5.26.2023 – wonders they offer

wonders they offer
all we have to do is step
outside look listen

In the New York Times Guest Opinion piece, Three Years After a Fateful Day in Central Park, Birding Continues to Change My Life, (I added a pdf link to this wonderful article for those who don’t have NYT access and I invite your to enjoy it) Christian Cooper writes:

 They can fly.

We see them launch themselves effortlessly up into a medium with no boundaries while we remain earthbound, and we are inspired to dream.

Imagine watching land and sea unfold beneath you not through the windows of an airplane but under your own power.

The things that you’ve left behind recede to insignificance, put into new perspective by a towering vantage point.

What it must be like to hang suspended on the wind, how radically different to conceive of movement not in two dimensions, not just as backward and forward, left and right, but in three — always infinite possibilities of direction, the body rising and falling at will.

We lift our gaze skyward to the birds and see what it means to be free.

I believe that birds in the wild are meant to inspire such passions in us all.

The wonders they offer are always available, freely given, to anyone willing to partake.

All we have to do is step outside, look and listen.

Of late, my sister Lisa has been encouraging me to step outside, look and listen.

As we were out last night for our walk, the evening was filled with bird song.

It is said that Theodore Roosevelt could identify hundreds of birds just by sound alone.

Late in his life, Mr. Roosevelt sat in a forest in Britain.

During the next twenty-four hours he either heard or saw forty-two species of birds. This beat by one the total that Sir Edward Grey had been able to identify in the New Forest.

From the point of view of melody, there was no contest at all.

When he strolled around the house, or jogged down the hill to bathe, his ears rang with the calls of thrashers in the hedgerows and herons in the salt marsh, the hot-weather song of indigo buntings and thistle finches, the bubbling music of bobolinks, the mew and squeal of catbirds, the piercing cadence of the meadowlark, the high scream of red-tail hawks.

(from Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris)

Last night I could hear the chickadees and the cardinals and the mockingbirds all at once.

I can identify the mocking bird by the white slashes on its wings, but the only other I know about it is that it is a sin to kill a mocking bird.

Most folks know the quote “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy…but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Odd thing about about that quote?

It wasn’t said by Atticus Finch or Gregory Peck.

It was said by Miss Maudie, the neighbor lady that Scout Finch asked what her father meant when he said, “Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

But I digress.

Out walking on a fine evening, feeling fine and listening to birds who don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.

Much like Alice Cooper’s “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

I think it might also piss of God when we heard birdsong and don’t notice it.

It is rare for folks, me included, to include the rest of Ms. Walker’s thought.

“People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.

I look at the photo I took of a heron.

It only takes one click glance to understand why this bird is called the Great Blue Heron.

Take a longer glance and you think what else could anyone have named this bird?

As Jesus also said about lilies, ” … I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

It was William Blake who wrote, “When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius, lift up thy head!

And yet …

Again as Mr. Cooper writes:

We lift our gaze skyward to the birds and see what it means to be free.

The wonders they offer are always available, freely given, to anyone willing to partake.

All we have to do is step outside, look and listen.

I plan to spend more time outside.

I plan to look.

I plan to listen.

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