Winging it

In this now third year of pandemic, we have learned something important. We must temper our expectations and hopes with the realization that nothing is a sure bet. To expect the unexpected. To prepare for the unforeseeable. And, perhaps most importantly, to find delight wherever and whenever we can. And to store it up.

One of my absolute delights this year has been an early morning bird walk at Descanso Gardens with ‘real’ birders. What a joy it is to see these people in their element, knowing each call, able to spot and identify each bird, speaking with enthusiasm about the birds’ characteristics and habits. These birders are so kind, pointing and explaining, pointing and explaining. So much fascinating detail!

I’m a newbie to this bird watching thing, but I love it. It’s like a giant Where’s Waldo everywhere around you, all at once. I don’t yet have the eye or the ear to be a great spotter, and probably never will, but I have a secret weapon. I discovered Merlin. It’s an app that records the sounds around you, and tells you what birds are there. What a wonder!

I turned it on while we were walking and discovered that there was a Golden Crowned Kinglet nearby. I didn’t see or hear it, at least not to know what I was seeing/hearing, but a leader was soon calling it out and pointing. Magic. (Just look at the cute little guy!)

Just since I’ve been typing this post, I’ve had my iPhone on the window sill while my cat, Marie, looks out over her domain, and Merlin has picked up 7 birds: Anna’s Hummingbird, Common finch, Lesser finch, Song Sparrow, Cassin’s Kingbird, California Scrub-Jay, and the Bushtit! This feels magical, like I’ve opened a doorway into another world and am tiptoeing in.

I hope this new year opens a magical doorway for you, perhaps something unexpected and new, that brings you delight.

Consider the birds.

silence

Consider the birds. They have so much to teach us. They sing; they fly; they soar. When the storm is over, they come out and sing, fly, and soar again. They vary dramatically from the tiny hummingbird to the great bald eagle, but they have so much in common. And, when we are quiet, they remind us to look up, to look to the future and the possibility that lies there. It turns out considering the birds is good for our well-being, keeping depression at bay.

Be still and notice the birds. Do you see the vulture with its huge wings soaring above you? Do you hear the hawk shriek?  Do you see the crows tuck in their wings and dive to open them again and rise only after you gasp, worried?

Watch the little sparrows bathe in a puddle, delighting in the way the water splashes around them. Listen to them sing.

They sing for you.

Chirp.

chirp

There is something so uplifting about spring. Everything is busting into life with a combination of ferocity and hopefulness. We’ve been here before– the starting anew, the rebirth, the refusal to surrender to winter. And yet each time is the first time.

We breathe in.

We smile.

The birds are chirping.

We begin again.

Consider the birds.

silence

Consider the birds. They have so much to teach us. They sing; they fly; they soar. When the storm is over, they come out and sing, fly, and soar again. They vary dramatically from the tiny hummingbird to the great bald eagle, but they have so much in common. And, when we are quiet, they remind us to look up, to look to the future and the possibility that lies there. It turns out considering the birds is good for our well-being, keeping depression at bay.

Be still and notice the birds. Do you see the vulture with its huge wings soaring above you? Do you hear the hawk shriek?  Do you see the crows tuck in their wings and dive to open them again and rise only after you gasp, worried?

Watch them bathe in a puddle, delighting in the way the water splashes around them. Listen to them sing.

They sing for you.