April 2011: For the Birds
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?
~Rose F. Kennedy
The middle of April has snuck up on me. Wish spring would do the same. Snow, snow, and more snow. While generally I am a fan of the fluffy, white stuff, this year I’m ready to cancel my club membership.
However, last evening I had a lesson from the birds. As we drove through the countryside, we witnessed puddle after puddle crowded with aquatic fowl. It always captures my heart and mind when I see Mallard Ducks and Canada Geese gathering together while stopping for the night on their migratory journeys.
And what a better way to pause from shoveling snow, then to stop and listen to birds sing?
Our current residence is without trees, bird feeder, and birds. It is very quiet. However, last night we had to check on our former property and shovel the snow so the new owners could gain access. This location backed onto a treed green space. With the mix of new snowfall and melt water, the low spots were full of water—and birds. So were the trees and overhead wires. The birds were happily singing. And what was I doing in similar conditions? Not singing, that’s for sure.
Here it is the middle of April. The birds are on their annual quest for their summer homes. And what do they encounter? Winter weather. What they left to escape back in the fall. Their usual food sources and nesting areas are obscured by frozen precipitation. Yet they sing. The beauty of their communal song made the gentle snowfall of earlier in the day appear like a violent storm in contrast.
My life certainly has not been interrupted or inconvenienced to the extent of these wild beings. Yet I grumble while they sing. Amazing. It was indeed calming to stand still, watch, listen, and learn in the company of these accommodating creatures.
So I gained a few things from my feathered friends: 1) Calm; 2) Meditation; 3) Entertainment; 4) Perspective. I am exceedingly grateful for the moments I claimed as my own to appreciate my fellow travelling companions. While our journeys differ, we can enhance each other’s experience along the way.
A bittersweet moment. I will miss not having the birds around to soothe, entertain, and teach me. If only the snow would melt and the sun shine so that I could plant a tree, hang a bird feeder, and await their arrival.
What moment can you claim as your own to contemplate, find calm, and regain perspective?
“I want to sing like the birds sing—not worrying about who hears or what they think.”
“Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
~ Henry Van Dyke