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Foto da Semana 364
"Tucano Carioca"

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Foto: Maarten Zeehandelaar

Wish that I could fly
I'd be beside you now
But I can only sigh
And watch you circle round


‘Bird of Paradise’, Snowy White

Looking up the name of this magnificoloured bird, I start to think about what that is, paradise. Long ago they looked for Eldorado in the regions where this toucan can be seen in the feather, so to speak. Paradise, they thought it would be, a gold plated city. But they never found it. The thing about paradise is that we tend to endow it with so many conditions and expectations that it will never become real, be found or reached (Green pastures where angels perpetually blow their trumpets without anyone ever getting annoyed; a great bed in the sky with seventy virgins, provided you have blown up enough infidels in your mortal days??!!! I am just saying…).

But that’s the thing about paradise, isn’t it? The trying, the searching, the quest rather than the arrival. We do that every day, in love, in labour, in shelter, in everything. That is how we learn, how we get along, how we grow up and move through the stages of a human life: by trying to find paradise, the best, happiest version of ourselves in this life that we have been given. Even the serene mindful meditators, who tell you not to stress out over so many things and just to sit still and breathe, even they expect change for the better. Enlightenment as paradise. So it goes with a nice place to live, a fulfilling job, the love of your life by your side, kids that are the apples of your proverbial eyes, living your passions, stuff like that. You fill it in.

And are you there yet? Will you continuously look for it? Will you grow old, or mad, trying to find it? Or die trying? Just keep that up, and then occasionally sit down, sit still, look at the madness of it all and realise there is only one constant factor in all that trying, all that searching: you. Paradise is not out there where the colouriffic tucano de bico preto flies. It’s inside you. Sigh a little, and look at the sweet bird of paradise, circling around your head.


Texto por: Peter-Jan Vermeij

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Copyright © 2010-2017 Maarten Zeehandelaar.