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 Nepo, Facing 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
Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact.