Sunday, September 13, 2009


Inspired by my college friend Terry, who just celebrated her fourth blog anniversary, I decided to try it. It may be an ideal avenue for me to express the gratitude and awe I have for the gift of each day on this planet. Annie Dillard summed it up as she said that each day is a god. The sacred is available to us all in each second of the day. We only have to be open to it.

"Listen..." I told myself as I sat in my yard this morning. A killdeer circled round and round, fluting clear tones into this Sunday. What was she doing? Her young must be gone by now from the gravelled nest at the edge of the church parking lot. Was she bidding farewell to this safe haven? Was she hesitating to start her journey south?

Magpies squabbled down the street, their strident cries as bold as the stark opposites of their white and black feathers. Years ago magpies nested in a blue spruce in our yard. We loved having these noisy kids add to our place's symphony. A neighbor asked my husband to "get rid of those d---- birds" and he just shook his head. Nothing doing: they were among the others in our yard, deserving of our care. After avian flu hit magpie populations hard, it was wondrous to see them come back. Each flash of black/white was a spike of joy!

Canadian geese brayed in the distance and house sparrows chirped through the huge canopy of my ash tree. Sneaky starlings whistled, crooned, and panted through the neighborhood. Wish I liked them. I can share Virginia Woolf's awe of their ability to dance across the sky as a net of a thousand knots, but I hate it when they invade the flowering plum in front of my house. Yes, I discriminate against a species, yes.

My ears gifted me with the ring of my favorite fall bird: the flicker. I love the noisy declarations they make from power pole and tall tree. I didn't love the way they used to hammer at my shake roof...but when I hear flickers, I think that the year's best season is on its way!

Listening...listening to birds on a sunnied morning is a sacred gift. I wonder what the world must be like to my daughter's new dog, a rescued six year old who has most likely been deaf from birth. What is the world like without killdeer's flute, magpie's scrappy rattle, flicker's bold announcement that the earth is indeed turning? I cherish the gift that enters me through my ears.


  1. How uplifting and thoughful. Your blog is now one of my favorites.

  2. Oh, this will be fun reading your thoughts and observations. You are now on my list of "must reads". And now you have two comments. You will come to cherish comments like finding money!

    I miss magpies. No magpies in Oregon, at least my part of Oregon.

  3. Bravo, Susan. A beautiful note to begin your song.