time, I hoped you too will begin to forget how things were for a while.

I love all of you, and all our times so much you know…that is the reason for the long goodbye. There are so many memories and they can only be sent on…a little at a time.

And I hope that when I send the memories of me in happier times down for you to recall on holidays and evenings when a fire is needed to keep warm…I hope that you recall, a little at a time…the movies without special effects, the music and private dances on a worn living room floor…And I hope you one day realize that the memories of my sweetie were the hardest for me to let go and be sent on ahead to wait for me… the last for me to know…and when the music ended, and I last let go your hand…I only had to wait a little while, to join all my memories again.

My heart is full, and I can now recall every moment you thought I’d forgotten…and it is you now that will begin to lose track of the detail. It is you who will polish and preserve just the warmest of them all…And a little at a time, you‘ll realize, that soon, we’ll dance again…and one by one…we’ll all get together.  I’ll be there waiting for you one
and all…to reunite you with your memories, that were sent here…a little at a time.  I will see some of you here all at once, but mostly…I’ll be waiting for the rest of you as you are sent here as was I, a little at a time…

Matthew L Landsman

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