Monday, July 20, 2009

Bird play

My favourite songs of summer are the clear fluted trill of the hermit thrush and the peabody-peabody-peabody melody of the white-throated sparrow.

I wish I had a musical soul.

The thrush's call echoes each evening through the dusky forest, floating on a breath of green rain and moss, luring me to a game of hide n' seek. Sometimes I comply.


I wander about, ear tuned upward and trying to track this ethereal call...does it come from the right? From the left? The thrush eludes me...like a mischievous sprite...he flies deeper into the forest...but not too deep. I thrash through ferns knee-deep, swatting mosquitoes. Then he calls again..."Here I am..." Eventually, I give up.

And the white-throated sparrow..well his song just makes me smile. Except I'd never actually seen one.

Until the other day, when a resounding thud on my office window snapped my attention from my work (any excuse gratefully accepted).

A single feather remained stuck to the glass. I rushed outside, expecting to find a casualty. A shaken sparrow crouched below the window, feathers fluffed and fat. Upright, but eyes closed, unmoving.

After a while, when he still didn't move, I gathered him carefully in a towel and placed him under the covered porch, safe from cats and hawks. With my bird book in hand, I soon realized this was the little songster I so loved.

Mahogany rich, the auburn brushstroke of his feathers...cross-hatch as fine as fishbone...
Tiny beaded eyes...buttoned up snug as a scallop shell. Leftovers on his bill.

He shuddered steadily. I thought he might die...I breathed prayers....I wished....and sent energy his way...and then...right when I thought he would give up his little spunky spirit...

...his little brown eye suddenly, popped open and looked directly into mine. Directly. Into mine. He saw into me. Through me.

For that space in time, there was only him and me. Why does it tingle so, to be recognized...seen...by a wild creature? Why does it feel like such a miracle? Like I've been noticed by God?

6 comments:

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Oh, Deborah. This post touched my heart. What an incredibly magical moment. It's an honor to help a little bird recover from such a blow. Your descriptive narrative of feathers, eye and beak were perfect and charming. I believe that these creatures of the earth are God personified - they ARE God. As are the trees, the water, the air, everything organic. You were blessed with this little bird's essence. Wow.

Deborah Carr said...

What a lovely observation...you are so thoroughly right. Why should the little soul of a bird be any less valuable than the little soul of my dearly beloved dog?

In recent years, disrespect of life in any form has begun to hurt my heart and I've come to believe this hurt is actually God's pain flowing out through me.

hele said...

sigh. how beautiful he is. how magical your words are.

herhimnbryn said...

Poor stunned little creature. That happens at our front window often. Green parrots fly straight at the glass. Then like your bird, crouch on the ground. I stand sentry, until they recover.

Kimberlee said...

I was immediately drawn to this post when I saw the words "hermit thrush." Then I was doubly delighted when the next sentence or so discussed a "white-throated sparrow." Those are my two all-time-favorite bird songs. Your description of searching for the illusive birds connected with those exquisite songs was EXACTLY what I have spent countless hours doing. This is just a beautiful story. Your descriptions are flawless and, I must admit, I'm a sucker for a happy ending! :)

ljm said...

Am just catching up on your posts and I love this one! What a gift you received the day that little sparrow knocked himself out -- maybe just for you!