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.

Mac listens at full attention, watching the birds up close.

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.