Watching Birds on Sunday Morning

Song Sparrow3-lg

  “In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” ― Robert Lynd

Song Sparrows & Songs

Sunday morning stillness.

Song sparrows and cactus wrens float in the warm, dry air, flitting from tree to tree. A tiny hummingbird drinks from blooms on a fairy duster and then moves, lightning fast, to an Indian paintbrush, where it bobs and sways on a thin branch. My dog sighs at my feet. My cats sit like statues, their longing for an opening, clear.

Their voices incessantly click as their desire fills the air.

Quail tuck into the thick folds of both citrus trees. Other birds hoot and squawk insistently from a nearby palm or the edge of the fence.

It’s my favorite time of day — still relatively cool outside — the sky only just starting to open to a new day. I have my coffee and a notebook. I jot down images and metaphors; I map what I see. These memory stones anchor the lines, one to another.

“…I keep looking for one more teacher, only to find that fish learn from the water and birds learn from the sky.” (p.275) ― Mark NepoFacing the Lion, Being the Lion: Finding Inner Courage Where It Lives

Listening with my body, my heart

I listen intently, trying to separate the sound of a distant car passing from the rustling of leaves and the whoosh of a lone bird swooping down to drink water from the bowl I leave out each day.  I listen for the sound of that bird alerting others:  Water!  Water here!

I savor this intense listening — these moments of meditative stillness — as solace in the face of  the incessant noise of contemporary life.

It’s almost as though I can feel my heart slow, relax.  The veins and arteries that carry oxygen throughout my body, open. I breathe deeply. My thoughts skitter across the surface of my consciousness:

This is enough. You don’t need more. Enjoy this most sacred grace.

Grackles bathe and drink.

This is my place of worship; this bright dome of sky and birdsong and open wonder.

How do we count the wonders of the world?

One at a time. One at a time.

I sit, writing, mapping, measuring, and recording whatever occurs to me. I observe. I wait. I listen.

I long to learn whatever these scrappy birds can teach me.

They know this harsh environment, yet continue — year in and year out — to survive it.

No matter what, they sing, with gratitude, with exaltation, every single morning.

They sing as the light returns.

They realize the preciousness of this stretch of time called today. They recognize a rare pearl when they see one.

© 2014  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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7 thoughts on “Watching Birds on Sunday Morning

  1. This really beautiful, and perfect timing for me. I have been working to stop and take things in… to stop. That said, I have nearly 1,000 unread WordPress blog posts in my inbox, from several weeks of graduations and things piling up. It’s such a balancing act to figure out when to stop and think, feel, listen, observe… and when to do, do, do! There’s so much to learn from the natural world around us… birds just happen to be some of the intriguing. Thanks for this rare pearl.

    1. Thank you. I find it is important to look for ways to tip the scales away from constant busyness and to embrace sloth and spiritual stillness as an antidote to all of our ‘doing’. First thing I did was decided what was important to me, rather than urgent (according to others). Now, I devote more time to writing and reading — and less time on worrying about the condition of my house! I don’t let it get totally out of control, but a little mess never hurt anyone. LOL. Thanks for writing. ~ S

      1. I’m still working on this… but I hear you! Now that all 3 of my kids are home for the summer, that gets so much more challenging. They don’t “get” or truly respect my time, my needs, my priorities. Some days, I enable them simply because it’s easier than doing what I really believe is the right thing. Ugh. Come fall, when they are all far away, I will be working on all of this a lot more! I may come back to this post.

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