Once a bevy of little twittering birds sat on a wire. Actually, there were so many of the little birds and they were packed so tightly together that it was impossible to see the wire itself. None of the twittering birds knew how they had all been drawn to the same wire or when, for that matter, they had begun twittering. As far as any of them knew, they had been there forever and had been twittering for just as long. In sunny weather there they sat. In rain, in snow, in high winds, there they all still huddled, clinging to their wire. Nothing could convince them either to go away or to leave off twittering even for a moment. The twittering went on day and night. Sometimes it might fall to the level of a low whisper, but it never died away completely. And whenever the slightest buzz happened to come down the wire, the twittering would steadily rise again until it became deafening. This buzz could literally be seen as it traveled along the wire in the sudden lift it gave each of the birds in turn. The row of heads would take turns bobbing up and down and beaks would open and shut in quick succession as if something invisible was poking each little bird from behind. When the buzz had passed, that too could be seen in the behavior of the birds. At first they seemed to go nearly limp, being held in place perhaps only by virtue of their combined mass. Then gradually a few might try to recreate the power of the buzz by twittering to those around them. If that didn’t work, they might try twittering to themselves about what it had been like when they last felt the buzz. And if by chance two birds twittering to themselves fell into unison with one another, that might inspire the next birds on either side to feel some of the buzz again too. Soon little wings could be seen flapping up and down the length of the wire once more. Once more heads bobbed, and little beaks worked with renewed energy. It is not hard to understand how these sudden shifts from noisy excitement to near stupor and back to noisy excitement would lead the little birds to conclude that the buzz and their twittering not only were related but, taken together, defined the world as they knew it. For if the buzz gave life to their twitter, their twitter added meaning to the buzz in return. And if the buzz had meaning, then life as little twittering birds had meaning. And if a life of twitter had meaning, then what on the face of this planet didn’t? In twitter, therefore, was the meaning of the world. The important thing was to keep twittering.
Copyright © 2003-2004 by Geoffrey Grosshans