Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Bird's Eye View

When I was a little girl with long braids and skinny legs (seems a long time ago!), I had a french girl friend who was called Sylvie.   She lived in a large house on a corner street.  It seemed huge to me then and maybe it was.  Many balconies, large terraces and a grand attic, hot as could be under the Caribbean sun and full of what we imagined attics can hide.  Old gowns with faded fraying fabrics, antique furniture, books and ancient porcelain dolls.  We climbed there through a dark, airless passageway both suffocating and tantalizing.  We held our breath until we burst through the door of the attic and could breathe again.  Revived, we could explore.

But downstairs the place was actually a guest house with mostly french people and Sylvie's aunt who was an artist and quite lovely.  She was an ex-beauty queen and looked it.  The whole place was a receptor of my dreams and imagination.  I had huge powers then along with my friend.  We sometimes took a look of offense and told Sylvie's little cousin "we will turn you into a frog." Young enough to believe us, she would cast on us a look of horror and disappear from our sight. We were the fairies and believed in this temporary incarnation.

Often we climbed up a very large old Banyan tree between old branches, leaves and green lizards and high, unseen to the passers by; we watched.  People strolled by, people talked and behaved as most humans do on the ground.  We observed and laughed sometimes but mostly looked.

This gave me a bird's eye view over the behavior of other humans.  The detachment of being above them and watching.  I find that this habit is sometimes most necessary if I want to detach myself from the mundane and see a situation with new eyes and spirit.  The ability to rise above and see things for what they are and not as they seem when we are involved with them.  Often as I sit with a group of people I imagine myself flying above and listening with the detachment of an observer looking at the scene under me.

It is not always easy.  Sometimes I am too involved to do this.  But as I get ready to go to sleep, quietly laying down on my bed, I replay the situation in my head and realize that I am creating the distance necessary to see what was hidden to me by my own emotions.

I imagine myself in the tree again up high and seeing what was needed to be revealed. In a way growing older is like flying above and having a long and amazing perspective over our life.  The way we acted, the way we did things then, the way we did not like something, the way we created, the way we loved and the way we used our imagination.  Mistakes we made, also things we learned.  Life becomes an evaluation as the years accumulate.  We, at this point, not surprisingly, reach and do our best.  Often not always.  So many artist and musicians reached their peak when older and their mastery over a medium only echoes the spiritual attainments of their soul.

So flying is not only for the birds.  We can fly in our mind and look down, or look over life and turn on the beautiful capacity to evaluate and discover. Our older years are sometimes our better years having learned so much from how we have lived.  It is true that they often come with aches and disease, but also how much we have learned and how well we can still perform in our fields!!

Copyright Micheline Brierre April 2014



  1. The idea of flying is captivating. Spying from a bird's-eye view in a tall tree is enchanting. What a lovely story from your childhood.

    When I grew up on a farm in California's Palo Verde Valley, I had my very own tree. It came up all by its self on the border of an irrigation canal. Thinking back, the leaves suggest that it was a cottonwood. I climbed up about four feet and had plenty of room to read good books, watch the farmers in the fields and observe the wild life go about its daily business. It was a fabulous tree. Fabulous to me. I dreamed many dreams in this tree.

    As for flying, I'm going to give that a try. I like the idea of debriefing a gathering from "overhead" and figuring out the nuances each individual shared. I beleive I do that already--but, I use different descriptive words. It is definitely an unusual method to get to know your friends better.

  2. Michou cherie , tes blogs me remplissent de joies ! J'en jouit pleinement . Le dernier je suppose relate tes souvenir chez Tourdeau avec Sylvie aujourd'hui Bajeux . Je t'encourage a continuer pour notre plaisir et pour la qualite de ton ecriture.
    Cousine Nounette

  3. Myriam Chamy Liautaud- Beautifully written!!!

  4. Dear Michou,

    It is with great pleasure that I read your blog. It is always so well written.

  5. Arlene Martin-Bandy Micheline. Such a beautiful way of owning & celebrating gracefully our aging. Thank You!

  6. Josseline Colimon Fethiere beautiful sharing! I lived your flashback with you! Detachment gives an other perspective! compliments! EXCELCIOR!

  7. I loved all the memories from your blog about the T. residence. Specifically how important it is to detach from mayhem and look at things from above.
    Margary Chamy..

  8. Micheline, your writings give us insight into your life. You grew up in a different place, and this is reflected in how you see things. You have a unique sense of the world around you. I enjoy your essays as they give me much food for thought. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Dear Johanna, I think that my way of thinking stems from a meditative state inside of me. The ability to imagine, to get inspired and see much of life from my own perspective..You must do it as well. Most artist do.