The Singer and the Song (43)

For weeks I hear lovely snatches of bird song I don’t recognize, a long high note and then a rush of lower notes, almost a chatter. I think about writing to my birding teacher at the community college. I have an imaginary conversation with him where I describe the notes and he tells me who it might be and I go online to listen to the audio to see if that’s the one. But I don’t write to him. I only dream about it. Today when I’m sweeping the kitchen floor I hear the song again, and it sounds like it’s quite close. I walk to the living room window. I don’t expect to be able to see him or identify him, but I look out anyway. The bird is perched six feet away on my neighbor’s redwood fence. He is singing with all of himself, his chest and belly, his tail, tilting his beak up and opening it again and again. It is the song I’ve treasured, and here is the singer. He is singing with his back to me, but he turns his head, and I see it’s a Bewick’s wren. He sings while I watch and try not to be too intent in my regard. So much big song from such a little bird. When he flies off to the east, I go back to my morning chores. The gift of him and the mystery unfolding are sweet within me while I sweep.

2 thoughts on “The Singer and the Song (43)

  1. Reading your posts is like taking a break from the world. I like sinking into these close observations of small and natural delights. I loved the description of the bird “… singing with all of himself, his chest and belly, his tail, tilting his beak up and opening it again and again.” Beautiful and unexpectedly moving. Thanks, Riba!

  2. Oh, thank you, Bart! :)

    I was just remembering I’d left out a line in this post. It surprised me to discover this was a Bewick’s wren. So much big song from such a little bird!

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