Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15: Bird at the Bank

Sometimes birds will make their presence known in unusual places. A shift of focus, and suddenly I'm aware of birds around me where I wasn't looking for them. Like today, while I was paused at the bank drive-through window. Because it was going to take a few minutes, I'd turned off my car engine and was just sitting there with my window down, waiting for the teller to process the deposits. Turning off the car meant that my car stereo was also off, so I was waiting in quiet. Gradually I realized that a red-eyed vireo was singing in the trees at the edge of the pavement. Red-eyed vireos will sing all day long, each warbled phrase sounding just as merry as the last. This tireless bird brightened an otherwise dull moment. As I listened to him, I became aware of other birds singing in the distance: goldfinch, house finch, crow.  (Isn't there always a crow?) It was a simple matter of quieting the rest of my life so that what had been pushed to the background could come forward. And most of the time I think I'd rather have birds be in the foreground of my daily life.

Like the song sparrow that's been fluttering around my office windows for the past two days. He seems to just want to rest on the slim edge of the window frame, because he stops fluttering once he gets his balance. Then he looks in at me and pauses a moment before flying off. A while later, he's back at it, my companion throughout the work day, keeping an eye on my progress in his frenetic way.

Silence, then birdsong--
quieting body and mind
reveals what is there.

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