Birds and a Broken Arm
“It’s a shame you’re missing this beautiful Spring,” not a few friends remarked, witnesses to my broken arm suffered at the beginning of April. Actually, I’ve never, ever been as much a part of this time of re-greening—present to each new color and scent, homebound yet traveling in nature’s unfolding. What I remember best, and hopefully always, was gradually becoming a part of the world of birds. I healed to their tune, absorbed in their ways. What a lively world! I watched, windows open, at the goings on: The colors, some of which no paint store could possibly carry…their delicate perches, dances, observation posts, and nests built to withstand wind, rain, and human touch.... I listened, along with my also melodic cat Mac, to a full orchestra of sound: A screech, warble, trill, and baby chirp…a duet, an alarm, a solo seemingly without end...the more quiet inside the house, the more notes appeared in the distance, and in the gutter overhead.
I write and talk about the central role that stillness must hold in our lives if we are to be balanced, calm, and focused. This bird-given meditation both settled and invigorated me. Its intensity caught me by happy surprise. And these self-sufficient flyers do this every day with no reference whatsoever to me—how spectacular! It doesn’t matter to them if I notice or not, but it matters to me. It’s my task to keep my attentiveness sharp to ensure that I don’t miss spending time in their world. My world…. The world….
Time to go outside now, back to listen to a white-throated sparrow, who “sings the tune without words / and never stops at all.” Emily Dickinson got it right again: “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers.”
This is for the birds.