As we sat outside with friends last evening with spring surrounding us, the conversation turned to birds.
Mary Ann recently saw and photographed a special “triple” here in the Texas hill country: a painted bunting, an indigo bunting, and a lazuli bunting. I would love to see all three of these gorgeous birds together. We chuckled that it’s a sure sign we’re getting older that we’re so interested in watching birds now.
But we’re in good company. Henry David Thoreau wrote:
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.
I think that’s how Mary Ann felt when she spotted the buntings.
It’s how I feel when I listen to the descending songs of canyon wrens, when I watch a golden-fronted woodpecker land in the Spanish oak tree near the garage, and when I spot the bobbing flight of a vermilion flycatcher along the creek.
I even agree with what Charles Lindbergh is supposed to have said:
If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
Can you imagine days without birdsong?
One of the secret glories of a February bike ride with my husband in Baja California Sur, Mexico, was the sight of a roadrunner crossing the singletrack “Quail Trail” just in front of me.
No–not the one pictured at the top of this page, who approached us at our campsite at Catalina State Park in Arizona a couple of years ago.
And not this one either, shown below, who perched on the birdbath and peered at me through the window of our dining room at home one morning in 2011.
February’s Mexican roadrunner was too quick for cameras, one who showed himself only to me, one I considered to be one of the day’s ordinary miracles.
And one which I believe Thoreau would have counted as an honor.
Have you felt honored by something as Thoreau was by the bird lighting on his shoulder?
What things do you pay more attention to now than when you were another age?